Historical Society showcases pictorial history for sesquicentennial

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2019

WELLS — To celebrate the town’s sesquicentennial, the Wells Historical Society and Wells Depot Museum is offering up a picture of Wells.

Several pictures, really, gathered together into the soft-cover pictorial history book, “To Those Who Came Before.”

“We did not set out to make a profit,” Wells Depot Museum Director and Historical Society member Betsy Hermanson said. “It was not our intention to make a profit. It was instead, I guess, to put history in the hands of people.”

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The Wells Historical Society did that before when it created a book for the centennial celebration. It was largely a written work with photos scattered throughout. This time, they decided on a pictorial history, as there are a large number of photos donated to the museum, Hermanson said.

“It’s amazing when you see (the photos) in print how they jump out at you,” Hermanson said.

The pictorial history, “To Those Who Came Before,” is available for presale through June 25 and can also be purchased at Kernel Days in August. -Provided

The Park Hotel is one of the earliest buildings in Wells. It was built along the railroad tracks near the train depot. The picture is one of several included in a pictoral history book created by the Wells HIstorical Society to celebrate the community’s sesquicentennial. Provided

The book is divided into 10 different aspects of the community, including business, education, worship and people. There is also a chapter on adversity, specifically relating to fires as well as the tornado in 1946. Carmen Meyer — a Wells Historical Society member who worked to compile the book along with Hermanson and Joan Stern — said pictures show how the tornado was a deciding factor for many businesses: two stories often became one afterwards.

During compilation, Meyer said the trio tried to tie current Wells into the history that brought the town to where it is. For instance, Wells is a railroad town at its roots, and it still is today, Hermanson said.

While the book, which could be over 160 pages, does cover all 150 years, Hermanson said the first few years do not have as many photographs available.

The book published for the centennial has been a valuable resource, Hermanson said.

“We had this one available to us, so maybe in another 50 years somebody can look back at ours and say, ‘OK, we’ve changed this much’ or ‘we’ve done this much,’” Meyer said. “It’s documented.”

The book is in its proofreading stage now, and will be available beginning Aug. 17 at Kernel Days. Presales are available through June 25.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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