USA Historic Preservation Tour – Third Award Presentation

Historic Preservation Recipient Zell Millard

I was joined by the Mayor of Woodbine, Bill Hutcheson, and 30 local well-wishers for the presentation which was co-hosted by Woodbine Main Street.

The award recipient, Zell Millard has held the moniker of “Mr. Woodbine,” for more than 60 years. Some years back, when an old country school house was slated to be razed, Zell went to work, found a new home for it, and organized the moving event. The Merry Brook School & Genealogical Center now anchors the south edge of a collection of buildings representative of Woodbine’s small town history: the Woodbine Depot, a 1928 canopy gas station, an outdoor amphitheater, an interpretive gazebo featuring Lincoln Highway history and one of the few remaining CNW Cabooses…all residing in the newly named Zell Millard Historic Preservation Park. Zell was a part of every one of those “preservation saves.”

It therefore only seemed fitting that the subject of my award painting had to be the delightful Merry Brook School House that now stands so tranquilly in the Zell Millard Historic Preservation Park.  There is the painting.

Historic school house restored in Woodbine, IA
My award painting of the historic Merry Brook School House in Woodbine, Iowa

After being introduced by Mayor Hutcheson I presented the award to Zell inside the School House.  Zell gave a wonderful speech, reiterating the need to save and restore the historical architectural treasures in the area.  We then went outside for a group photo which was followed by an informal reception in the Main Street Station Community Room.

Presenting my original painting award to Zell Millard
Presenting my Historic Preservation Award Painting to Zell
Zell Millard with the painting, flanked by the Mayor of Woodbine, Bill Hutcheson, myself and Deb Sprecker, the director of the Main Street Woodbine project

Five years ago, Zell convinced the Woodbine community to apply as an Iowa State University Horizons Project.  This successful community initiative became the stimulus for application and acceptance as an Iowa Main Street community.  He’s presently one of several volunteers leading the charge on an historic preservation movement focusing on economic development that has brought 7 million dollars of grants and private investment into the historic downtown since the renovation project began in 2008. In 2012, the annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration recognized Woodbine’s Main Street as a leader in the state’s downtown  urban revival, economic development and historic preservation program.

Zell Millard has left his legacy in this area with the Historic Preservation Park of Woodbine Iowa

And on that note, its time to move on . . . so good bye from Iowa!


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