An EGG on the WALL
By Michelle Vlasek
Last year, at this time, the patch of grass west of the First Luthern Church parking lot in Kenyon was covered in snow.
Today, passerby may notice a familiar site, as the egg and scroll that once sat atop the Kenyon high and grade school is now set in its new home for the foreseeable future.
Ken Stenzel and his crew, of K&C Construction in Faribault, were hard at work at the site of the KHS Monument. Crews not only set the egg and scroll, but also the pediments on the memorial. Despite below freezing temperatures, the crew was able to set the brick that the egg and scroll sit on with a tent and heaters.
The old Kenyon High School building was demolished in 2013, and a committee of community members and Kenyon High School alumni have been working on a location and plan for the saved building pediments since then.
Kenyon High School Monument Committee members are Mary Gail Flom Anderson (Class of 70), Kevin Anderson (Kenyon Historian/Publicist), Mary Danielson-Gates (Class of 61), Julie Praus (Architectual Designer), Chuck Aase (Class of 68), and Cindn Estrem Trapp (Class of 71).
Sod was removed from the site on July 14, and the committee members broke ground later in the month. Footings for the pillars were complete August 6th, and pillars were placed/brickwork began the following week.
Many committee members say when the physical place is gone, history can be more challenging to remember. The committee believes the planned monument is an easy way to celebrate the history in Kenyon.
Five plaques will be affixed to the back of the monument to tell the stories from the first schools built to the ones currently existing.
It was designed to sit off on an angle, as opposed to parallel with the street, so when viewers look at the monument they see the former school site off in the distance. The monument will also include a green space for a time to refresh and regenerate, to honor those who went before and educate students who continue to do so. Members also anticipate it will help teach area youth about the history of their community.
A team effort.
A fund was established in March of 2013 at the Security State Bank of Kenyon by Trudy (Estrem) Strandemo, and her five siblings and mother; the Lowell and Colleen Estrem family. The fund was setup to accept donations for the creation of the monument to honor the school where many attended.
A committee was formed not too long after the fund was established in 2013, to formally collect the funds it will take to preserve a physical reminder of school days.
At the time, approximately $15,000 was needed to cover the removal, relocation, and preservation of the pediment and housed the oldest portion of the Kenyon ‘High and Grade School’ when it was built – portion of the columns, the nameplate and the egg and school above it. In prior interviews, Danielson-Gates said she envisioned the new space as a place for Kenyon High School alumni and community members to recall, reminisce, and even imagine the memories made at the former school. Trapp sees it standing as a remembrance of the commitment to Kenyon, along with the memories that were made throughout those years.
Of the current progress, Danielson-Gates adds “This has seemed like a long time coming. By the donations at Security State Bank and our website, we have realized that there is a ‘will’ to see this project to the end. We aren’t there yet, but we are closer than ever. We hope people will stop by, see the value in our project and help us finish it. Landscaping through the pavers and plaques on the back will be done when the weather is more friendly, and donations come in to finish it. Then we get to plan a dedications…won’t you please help ups? It will be a ‘gold and maroon day’ for sure. Stay tuned and keep your eyes on the prize.”