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State Historical Society of Iowa

Matthew Edel Blacksmith Shop Matching-Gift Campaign

Nov 17, 2017

DES MOINES - The State Historical Society of Iowa and the family of German immigrant Matthew Edel have launched a second matching-gift campaign to help preserve and protect his historic blacksmith shop in Haverhill, Iowa.

Edel opened the blacksmith shop in 1883 and operated it until his death in 1940, when he left it behind along with 4,486 tools. In 1986, his family donated the shop and its contents to the State Historical Society of Iowa, which has preserved and protected it for the past 31 years.

Today, the shop remains exactly as it was in 1940. Visitors can tour it and see the rare collection of blacksmith gear he used to build and repair wagons, horseshoes and iron crosses that mark graves in a cemetery nearby.

Over the years, however, the shop and tools have deteriorated from exposure to Iowa's harsh summers and winters, wild fluctuations in humidity and outdated conservation practices.

That's why his descendants, the Schrader family, offered a $10,000 contribution last year as part of a matching campaign, leveraging their donation to raise an additional $9,145.

This year, the State Historical Society and Edel's family have launched a second matching-gift campaign to help update conservation of artifacts to modern-day standards. The public may make tax-deductible donations to the Iowa Historical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the State Historical Society of Iowa. All donations received by Dec. 20 will be matched by the Schrader/Edel family.

The Matthew Edel Blacksmith Shop is one of eight historic sites overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.