The State Historical Society of Iowa and the family of German immigrant Matthew Edel have launched a third matching-gift campaign to help preserve and protect his historic 1880s blacksmith shop in Haverhill, Iowa.
The first two matching-gift campaigns in 2016 and 2017 raised nearly $40,000 and helped specialists catalogue, clean and conserve more than 4,400 artifacts in the shop last year. This year's campaign will help the society create and install new interpretive panels that explain three broad topics that directly affected the Edel family:
- The history of blacksmithing
- Iowa life in the 1920s and 1930s
- Immigration to Iowa in the 19th century
"We experienced tremendous success with the first two matching-gift campaigns, and we've seen attendance grow at the historic site by 60 percent over the past few years," said Susan Kloewer, administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa. "With increased attendance, we want to continue improving the visitor experience and thank Matthew Edel's family and our other donors for their generous support."
Edel owned the shop from 1883 until his death in 1940. In addition to blacksmithing, he made wagons and wheels, shod horses and registered patents for numerous inventions. He also made beautiful iron crosses to mark cemetery graves.
His family donated the shop to the society in 1986. At the time, a team of specialists documented the artifacts and left them intact exactly as he did almost 80 years ago. Over time, some of those objects began to deteriorate and needed further attention, which came last year with support from the first two matching-gift campaigns.
This year, Edel's descendants, the Schrader family, have offered to match up to $10,000 of all the funds donated by Dec. 20, 2019. Contributions can be made online or by mailing a check made out to the Iowa Historical Foundation, 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines, Iowa, 50319. Please note in the check's memo line that the donation is for the Matthew Edel project.
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. More information is available at iowaculture.gov or 515-281-5111.
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.