ADEL — This past fall, the Adel Historical Preservation Commission worked to install plaques on 10 historical buildings throughout the square.
Those buildings included the Dallas County Savings Bank, The Russell Building, The Grocery Store, the first stand alone dental office, The Adel Savings Bank, The Dry Goods Building, The Newspaper Building, The Meat Market, The Health Mart and The Original Ford Building.
In order to be considered for a plaque, each of these buildings had to meet a series of criteria.
Considering those listed on the National Historic Registry, the Adel Historical Preservation Commission took into account how the building contributed to the historical aspect of the town, whether or not the building still maintained some of its original design and the ability to trace the history of the building back to its origin.
“Most of the buildings we did were constructed prior to 1915. We went through and made a list of 17 buildings. We were limited in funds, so we picked 10 of the 17,” said Rich Hughes, a member of the Adel Historic Preservation Commission.
The bronze plaques, which weighed approximately four to five pounds and cost approximately $230 a piece, were created by the Erie Landmark Company based out of Columbia, Pennsylvania.
“I think they turned out very nice. [The plaque] basically gives a little history on the building, the date it was built and the original purpose of the building,” Hughes said.
Funding for the plaques came from a variety of sources, including donations and grants awarded to the Adel Historical Preservation Commission. One major contributor was the Dallas County Foundation.
“Just a big plug to the Dallas County Foundation. They just do a tremendous job. If it wasn’t for them, it just wouldn’t get done,” Hughes said.
The Dallas County Foundation is an organization that supports a vast array of causes such as art, culture and education, to name a few. Their mission is to foster private giving, strengthen service providers and improve the conditions of Dallas County communities and rural areas.
“We just want to support non-profits of Dallas County for the improvement of our towns,” Dallas County Foundation president Vicki Lage said.
In order to be considered for a grant through the Dallas County Foundation, the Adel Historic Preservation Commission first had to submit the required paperwork by February 2018. By the end of March, the foundation had awarded the commission with a $1,500 grant, allowing the commission to identify 10 properties, contact the owners of each property and start putting ideas together for the design of the plaques.
The plaques were later received in September 2018, and by the end of the year, each plaque had been placed on an outdoor part of the building that is easily visible to the public.
“We did the research on the buildings, put the info together, and ran it past the company owners. It was an easy sell, particularly when [the owners] saw the quality of the plaques,” Hughes said.
In addition, each property owner was asked to donate $30 towards the production of the plaque.
Going forward, the Adel Historic Preservation Commission will continue their search for buildings that qualify for a historical plaque. But to do so, the commission first has to help these buildings become listed on the national historic register.
“There are a number of properties outside the square that are not on the national register; the Presbyterian Church with the old library, the Old Methodist Church that was the old community center, the school house which is now a museum, the glove factory which is now city hall and the old depot,” Hughes said. “We are hoping to get those first listed on the national register. But those are outside the square. Since, the square is listed on the national registry, it makes it a little easier to work with.”
In addition, the Adel Historic Preservation Commission has already begun the process for additional grants to purchase plaques for 2019. They are hoping to be able to fund an additional six or seven qualified buildings throughout Adel.
“I think the plaques turned out very nice, and I think the project was well received by everyone,” Hughes said.