Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Members of the William Henry Coop Questers in Fairfield toured the Carnegie Historical Museum Tuesday afternoon, taking in the museum’s new displays and seeing all the renovations that have taken place in the past year.
Julie Johnston said she liked getting to see the new backdrops in the display cases. Local artists Kathy Tollenaere and John Preston painted backdrops during this past year.
Emily Reneker said it was nice to get acquainted with old Fairfield families and businesses, especially those that were among the first to call Fairfield home. She liked learning the history of the building itself, too.
Carnegie Historical Museum Director Mark Shafer said he refers to the building as “our most important artifact.”
The museum was built in 1892, the first Carnegie Library built outside Pennsylvania and the fifth overall. Shafer said the building served as the model to the 1,689 Carnegie Libraries that followed it.
Shafer said one of the mission’s of the museum is to preserve the area’s founding families. One of those is the Jordan family, who had members on the Parsons College Board of Trustees, the public library’s board for more than 100 years, and founded Evergreen Cemetery. In fact, a member of that family, Mary Jordan, still serves on the cemetery’s board even though she lives in Montana. Capt. Arthur Scott Jordan, who fought in the Civil War, ran a mercantile general store and built the building that now houses the Fairfield Elks.