Putnam County Historical Society Acquires One-Time Bar

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
The Putnam County Historical Society has added to its collection.

This time, instead of memorabilia of days gone by, the group has acquired what used to be SAMM’s Bar in Hennepin, turning the one-time bar into a meeting room, storage space and exhibit room.

“We’d been talking about building a new building, because we are out of storage space,” said Sid Whitaker, PC Historical Society president. “When this became available ... we thought, well this is a building that is already insulated, and the cost of doing renovations to it and the purchase price would be equivalent to building, insulating and servicing a brand new building for storage.”

The recent purchase of the building also gave the society a sense of continuity, as all of its current Hennepin properties — the Pulsifer House, and Ag Museum along with the new building — now sit in a row along Old Highway 26.

The building offers 900 square feet of meeting room, 1,300 square feet of display area, and almost 800 square feet of storage space, not to mention allowing the society to use parts of the Ag Museum, previously designated for meeting space, for displays.

“There are two separate bays (in the area that used to house the main bar) that would be good for independent display areas,” Whitaker said. “We’d like to use one of the bays at the front to have a rotating display of things from the individual villages (of PutnamCounty).”

The group is currently in the process of clearing out, and trying to sell, all the kitchen equipment, updating the HVAC and electrical systems, and making a plan for exhibit layout.

They also are trying to find out the history of the building, which, over the years, housed an implement dealership, a boat store, and multiple different bars.

“We’re hoping we’ll be able to be actually doing things with displays in April or May,” Whitaker said of the project’s timeline.

The group will host its quarterly meeting in the back space on Feb. 12, with a program on Abraham Lincoln presented by Randy Keller.

For more information, or if you can provide the society with information on the history of the building, contact them at (815) 925-7560, or visit their website at www.putnamcountyhistoricalsociety.org.

Source: News Tribune