June 10, 2011

New Town Library houses its own time capsule

New Town Library houses its own time capsule

If you walk into the small, one-room library in the Civic Center in New Town, you will certainly find books. But if you look a little further, you will find local history dating back more than 60 years.
Gerald and Esther Ranum were living in Van Hook when the Army Corps of Engineers began purchasing land which would soon be covered by the lake created by the Garrison Dam. That was April of 1949, and that’s when Esther began clipping newspaper articles. As things progressed and the people of Elbowoods, Sanish and Van Hook were told they needed to evacuate and resettle somewhere else, Gerald’s love of photography compelled him to document the move, and Esther kept clipping articles. What resulted is an enormous, carefully-organized scrapbook of the birth of New Town.
Through her meticulous documentation, Esther preserved all of the controversies that came up, including the debate between maintaining separate towns or combining into one. Gerald was a member, and subsequently took pictures, of many of the committees and societies involved in facilitating the move and making plans for the new settlement. Esther saved and taped down maps of the plans for the city, programs from several groundbreaking and unveiling ceremonies, a bit of pink ribbon from the ribbon-cutting at the earthmoving ceremony at New Town.

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