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Museum to showcase 150th anniversary at Lyon County Fair

Photo by Jim Muchlinski The historic District 80 country schoolhouse was moved to a new site at the Lyon County fairgrounds earlier this month after many years on the grounds of the former West Side Elementary in Marshall. It will be one of the history exhibits the Lyon County Historical Society is sponsoring to celebrate the county’s 150th anniversary. The District 80 school was originally built in Westerheim Township, near Minneota, and then given to the Historical Society.

MARSHALL — The 2021 Lyon County Fair will have plenty of opportunities to get a glimpse of the county’s first 150 years.

The Lyon County Historical Society is sponsoring a group of exhibits that together highlight history of the county dating back to its early days. One item new to the fairgrounds this year is the historic country school that was moved in from Marshall’s West Side campus.

The school is located in the space formerly occupied by a replica of a church building. The school site includes a concrete slab, as well as an area that will be landscaped.

“We’re getting it ready for the fair,” said Lyon County Museum Director Jennifer Andries. “People will be able to walk into it and see what’s inside. It’s great to have a building that’s an actual historic site.”

The school was formerly the District 80 country school in Westerheim Township near Minneota. For a few years in the 20th century, it was part of a pioneer village at the fairgrounds.

The village also featured a genuine historic log cabin (currently located on the basement level of the museum building), along with the church replica and a country store replica.

The school was moved to West Side Elementary in 1995 when the village was dismantaled. It was moved back to the fairgrounds his summer since the West Side campus will no longer serve as a school.

After seeing the school near the front of the fairgrounds, visitors will be able to view the historical society’s traveling exhibit of the 150th anniversary. It includes information that highlights the history of the county and local communities. The display will be located in the fairgrounds round barn.

The parade float being used in local parades will be parked in front of the 4-H exhibit building. Andries said the 150th anniversary banner might also be put on display if there’s a good location for it.

“We want to build awareness of the county’s first 150 years,” she said. “We decided to showcase it at the fair after we couldn’t be here last year.”

She said the 2021 fair will be a way to commemorate Lyon County’s 150th anniversary a year later and that it will also help in the promotion of Marshall’s 150th anniversary which will take place in 2022.

The historical society also had planned to feature an 1860 version of baseball, with a traveling team from the Twin Cities playing local players. The game needed to be cancelled after both team weren’t able to fill out their rosters.

It’s expected that the elements of county history featured at the fair will still add up to a comprehensive look at life in Lyon County, from its earliest days until the 21st century.

“It should be interesting for all fairgoers,” Andries said. “People who’ve lived in the county their entire lives will enjoy seeing their history on display. Those who are new to the local area will have an opportunity to learn about its past.”

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