The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

June 16, 2014

Oskaloosa Montage unveiled Saturday

OSKALOOSA — A large crowd gathered to see the unveiling of the Oskaloosa Montage at Penn Central Mall Saturday morning.

One of the Montage creators, Tom Stone, was surprised by the number of people that showed up.

“I am glad to see all the people. It was more than I expected,” he said.

The Montage was created in 1985 by local artists Stone and Marv Smith. It features a collection of artifacts that tells Oskaloosa’s story from the late 1800s through the mid 1980s.

“It took me about a year to put the whole display together … Some of the items in the exhibit go back as far as the 1800s,” Stone said.

Since the mall was built, it has undergone some changes in ownership, which impacted the Montage.

A press release said that the Montage was removed from the mall in 1998 because the out-of-town owners allowed a store owner to use the Montage space for a store display. However, once the mall was purchased by Musco Lighting in 2010, restoring the montage was a priority.

“A private person ended up buying the mall and decided to enlarge the space and tore a section out to build the display case,” Stone said.

Stone is not the only one involved with the project. Others have stepped forward. Those individuals include Joe Crookham and Jeanie Bieri, who felt the mall was missing an important element.

Emily Russell, along with her late husband Chuck, donated many of the pictures that are in the case.

“It became a running joke in our family that year to have Chuck say ‘Marv and Tom have been here again and took things out of our barn.’” she said.

Smith and Stone were actively involved in creating and developing the signage. Each element on display was carefully crafted and depicted in 3-dimensional form. The items also paints a visual and unique picture of the life and times in Oskaloosa during that period.

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