The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 29, 2013

Moravia history highlighted in garden tour

MORAVIA — Visitors drawn to town by gardens overflowing with trumpet flowers, lilies and hydrangeas learned about a chapter in Moravia's history through three buildings preserved by the local historical society.

The Moravia Historical Society's first garden tour was held Saturday, with all of the money raised going toward the upkeep of the town's historical buildings.

Julie Seals, treasurer of the society, came up with the idea for the tour, which took visitors to four different homes: Roger and Rita Boley, Jeff and Reggie De Vore, Larry and Rose Mary Smith and Mike and Melanie Seals.

"It's something different for the town to do," Seals said. "A couple years ago we had a scarecrow contest in the fall and we've served breakfasts and had an Italian night as fundraisers for the upkeep on all the buildings."

"Food always brings in more people," noted Martha Ellison, member of the historical society who gives tours of the buildings throughout the year.

Three buildings have been moved to the area on North Street just east of the railroad tracks: the Wabash Depot, former Methodist Episcopal Church and a summer kitchen and outhouse.

The depot originally sat across the road and in 1976 was the first building to move to the new lot, which was formerly a mattress factory and a house.

"Somebody else bought the land and they were going to tear [the depot] down," said the historical society's president, Ellis Paxston. "It was built in 1919. Would you be able to find anything else built in 1919 that's still standing?"

Inside the depot, those on the tour learned about the history of the rail going through town as there are three rooms filled with different train artifacts that depict how the depot functioned nearly a century ago. There are also several mining items in the museum, Ellison said, since at one time there were 135 coal mines in Appanoose County.

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