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Log cabin dedicated at Hanlontown’s Sundown Days celebration

by Jody Spear and Kelly Meyer –

HANLONTOWN, IA – Hanlontown celebrated the annual “Sundown Days” Saturday.  The celebration coincides with the sun set on the railroad tracks making them appear golden in color.  The hue of the railroad tracks when the sun sets appears to be golden.

Sundown Days started off with a pancake breakfast and parade. Then the fun festivities of a kids tractor pull, children’s inflatables in the park, refreshments and a special event this year, a dedication of the Sime/Oswald log cabin to the town of Hanlontown (top photo).

The tractor pull was up at the park, where friends and families gathered to relax and have a fun afternoon. The children gave it their all, hoping to win one of the big trophies that sat off to the side.

It’s hard to believe that someone would just give away a beautiful, authentic log cabin, with history going back a hundred and fifty years. “We just can’t afford it,” said former owner Annette Oswald, “The cost of keeping it up is thousands and thousands of dollars. Giving it to a nonprofit organization, they can get grants to help preserve it and everybody can enjoy it.”

The cabin was built by Arne Sime in the 1860’s and remained in the Sime Family until 1970 when it stood in the way of the new Interstate 35.  Gilmer Sime, who was living in a remodeled house built around the cabin, moved and built a new home for himself.  He offered the cabin to Leo and Gen Oswald.

The Oswald’s had to move it to their farm by Fertile. They took it apart, log by log, and numbered each one, so they could put it back together the same way. “They used the wrong paint, and it washed away,” said Annette, “The numbers were gone, so they had to put it together the best they could. You can see little bits of evidence where some of them were put in the wrong place.”  See video for more from Annette.

At the dedication, there were family members from both families. The Oswald and Sime family, both proud of the cabin and it’s final resting place. They invite everyone to come to Hanlontown and take a look at it. The cabin is available for viewing on Saturdays and 2:00 to 4:00 on Sundays during the summer. The POP Group, or Preserving Our Past Committee will be taking care of the cabin.

“We wanted it to be part of the community. The second and third grade children , that are now adults, and they come up to me and say, “I remember your grandparents giving tours, your grandpa’s dog doing tricks, I remember the indian artifacts that your grandmother had in there and her telling how she made soap. That was your grandparents, you were so lucky. So now it’s a part of Hanlontown, and everyone can see it and it’s open to the public. It can continue on,” Annette said at the dedication.

Preserving Our Past Committee

Oswald Family

Sime Family

Watch video:


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I used this story in a lesson for my students! Thank you for the story and pictures!

Thank you for covering this story. Good photos!

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