Closed BUT Operational, Part 2

Log Cabin College and Memorial Walkway

Since we are not reopening the interior of the Lutheran Heritage Center to the public until early June, I wanted to challenge the idea that we are ‘closed.’ The team that keeps this place running has been working full press (within safety protocols) on: program development, restoring lighting, installing upgraded security, installing new flooring, creating new exhibit design, promotional development, and fundraising (because bills don’t stop.) A few of us have even been designing new Christmas trees-go figure…We are so excited to show you how we have taken this time to create new opportunities and a more safe, economical, and beautiful site for you to enjoy.

Please continue to visit the blog posts during this time of reduced travel. I know that it has been a real comfort for me during these challenging times.

I also think it would be a great time to visit the Log Cabin College Park. The Memorial Walkway is an under-interpreted part of our campus. This beautiful concrete and granite feature in the Park intentionally winds it’s way to the cabin just like the ancestors journeyed up (and down) the mighty river at the bottom of the hill. I encourage you to walk this path, recite the names-even out loud-to memorialize those who felled the trees, and literally sacrificed themselves to carve out a life, a sense of place, here. I will request Warren to post a virtual Memorial Walkway video, so that our folks at a distance can also experience this beautiful feature.

The Memorial Walkway was the dream of former Historical Society President, Bob Schmidt. It was created by the late Jerry Mahnken—more than a decade ago—and all of you donated the funds to purchase the granite engraved stones. While Jerry was completing the walkway the autumn leaves were falling in the wet concrete. He tried to remove them at first, and then chose to allow nature to rule, and he spent much time on his knees, carefully pressing the leaf impressions in the concrete. The effect is lovely. The beautiful walkway lighting was a gift from the late Arnold and Leona Kaempfe Family.

Jerry Mahnken also created the shelter over the Loeber Cabin (located in the park) from the designs of renowned architect, Natalie Schuessler Petzoldt. It has always been a touching fact for me, that Natalie—a descendant of this immigration—created this beautiful sheltering structure for the cabin of Christiane Loeber (sister to the first Altenburg pastor.) One of the best days at our site was when members of the Loeber Family, community members, and our team gathered to restore the chinking of Christiane’s cabin. What a great time!

Christiane Loeber Cabin

A final note on the Log Cabin College Park, is the restoration of the historic shelter roof on the Log College. It has deteriorated to a concerning level, and a donor has provided the funds to restore the shelter roof. This structure has contributed much to sustain the existence of this landmark cabin for more than a century. The shelter roof restoration will be completed this month. Thanks be to God for the generous, dedicated, and loyal patrons who help us save these priceless historic landscapes.

Since, the museum team will be returning in very small groups soon (with full health department protocols for safety), we will be available to help you with research requests. Even though the research library is closed to the public a little bit longer, this is the perfect time to have us help you work on your family history or to research regional history topics that interest you. Send your inquiries to:

Finally, I ask that all of you will share the information presented here when asked about the ‘open’ status of the Lutheran Heritage Center. This is your site, and we are grateful to have had this time to pause, plan, and implement improvements for you to enjoy very soon.

Please keep in touch with us with your comments here or on the Facebook link. We miss you and will keep plugging away to create a wonderful reopening experience. Take Care, Carla Jordan

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