Re: "GUNDER AND SURROUNDING AREA: HISTORY & HERITAGE" book.
How would one be able to purchase this book.? My great grandparents were
from around this general area.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 4:29 PM
Subject: [IACLAYTO-L] new history book
>From Clayton Co. Register on line edition, Sept.19, 2001
"A 484-page history of Gunder and the surrounding area will be unveiled
Sunday as residents gather at Marion Lutheran Church to celebrate the
anniversary of the formation of the St. Olaf Parish.
The title of the comprehensive history book, which was seven years
the making, is "Gunder and The Surrounding Area: History and
The history covers the period from 1847, when the first immigrants,
most of Scandinavian and German descent, arrived to settle the area to the
present. The "area" consists of all of Marion Township where the village
Gunder is located and sections of Grand Meadow, Wagner, Monona and
The book, divided into eight sections covering different aspects in
development of the area, contains some 450 photos, maps and plats.
The history committee printed 500 books of which about 247 were
pre-ordered for $30 each. The remainder of the books will be sold for $35
each. They can be purchased at this Sunday's 150th anniversary celebration
Marion Lutheran Church.
Members of the history committee worked uncountable hours during the
past seven years researching, writing, editing and laying out the book.
A "LABOR OF LOVE"
"It was a labor of love," said committee member Carol Wettleson of
rural Gunder this past week as she and other members gathered in the
of Marion Lutheran Church in Gunder. Wettleson was the book's
Editor Wettleson typed and formatted all the pages on her home
computer, a process which involved a huge amount of time and energy.
Other members of the committee contributed similar time and energy
do the project. Corrine Landsgard was the project's research
from Wettleson and Landsgard, other committee members included Arlene
Edna Anderson, Margie Landsgard and the late Fern Moser and Bob
The book is dedicated to both Bob McNally and Fern Moser, who not
gave unselfishly in helping produce the book, they throughout their
gave unselfishly to their family and their many friends and neighbors in
"The idea to do a history book first surfaced at the Gunder
Centennial," says Carol Wettleson.
The centennial celebration, which was a huge success and attracted
people from throughout northeast Iowa and even outside of the state, was
July 9, 1994.
At the same time, the Gunder Community Club was formed. The club
remains an active organization in Gunder. Larry Landsgard, local dairy
farmer, is president.
Gunder Community Club
According to Wettleson, the formation of the community club provided
the impetus to do the history book project.
"We decided a history book would be a worthwhile project," she said.
"At first, our concept was maybe 100 pages," said Corrine Landsgard.
"But the book seemed to grow and grow."
As they labored away, the members of the committee developed a bond
sense of solidarity.
"We've had a lot of fun and we've learned a lot about our homes that
didn't know," says Arlene Heck, a native of the Gunder area
who now lives
"There were a lot of memories and emotion," added Edna Heck of
Postville, also a native of the Gunder area.
Though Arlene and Edna aren't members of the Gunder Community Club
because they live elsewhere, they are faithful members of Marion Lutheran
Church where they worship every Sunday.
"We asked these two ladies to help and they have been invaluable
sources of information," said Editor Carol Wettleson.
Edna is 80 and Arlene is 79. Despite their age, the two ladies were
full of energy and did a lot of research work, especially visiting
and searching through volumes of local newspapers dating back to
Moreover the two were friends as children. Both attended
near Gunder. The name was the Vallersven School.
"We walked over the hills to school," said Edna.
Newspapers were valuable
Their main newspaper sources were the Clayton County Register and
newspapers published in Elkader, the Postville Herald and other
newspapers, and the Elgin Echo and other Elgin newspapers.
"We looked for items concerning Gunder," said Arlene Heck.
Aside from local newspapers, the information in the history book was
gathered from official records including those housed in the Clayton
Courthouse in Elkader, various county history books, submitted
family histories, "handed-down" stories and many memories.
"If some pieces of area history are missing, it is because the
information wasn't made known to us," the book committee wrote in a
to the book.
The breadth and depth of the information contained in the book can
surmised simply from reading the titles of the eight sections. In
how they appear in the book, the sections are:
"Early History & Early Settlers; Diaries, Letters &
"Township & Village of Gunder," "Gunder Businesses & Cheese
"Agriculture & Women's Work," "River & Creeks; Walter's
Mill & Big Spring;
Roads & Transportation," "Those Who Served, Through World War I; Sun Dial,
Red Cross & World War II Homecoming; Entertainment & Holidays; Social
Gatherings & Rationing," "Churches & Hospice of Northeast Iowa,"
Customs & Cemeteries," "People, Places & Things; Art & Skills;
Nostalgia," and "Gunder Centennial & Community Club; Gunder Today &
150 photos of servicemen
Carol Wettleson notes that the Gunder area has made a considerable
contribution to the nation's war efforts.
"We have 150 photos of servicemen in the book who left here (Gunder)
serve," she said. "The first one served in the
Mexican-American War." That
war was fought in 1846-48.
"We have a lot of information on the pioneers," added committee
Editor Wettleson observed that the book has information about nine
cemeteries in Gunder and surrounding area.
"And at one time Gunder had eight churches," she said.
In the foreword, committee members also thanked and acknowledged the
many people who, though not members of the committee, helped in various
"We extend a special thank you to the volunteers who so
assisted with researching newspapers and microfilm, church and cemetery
records, made phone calls, donated their time, talents and equipment, or
helped in any way to make this book of history and memories possible,"
Non-committee volunteers mentioned by name Tom Baker, who did a lot
typing; Barb Baker, who was an assistant and co-worker; Orlan
helped with research; and Geri Friederich and Donna Olson, who were
assistants. Also thanked were the people, many residents or
residents of the Gunder area who submitted articles and shared old
photographs, clippings and other information.
"All material that fit has been included," said the book committee
A main reason the project took seven years was because committee
members were so thorough and meticulous. However, in the process, they
discovered that in the publishing business, perfection is a goal always
sought, but very rarely attained.
"Every effort was made to verify information, but we realize there
always be conflicting stories and opinions. Any errors or omissions
purely unintentional and we sincerely apologize for them," stated the
"We hope that you enjoy reading the book as much as we enjoyed
compiling it," they concluded."
©Clayton County Register 2001
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