OSKALOOSA — A special unveiling of the Oskaloosa Montage is set to take place Saturday, June 14, at 9:30 a.m. near the northwest entrance of Penn Central Mall.
The Oskaloosa Herald was given an exclusive sneak peak of the montage before the public showing. The montage was built in 1985 by local artists Marv Smith and Tom Stone. It reveals 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,” Tom Stone, architect, and one of many individuals involved with overseeing the process said. Since the mall was built, it has undergone some changes in ownership, which have impacted the montage over the years.
A document outlined the montage was removed from the mall in 1998 because it was no longer locally owned. However, once the it was purchased by Musco Lighting in 2010, the montage was preserved and archived.
“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.
One might find the exhibit to be artistic in nature. 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 paint a visual and unique picture of the life and times in Oskaloosa during that period. They organized the montage to contain major areas of interest that focus on business, lifestyle and transportation as it relates to community development. Photos that recorded how William Penn University, Oskaloosa schools, hospitals, fire stations, and businesses are also displayed. Overall, the montage is an artistic collection of photographs, building caps, and artifacts. Those pictures displayed in the montage are a reminder of how leaders paved a path for future development stretching ahead 100 years.
“It is more of an art piece that has the history of Oskaloosa,” Stone said.
The montage is set to be a permanent fixture of the mall after Saturday’s unveiling.
City Editor Jonathan R. Pitman can be reached by email at email@example.com