SMITHLAND, Iowa (KCAU) – It’s modeled after the oldest schoolhouse in the area and it’s run entirely by volunteers. The Smithland Log Cabin Museum is Woodbury County’s oldest, and one Siouxland woman has been taking care of it for more than two decades.
The town of Smithland simply wanted to give its youth a job, so they put out a call to build a cabin.
“In 1938, this all started. And in 1949 it was dedicated. From then on it was a replica of the first school. And then it sat idle, kind of empty. I don’t know when they started packing stuff in here, but it was at the door,” Kathryn said.
“We had so much stuff coming in, a lot of it was in boxes, it was around the north and west wall. It was just boxes. So something had to be done. So the decision was made that we enlarge.”
With the help of friends and family, the museum was given an extension, but not without some obstacles.
“We had to take out trees, and a brick wall and snakes, whatever was there,” she said.
This labor of love began for Kathryn back in 1995. In fact, without people helping the museum out of the goodness of their hearts, the operation wouldn’t be possible.
“This cabin has been nurtured by many volunteers. I had help from the word go.”
And while manpower is volunteer based, having money for upkeep is largely thanks to grant funding.
“And then the telephone, which was Western Iowa telephone gave us several grants. Without them, we wouldn’t be here so. That is where our grants come from,” she added.
And Kathryn believes all Siouxlanders have something to gain by visiting.
“It’s been just a happy place for me and a place of value. I’ve learned along with the others.”