October 22, 2019

Prairie Village is on path to long-term goal - Daily Leader Extra : Editorials

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Prairie Village is on path to long-term goal

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:20 pm

Prairie Village, like other good organizations, has changed its focus over time to adapt.

The origins of Prairie Village date back to 1961 when Joe Habeger headed a group who decided to have a one-day threshing show on his farm 13 miles north of Madison. The success of the threshing show that year and in future years led to the purchase of land on the north shoe of Lake Herman.

In addition to the threshing bee, Prairie Village was incorporated to become a "living museum" in which a re-created 1890 village would be built, with buildings moved in from nearby towns and farms. A sod house was also built using techniques from the 1800s.

By 1972, 48 buildings had been brought in and visitor counts were growing rapidly. The threshing jamboree expanded to three days.

But organizers knew they couldn't stand still. Recognizing the role the railroad played in developing this region, Prairie Village purchased track and an engine, and started a railroad tradition. The Chapel Car Emmanuel was acquired.

Throughout the years, Prairie Village leaders developed successful educational programs, working to teach young people about the history of this area.

In recent decades, Prairie Village staff and volunteers have established other programs and events to achieve a long-term goal: to draw people to the village in the spring, summer and fall other than the late August threshing Jamboree.

The list is too long for here, but consider the events: The Northern Bull Riding Tour, the Miss Prairie Village and Prairie Princess pageants, Prairie Repertory Theater, a car show, weekly church services, Railroad Days, development of a campground, dinner trains, the Hobo Marlin Pumpkin Train at Halloween, a consignment auction and many more.

This weekend, Prairie Village is hosting a concert in the restored Lawrence Welk Opera House by Abbey Road, a Beatles cover band. Tickets are on sale for the Saturday night concert.

We congratulate all those involved with Prairie Village for its tremendous half-century success, along with current work to build a solid future.

-- Jon M. Hunter