MAQUOKETA — The Penningroth Machine Shed will undergo improvements soon due to a $9,900 grant from Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area.
The SSNHA, located in Waterloo, awarded a total of $50,000 to nine Midwestern sites, with grants ranging from $575 to $10,000.
“This project will turn the Penningroth Machine Shed, an 8,000-square-foot building, into a museum display and educational facility,” said Jackson County Historical Society Curator Bonnie Mitchell. “The collection will contain early pioneer implements from the 1830s-1920s.”
Work on the improvements will begin shortly after Pioneer Day, which is scheduled for Oct. 6.
The overcrowded machine shed housed all agriculture-related artifacts until recently, when the new machine shed at the Clinton Engines Site was built. The move of post-1920s artifacts to Clinton Engines was completed a short time ago, allowing more room to view non-powered implements and older pioneer artifacts.
Lighting in the Penningroth Machine Shed will be improved, and new displays will be added to showcase artifacts. Signage and narrative posters will be an important part of the improvements.
The machine shed has many plows and planters that reflect the major changes and design improvements through the years for these implements. The implements will be lined up in order of build date, with narrative posters explaining significant design changes.
The machine shed, built and maintained by the Jackson County Historical Society, houses one of the finest collections of early farm equipment in the state. Many people volunteered to make the Machine Shed such an outstanding place. One of those volunteers—the late Ergon Penningroth—was honored at the JCHS Annual Pioneer Day in 2012. He dedicated both time and resources to the Machine Shed throughout his retirement years.