Prophetstown Firefighters Save Historical Items From Wreckage - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Prophetstown Firefighters Save Historical Items From Wreckage

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A week after a fire rips through downtown Prophetstown, destroying several businesses, apartments, and the Prophetstown Historical Society Museum, the historical society has been working every day to salvage what they can from their building.

Though much of it was believed to be lost, firefighters were able to save several historical items from the burned building before it was demolished.  

Several fans sit drying out hundreds of photos and paintings from Prophetstown's history, some over a century old. 

"We were very surprised we could salvage anything out of the building because watching it burn, I wouldn't have thought we could save anything," Prophetstown Historical Society President Janet Goodell says.  

The group says they were able to fill about ten truckloads and a livestock trailer full of items, thanks to local firefighters. 

"Our firefighters are tremendous, we couldn't say enough about them," Goodell says, "They went into the building that night and we got many many truckloads." 

Now the long process begins, saving old bank books, original Native American paintings, class photos from the late 1800s, and more.  

"All these photographs you see here, we had to take them all out of their albums, all out of their picture frames, lay them out to dry through a special process," Goodell says. 

"There are no more of those anywhere, just things that pertain to Prophetstown that are one of a kind, they have no monetary value but that's very important to us," she says. 

As volunteers work to preserve the town's history, they're also working to preserve memories of the fire too, saving part of the burnt ceiling from the old building now to be a part of Prophetstown history. 

"Even terrible events, people are curious about, and so it's very important to preserve it, not only for us but for the community," Goodell says. 

Though the restoration process could take weeks, volunteers say in the long run these items are priceless.  

"In a small town, it's important to save your history because that's a lot of what you have," Resident Jerry Halpin says, "It is important to save."

As volunteers work to restore and save old artifacts, the historical society is still looking for a new location to re-open the museum.

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