Hiawatha A northeast Kansas landmark has undergone a $1 million renovation and is now home to city offices and historical exhibits from around Brown County, including a nearly half-century old mural.
A formal dedication is scheduled at noon today for the historic two-story Clock Tower building, now known as the Frances Sewell Plamann History Center, in Hiawatha.
“This is a jewel and we saved it,” Jim Bush, senior trust officer of Citizens State Bank and Trust Co., said during a recent tour of the building.
The second floor is home to “The History of Brown County,” a large mural painted by Ron Allerton in 1961 that depicts settlers, American Indians hunting bison, agricultural life, industry and an old-fashioned revival.
Hiawatha city administrative offices, a break room and a conference room will be on the first floor, and the Hiawatha Chamber of Commerce will lease space on the second floor.
The renovation was made possible by the late Frances Sewell Plamann, a lifelong Brown County resident who helped establish the Brown County Historical Society. Plamann left the bulk of her estate in a charitable trust to be used for the purchase of real estate that could be transformed into a facility where historical artifacts could be displayed.
After her death in 2006, a committee set its sights on the Clock Tower building, which had been used over the years as a bank, grocery and shoe store. Construction began in April 2009.
Bush said workers made several discoveries, including decorative columns that had been wrapped in chicken wire and covered in plaster so glass windows could be installed.