Baker Township School

The Baker Township School is one of a few schoolhouses at the Prairie Arts Historical Park. The Prairie Arts Council will host a Hal Tuttle Day on Sunday to celebrate the man who created the park.

(The online version of this story has been corrected to fix the date of the event compared to the one in the Mail-Sun)

SHELDON—Sunday would’ve been Hal Tuttle’s 95th birthday.

While Tuttle will not be able to attend, the former Sheldon visionary died on Jan. 7, 2021, the Prairie Arts Council has been wanting to throw him a party for a while.

So, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 31, at the Prairie Arts Historical Park in Sheldon, the council will honor Tuttle and his vision for the park during what was his birthday.

“We’ve been thinking about doing it since he had to quit the board because of his health a while ago,” said board member Karin Vandenberg. “We decided that we are going to do it this year, and we are going to continue it every year just to honor him for the great thing he has done to that area there and what’s he’s brought to Sheldon. It was his dream.”

Tuttle was the first president of the Prairie Arts Council in the 1970s and the former art teacher helped get first schoolhouse on the property at 1423 Park St. That led to the Nelson Township, Lynn Township and Baker Township schools also making their way to the Prairie Arts Historical Park along with Dan McKay Prairie Home.

The Prairie Arts Council continues to maintain the buildings and the property and wants to show them off to the community on Sunday for an event that is free to the public.

“I’m hoping people will come and see his dream that he wanted because we’ve been working really hard to try to keep it going and to keep it nice and adding the little things that he suggested before he passed,” Vandenberg said. “The first time I went out there, I was blown away. There’s a lot of history there, and he worked so hard to keep that history. He wanted to keep history and art alive.”

There will be tours of the buildings, and there will be refreshments in the Baker Township school building.

The Prairie Arts Historical Park holds several events throughout the year with the most popular being around Halloween and another close to Christmas where children get to meet Santa Claus.

Little Picasso Kids Art Club will be held again starting the Saturday after Memorial Day and there is a ceramics on Wednesday nights.

The Baker Township school has hosted birthday parties, graduations, Boy Scout events and other various activities.

For those who want to book an event to or see what future events are happening at the Prairie Arts Historical Park, contact Vandenberg at 712-324-9718 or 712-89901748.

Vandenberg is hoping for a big group of people shows up Sunday to see all of what the park has to offer.

“We hope they come out just to see what his dream was and just to see what he wanted and what we are working at,” she said. “Hopefully, next year we will have even more things done. He was a man of great vision, and we are very pleased to do this.”