Butler County residents and history buffs don’t have to wait for St. Nick to get a treat this holiday season.
The Butler County Historical Society recently began selling its first-ever Butler County Historical Museum Calendar, a 14-month 2019 schedule that is loaded with photos and tidbits about the history of Butler County and the towns that shape it: Abie, Bellwood, Bruno, Dwight, Brainard, David City, Garrison, Linwood, Loma, Octavia, Rising City, Surprise and Ulysses.
The calendar runs from December 2018-January 2020.
“There are 13 towns in Butler County so we had to make it at least a 13-month calendar,” said Butler County Historical Society Treasurer Greg Fiala, who spearheaded the efforts with numerous volunteers to make the calendar a reality. “Every month is filled with facts about the early years of the town – 1860s through the 1900s.”
The calendar is currently on sale for $15 a pop at various stores and banks throughout Butler County.
“Every town, I pretty much visited with someone who I felt was a historian of the town,” he said. “And the advertising support was just amazing.”
Fiala, a Butler County farmer, said he began working on the calendar in March when he wasn’t tending to his property. His sister, Carm Fiala, was a major contributor when it came to helping with research and editing the calendar. All in all, he said it “flowed together nicely.” It came together in a matter of months, however, was the result of a conversation he had with friend Rose Ann “Roy” Hayes, of David City, more than a year ago.
“When I became treasurer two years ago, I knew we had limited funds,” he said. “I knew we were going to have to start making money if we were going to open the museum and keep it going.”
Hayes showed him a copy of a community calendar she had purchased from her hometown of Decatur.
“I have always bought a calendar from Decatur,” Hayes said. “I believe in keeping history. I am really interested in that type of thing. It’s one of their big money makers.”
The new calendar boasts historical photos of a different Butler County town on the top half, while the bottom features the dates of each month alongside numerous facts about the local community.
“It’s like a small book. It will probably take someone a couple evenings to read through it all,” Fiala said. “I hope people enjoy it.”
Buyers can also enjoy it knowing all proceeds raised from it will go to a good cause: The Butler County Historical Society’s museum in David City. The society was able to reopen the museum earlier this year thanks to numerous volunteers and a series of donations, including a $5,000 grant from the Butler County Tourism Fund.
“We wanted to open the museum and get it back going because it had been sitting idle for some time. We got in there and it was packed full of stuff donated to use over the years, but it was not really displayed nicely,” he recalled. “You could hardly see the floor.”
Despite the improvements made, the museum still needs work. The society spent funds to redo the floor in the front room and the bathroom in the building, among other things. Money raised from the calendar will help with several upgrades, including insolating the building and replacing remaining windows, Fiala said.
Response from the community has been stellar so far. Fiala said several hundred copies have been sold as of late October and officials are ordering a second batch to keep up with demand as the Christmas season approaches.
“Anyone in Butler County or anybody who is outside of Butler County, if you’re family history is Butler County, you need this calendar,” assured Hayes, who noted she did not participate in its creation but gladly supports it. “If you’re interested in history, whether you’re from Butler County or not, this calendar is amazing. They did a good job.
“I am so excited. The calendar is awesome.”
Those who would like a calendar shipped directly to their or someone else’s home can send $17 (it’s $2 more for shipping) to: Butler County Historical Society, P.O. Box 133, David City, NE 68632.
“They will make great Christmas gifts for your children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents, and will be a keepsake for your family,” Fiala said.
As a result of the response so far, Fiala said plans are underway for the calendar to become an annual tradition. He and other society members are in the process of developing a concept for next year’s edition.
“The theme will change,” he said. “I expected people who like history to love this calendar. I hope we continue to sell more as we get toward Christmastime.”
For updates on the calendar, search Butler County Nebraska Historical Society on Facebook.
The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. every Sunday right now. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at email@example.com.