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City of Lennox receives grant to help with Historic Museum restoration

The City of Lennox is embarking on a significant restoration project on the Lennox Area Museum thanks in part to a grant from the Deadwood Funds. The grant, awarded to the Lennox Area Museum in the spring, aims to revitalize historic buildings throughout South Dakota, preserving their rich history for future generations. The restoration work officially began on Thursday, September 28th, and will span the next few weeks.

C. Eagle Construction has been entrusted with the vital task of tuck pointing, a meticulous process involving repairing and maintaining exterior brickwork. This restoration effort extends not only to the museum building itself but also to the brick memorial situated in front of the museum.

This endeavor signifies the first in a series of improvement projects planned for the museum. The City of Lennox has allocated $150,000 in sales tax funds within their 2024 budget, earmarked for re-roofing the structure and installing new windows in line with historical requirements.

The Lennox Area Museum holds a special place in the heart of the community. Formerly known as Harney Hospital, it stands as the sole site in Lennox listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of just 27 such sites in Lincoln County.

In 1915, a trained practical nurse, Elizabeth Harney joined forces with Dr. Samuel Young to bring the hospital to life. The hospital officially opened its doors in 1916 and served as a workplace for doctors Young, Colin, and Stevens. The Harney family resided in the upper floors, with surgeries taking place in the northwest room of the second floor, benefiting from a slanted skylight that provided additional natural light.

Over time, the landscape of medical care evolved, but Elizabeth Harney continued to utilize the hospital for childbirths and nursing home care for the elderly until her passing in 1948.

Subsequently, Dr. H.P. Volin acquired the building, known as The Clinic at the time. Local doctors maintained their offices here, with the upper levels being converted into boarding rooms and apartments.

In 1984, the building transitioned into the Lennox Area Museum, under the auspices of the Lennox Area Historical Society. In 2004, ownership was transferred to the City of Lennox. Remarkably, the interior of Harney Hospital remains largely untouched, offering a unique glimpse into its historical past.

The property also features the original carriage house, which once sheltered both carriages and horses. Located at the rear of the premises, it adds to the museum’s historical charm. Harney Hospital received its well-deserved listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

As restoration efforts kick-off, the City of Lennox and the local community eagerly anticipate the revitalization of this cherished historical landmark. The project preserves the past and ensures the museum’s enduring legacy for generations to come.


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