Dr. J. Harold Bonner, primary benefactor to The Walworth and Big Foot Prairie Historical Society, cranks the manual boat horn that he donated to the society at the July 26 open house and plaque dedication event. (Bridget Bartal photo)

Dr. J. Harold Bonner honored for his donations

By Bridget Bartal

Staff Writer

The Historical Society of Walworth and Big Foot Prairie, Inc. had a plaque dedication and self-guided tour of their building last week.

The building, at 101 Maple St., in Walworth, offers many local history exhibits, including an American Indian exhibit and an antique wedding dress display.

The primary benefactor for the July 26 plaque dedication was Dr. J. Harold Bonner. Items that Dr. Bonner donated, such as a manual crank boat horn, were on display during the tour of the building. Dr. Bonner, who is 97 years old, was in attendance at the plaque dedication and even cranked the boat horn during the event.

President Nancy Alberth Lehman was also a primary benefactor, followed by secondary benefactor, Donald Schieve.

The plaques were dedicated in front of the society’s building.

“Today, I look at this not only as a dedication to the plaques, but to the entire building as well. It is a dedication to the people who have made this possible,” Richard Rasmussen said.

As he sat front and center, Dr. Bonner was personally addressed in front of the crowd that had gathered.

“Your donation was extremely significant in the acquisition of this building,” Rasmussen said. “Now, Dr. Bonner, if you would do us the honor of leading the way into the building for the tour.”

Nineteen tour helpers were stationed around the building to answer any questions visitors had.

Heyer Hardware, celebrating 150 years of business, had a photo cake on display.

Lehman has played a crucial part in the historical society, as have members of the community, according to Rasmussen.

“Nancy Lehman is the driving force who has made this happen. She’s here every day, arranging exhibits and such. The amount of community help is also impressive. Volunteer efforts are critical to continuing what we do,” Rasmussen said.

The historical society building is open weekly on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about The Historical Society of Walworth and Big Foot Prairie, follow them on Facebook.


1 Comment

  1. Susan Maness says:

    I’m very proud to be the niece of this man. He’s always been an inspiration to myself and so many others. Congratulations Uncle Harold!!!

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