preserve, honor and build upon the heritage of Kendallville.
HISTORY OF THE KENDALLVILLE HERITAGE ASSOCIATION, INC.
The Kendallville Historical Association, Inc. was initially formed to
give a formal repository for the research archives of the late Russell
Frehse, Kendallville's unofficial historian - a collection that grew as
a result of a 30+ year passion with the city's history.
The year was 2003 and Russell Frehse was, in his own words, "getting
old." Russell was 93 years old and he was discussing his plans to
dispose of his properties with his friend and neighbor, David
Christianson; with plans to then move into an assisted living facility.
They both agreed that his archives would have the greatest value as a
collection housed with some sort of public entity such as the public
library or the City of Kendallville; or perhaps some other organization
that could preserve, protect and make them accessible to future
On October 29, 2003, the Downtown area of Kendallville, Indiana, was
entered into the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures and
then on December 23, 2003, it was declared an Historic District by the
National Register of Historic Places.
During the research needed for this historical designation,
participants recognized the need to preserve the various artifacts and
memorabilia that might be coming to light as a result of this
designation. Ray Scott, through his affiliation with the Kendallville
Chamber of Commerce, lobbied the Chamber for support of an historical
society to preserve the unique heritage of the Kendallville. On May 18,
2004, the Chamber authorized a Task Force headed by Ray, to study such
a proposal. On July 20th an Historical Committee was formed with Ray
Scott as Chairman, and members Russell Frehse, David Christianson,
Scott Frick, Luanne Coda, Tom Leedy, Bob Pruitt, Hertha Meyer, Terry
Householder, Bob Gagen and Sarah Thomas. They had their first meeting
on November 8, 2004.
On January 13, 2005, the Committee met with the specific goals of
creating a mission statement, choosing a name for the society,
organizing the society into a 501(c)3 corporation, joining the Indiana
and the Noble County Historical Associations, acquiring local
collections of historic items, securing a safe and dry space for
storage and planning a community celebration to introduce the new
historical society to the community. At the conclusion of the meeting a
mission statement had been drafted, a name had been chosen and, shortly
afterwards the Chamber offered the use of their second floor storage
Sadly, Russell Frehse, the impetus behind the formation of this
society, died on February 11, 2005; and his large collection passed,
effortlessly, into the newly emerging Kendallville Historical
Association, Inc., where it forms the core collection from which we
hope to build.
The rest of the year was spent completing the paper work necessary for
incorporation and for recognition by the Internal Revenue Service.
Hertha Meyer led the way through the paperwork and expertly guided the
committee members through each step of the process.
On April 25, 2005, the Committee ceased to exist and the new
Kendallville Heritage Association, Inc., selected its interim Board of
Directors (consisting of the original committee members) and elected
their interim officers:
Ray Scott, President
Luann Coda, Vice President
David Christianson, Secretary/Treasurer
to serve until November when its is hoped the Association will have a
membership that can elect its own Board.
An anonymous donor gave $1000.00 to help get the Association off the
On June 29, 2005, incorporation papers were accepted by the Secretary
of State and work is almost complete on gaining IRS recognition. The
Kendallville Heritage Association has joined the Noble County
Historical Society and a public event is planned for January 31, 2006
Christianson, Secretary, 16