Digitizing Lyle ink; Iowa organization awards grant to preserve Minnesota town’s history

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Sunday, November 19, 2017
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Digitizing Lyle ink; Iowa organization awards grant to preserve Minnesota town’s history

By Mike Stoll
Published 10:07 am Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lyle will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2020, and Lyle native Mitch Helle has been working on an updated community history book for the occasion.

He is now one step closer to his goal, thanks to the Worth County (Iowa) Development Authority, which awarded Helle a grant for $6,405.84 Wednesday night. The money will be used to help digitize copies of the Lyle Tribune, which published from the 1890s to the 1950s.

While doing his research, Helle has been relying on copies of the Lyle Tribune available at the Mower County Historical Society. The pages, however, are in bad shape.

“These are the only copies of the paper, and I’m worried that something could happen to them,” he said.

Helle was previously awarded Minnesota Legacy grants through the Minnesota Historical Society for his work on Lyle oral histories and getting the Lyle Tribune transferred to microfilm. The copies have been delivered to a company in La Crosse, Wisconsin, which will transfer them to microfilm. That expense is being paid courtesy of a Minnesota Legacy grant worth $9,805.

Helle wanted to digitize the papers for immediate use; however, the Minnesota Historical Society does not award Minnesota Legacy grants for digitization, forcing him to look elsewhere.

“I reached out to the WCDA because their history is closely associated with Lyle,” he said. “The WCDA has two grant application periods, and I applied for this grant at the end of August.”

The WDCA awarded $676,905.60 worth of grants on Wednesday evening, including $8,502 to the Austin VFW Post 1216 for air conditioning and furnace replacement, $3,738.75 to the Austin American Legion Post 91 for parking lot resurfacing, and $2,664 to Albert Lea American Legion Post 56 for baseball uniforms and equipment.

Helle’s initial grant request was for $8,541. He will try to raise the additional $2,100 in the next few months.

The digitization process will begin once the transfer to microfilm has been completed. Helle estimates the copies will be on microfilm in either February or March.

Helle said that once the collection is digitized, it will be accessible online. Any material printed before 1923 will be in the public domain. Material printed after 1923 will require special access due to copyright laws.

Helle said he is also in the second phase of his Lyle oral history project. He said he plans to apply for a grant for a third phase.

“Phase two consists of interviews regarding Lyle schools and businesses,” he said. “The third phase will focus on rural Lyle.”

For more information about Helle’s Lyle history projects, visit www.lyle.mn or contact him at mitch@lyle.mn or 507-481-2382.

Brittle and flaking editions of the Lyle Tribune are stored in boxes at The Mower County Historical Society. Photo provided

Mitch Helle, who is updating the community history of Lyle as its sesquicentennial approaches in 2020, holds an original copy of an issue of the Lyle Tribune at the Mower County Historical Society.