Okoboji Womens Club supports Gardner Cabin

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A special presentation was made at the December meeting of the Okoboji Women’s Club. In the 1950s, this club took an active role in preserving the Gardner Cabin at Arnolds Park and getting it listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Lola Watson, the mother of current member Lorraine Little, was instrumental in leading this effort.

The Abbie Gardner Sharp Cabin and Museum is now one of eight state historical sites managed by the State Historical Society of Iowa. Their dual mission is preservation and education about these sites.

In 1857, amidst rising tensions between American Indians and new settlers, 13-year-old Abbie Gardner's family was killed by men of the Dakota Indian nation. This tragedy became known as the Spirit Lake Massacre. In 1891, Abbie returned to Arnolds Park and purchased the cabin, operating it as one of Iowa's earliest attractions. Today, the Abbie Gardner Sharp Cabin and Museum educates visitors about the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre. The Dickinson County Conservation Board assists the State Historical Society of Iowa with management of the site.

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