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‘100 Years of Creston Architecture’

Creston’s historic architecture tells the story of the town’s beginning as a railroad town and the relationship to the land around it.

From Creston’s restored Depot to the Blue Grass Palace, Brian Zachary will lead a virtual tour through history 6 p.m. Friday at the mealsite in Creston’s restored Depot during “100 Years of Creston Architecture” sponsored by the Creston Historic Preservation Commission.

The talk will mainly focus on the structures related to the railroad — the roundhouse, the depot and the machine shed — and include information about the architects who designed them, Burnham and Root.

“They’re really internationally significant, and it kind of ties us all into the architecture and the 1893 Exposition in Chicago,” said Zachary.

His talk will also briefly touch on the architecture of temporary structures, such as the Blue Grass Palaces of 1889-91.

Zachary said blue grass was grown in the region, and 18 counties got together and hosted a fair in which a blue grass palace was the central attraction. The structures were made mainly of blue grass sod and hay bales on a wood frame.

“Inside would have been exhibition halls,” said Zachary. “I don’t want to say it was the World’s Fair. It wasn’t even a state fair, but it was like that — showing the capabilities of these counties.”

Zachary has a degree in historic preservation and is a member of the Creston Historic Preservation Commission and the Union County Historic Village Board.

“I was really interested in object preservation,” said Zachary. “I wanted to work in a museum behind the scenes with pieces of art, but I didn’t realize that 80 percent of the work was going to be with a Q-tip and I can’t sit still that much. This is just bigger objects, but less Q-tip work. Within a building, there’s everything down to the smallest things, but there’s a lot of different aspects with materials and workmanship and art.”

Zachary said there is so much interesting architecture and examples of architectural features in Creston, he couldn’t possibly talk about everything in the time allowed. Topics such as the shotgun shacks on Cherry Street or the souvenir homes that still stand could be other possible topics if time allows.

Zachary said the presentation is going to be informal and he welcomes audience members who may know more about the area than he does to chime in and share what they know.

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