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Gehrke windmills could get interpretive signs


The artist who produced the Gehrke windmills could get some overdue attention if the Coulee Area Park and Recreation District can find funding for a few interpretive signs to tell his story.

Electric City resident Kristen Heidenthal last month proposed working on four interpretive panels to explain to visitors a colorful history of the artist beyond his time in the Grand Coulee area.

Emil Gehrke is recognized as a legitimate American folk artist and his work is more widely known and respected than many appreciate, district President Bob Valen said at the July 11 commissioners’ meeting.

Heidenthal said she had found several articles that shed light on Gehrke’s earlier years, which included crisscrossing the country in trains and covered wagons, and going to sod schoolhouses.

Valen has already nominated the site where Gehrke’s whimsical windmill’s are fenced as a state historic site.

Heidenthal said she had some ideas for grant funding.

In other business, Commissioner Phil Hansen said he would be resigning from the board at the end of September.

Hansen has served in the district since 2009.

Anyone interested in stepping into the volunteer position should contact Commissioner Valen.

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