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Stewart Historical Society aims to restore former Red Owl

The Stewart Area Historical Society (SAHS), a certified non-profit group with established leadership, is working on a permanent resting place for historical artifacts from the community’s past — and at a familiar site to those who know the small town well, the former Red Owl Grocery Store.
At the former Stewart Tribune building, a bit run down from the throes of time, Jim Pessek — who now owns the building — uses it to store artifacts he’s been collecting since 8 years old. Though just a temporary storage facility, Pessek still keeps the building and relics in orderly condition.
“They still make those,” Pessek said, pointing to a few patches of new ceiling tiles where he’s started replacing problem areas. Most of the ceiling is a dated material and design, but to Pessek, restoration means getting the little details right. After rigorous searching, Pessek found a Texas company that makes just the right kind of ceiling tiles.
While talking with him and other members of the historical society, details were heavily emphasized as he went through personal archives to ensure names and dates were accurate. Pessek said the Red Owl building origin date is unknown, but pictures dating back as early as the early-1900s have the building in them. Darwin Albert Stewart founded the town in 1878, so the building has to be almost native to the town — creating an even larger sentimental attraction.
Even though Pessek’s not planning on the old Tribune as the final spot for the historical society, his repairs to it and attention to detail speaks to his devotion for Stewart history and the accuracy he thinks should accompany it. Pessek’s innate passion for Stewart history glows through his excitement to pass on knowledge via tactile, tangible methods.

(For the complete story, see the Dec. 26 print edition of The Chronicle.)