New wood sign recognizes national registry honor

By Chad Koenen


Late last year the Landmark Center became just one of two buildings in Henning to be added to the National Register for Historic places. Now the facility has a new sign to mark the historic occasion—literally.

“We got Landmark Center on the National Register back in December and we wanted to have a sign made to commemorate that,” said Landmark Center Executive Director Dan Broten. “We were looking into the cost of a cast iron bronze sign, which were very expensive…and it would have been well over $1,000 or more just to have a sign made.”

Broten said he reached out to Henning School shop teacher Eli Hill at the end of last school year to see if students at the school would be interested in creating a custom sign. Since it was the end of the school year the students were unable to do so, but Broten later learned about the Next Gen Bears program at the Bertha-Hewitt School. The program, which is not offered at Henning School, creates custom signs and items that are sold throughout the region. 

Students in the program, as well as Broten, worked through the summer to determine the proper depth of the sign, as well as the overall design. Broten provided the students with his design, as well as the wood, and the students took over the project from there. The students created one large sign, as well as several small ones. The wood for the large one came from the Broten family farm near Henning.

“I thought it was appropriate for this arts and craft style house with all of the wood in it,” said Broten of the wood sign. “The smaller one may get coated and put outside as an experiment to see if it will hold up to the weather.”

The project was a new one for students as they had yet to create a wood sign like the one Broten envisioned for the Landmark Center. He credited the work of teacher Mike Barthel, as well as student Ashley Warren, for creating a unique piece to add to the history of the Landmark Center.

“They had never done a project like that before. They do all kinds of projects on metal and some kinds of wood, but nothing like that so they were excited to try it,” he said.