Delaware County Historical Society Preserves the Past for the Future 

The Delaware County Historical Society’s mission is to preserve the past, in the present, for the future. A new endowment fund through the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County (FFDC), an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, will help them do just that. 

The historical society owns nine buildings, including a church, dormitory, classroom space, anda gymnasium, on the former campus of Lenox College in Hopkinton. The college operated from 1859 to 1944 and has been under the care of the historical society since 1959. Inside these buildings are artifacts from Delaware County’s history, ranging from clothing and toys to pottery and agricultural implements.

Phyllis Hillers, a historical society board member, encouraged the board to consider starting an endowment fund. Annual payouts from the fund, which will continue in perpetuity, can be used for care of the collections and the buildings that house them. “Renovations are a never-ending thing when you’ve got nine old buildings. There’s always something that needs doing,” said Hillers. 

“Lenox College is a point of pride in Hopkinton,” she added. “It’s why people come to see the town.” The college is open for visitors six days a week, May through October, and has hosted weddings, auctions and fundraisers. The University of Iowa recently borrowed the historical society’s collection of photography backdrops, cameras and tintypes, and the Grout Museum in Waterloo requested a loan of the organization’s historic dental equipment. 

FFDC helped the historical society set up its endowment fund in 2018, granting $2,500 toward the initial $10,000 goal through its Seeds for Success program.Grants from the FFDC have funded restorations to the buildings, museum updates and exhibits.

Because of its new endowment, the historical society was able to participate in Great Give Day, a 24-hour, online event established by Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque in 2014 to celebrate and support local nonprofits and build a stronger community.FFDCalso contributed $250 to the society’s Great Give Day campaign, which raised more than $1,500 for immediate use.  

As the endowment fund grows, so will its impact. “Gifts to the endowment will help keep Lenox College’s legacy alive, and donors become a part of the history we’re preserving,” said Hillers. “Endowments are forever, and that’s the also goal of the historical society.”

Gifts to the Delaware County Historical Society endowment fund are tax deductible and may be eligible for the Endow Iowa 25% state tax credit. For more information or to make a contribution, visit Or, contact Nancy Preussner at 563-920-5590 or

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