A "Hands On" kind of gal, Edna
Kouns began her volunteer effort with the fledgling Historical Society in 1972 by working on the first fund raising project, which was a Heritage quilt. For only $10 each a Lakesider could have their family name embroidered on the quilt. The effort didn't raise much money but we now have a wonderful heritage quilt with pioneer family names and dates they came to Lakeside.
Next Edna joined the committee which compiled history, information and biographies to created Lakeside's own "Legends of Lakeside" history book. She worked on the 1986 Centennial, when Lakeside celebrated its one hundred year birthday; a three day event in Lindo Lake Park.
When news leaked out that the Old Community Church was up for rent out Edna lead the charge to lease the building for the Historical Society. She bravely went before the elders of the Presbyterian Church to convince them that the Historical Society would be the best use of the property. It was a tough sell because the Chamber of Commerce wanted it as did the church retreat committee. "Our pitch was that we would share it with the community at no charge," Edna said. They also promised to love, honor and restore the building while paying rent.
As soon as the Centennial celebration was over the dedicated volunteers rolled up their sleeves and went to work cleaning up the church property, their first big challenge was to haul out all the old appliances and junk left over from the thrift store. Then they set about cleaning up and painting the manse (former preachers home) so they could get some renters in to help pay the bills.
Edna emerged as the chairman of the restoration committee which she ran for eight years. This would be no easy task even for a professional contractor but Edna was working with mostly all volunteers and donated labor and supplies. Some of the accomplishments included tearing down and replacing the plaster walls and ceilings, replacing all the electrical and plumbing, reinforcing the foundation and bell tower, installing new roofing at a cost of $25,000, installation of overhead sprinklers, new sidewalks and fencing, painting the interior and scrapping and painting the exterior -- just to name a few of the chores!
"I had many wonderful talented hard workers who put in thousands of hours and dollars to accomplish the project. It is sad that many of them are no longer here to enjoy the results." She figures that there is nearly $1 million in the restoration project. Unlike historic preservation efforts in other communities, Lakeside had done the fundraising themselves with no outside help. They hosted dinners, breakfasts, yard sales and various other clever money making schemes. Not until 1997 did the society get a Community Enhancement grant with the help of Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
1996 found the Historical Society ready to tackle the challenge of becoming property owners. Once again Edna led the charge. It was a scary undertaking and Edna feared that the huge