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Kiwanis to auction off history -- Adirondack chairs made from old DLHS bleachers

DETROIT LAKES -- Kiwanis is auctioning off the chance to take home a piece of history.

Each year the Kiwanis holds a fund-raiser that includes dinner and silent and live auctions. After last year's auction, Ken Shroyer said he was looking around, thinking, "what would be unique" for next year's auction. He came up with an idea for wood he was already using for his own purposes.

He had some of the mahogany wood from when the bleachers at the Detroit Lakes High School were replaced. The wood had bolt holes in it, so the project had to be made with smaller pieces. That's when he thought of Adirondack chairs.

He ran the idea past Paul Maltrud, who agreed it was a good idea. Then Shroyer went to Howard Tyberg, who had "the tools and the expertise."

After Shroyer and Tyberg built the chairs, the school medallion was added and Joe Morris finished the chairs.

The bleachers were installed in the school in 1958.

"I didn't do DNA samples on the gum underneath," Shroyer joked. "I imagine some community people contributed to that gum."

The two chairs have been on display for the last couple weeks, and will continue to be on display until the April 4 auction. They will be split up and located in Wells Fargo and the Chamber of Commerce March 24-30, and St. Mary's Regional Health Center and the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center, March 3-April 4.

Shroyer said he'd encourage people to come up with unique ideas like the reuse of the bleachers.

"It doesn't get anymore local. It's a nice piece of nostalgia," event co-chair Cyndi Anderson said, adding that locals have literally sat on these chairs at one time but as bleachers.

Money from the Kiwanis auction is donated throughout the area for children's services. Anderson said last year Kiwanis gave $14,000 to the Early Childhood Dental Network, and have previously given $25,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes, to name some of the recipients of monies. This year, the goal for the event is to raise $20,000.

So, beginning 50 years ago with kids at the school, being rebuilt and auctioned off to provide money for children's projects, the project completes itself.

"This brings it full circle with lots of interesting points along the way," Anderson said.

The Kiwanis fund-raiser is Friday, April 4, in the Speak Easy, beginning with social hour and the client auction at 5. Dinner follows at 6:30 and the live auction at 7:30, which will feature the Adirondack chairs.

Anderson said the chairs will be up for auction separately. This highest bidder will then have the option of buying both chairs, or the second chair will be sold at the same price the first one was sold at.

Tickets for the fund-raiser are $35, which includes the meal, at American National Bank, Solutions or from any Kiwanis member.