Montage is time capsule of city

WORTHINGTON -- It's a simple pen-and-ink drawing on a flat sheet of paper, and yet it vividly captures a slice of life in Worthington and gives dimension to the city's history.

Photo courtesy ax Photo Nobles County Historical Society President Jacoba Nagel holds a framed edition of the Worthington historical montage, which features 52 local businesses and organizations as well as city landmarks and historical figures.

WORTHINGTON -- It's a simple pen-and-ink drawing on a flat sheet of paper, and yet it vividly captures a slice of life in Worthington and gives dimension to the city's history.

A specialized drawing that features many of Worthington's local businesses, landmarks, gathering places and significant characters in history is now being sold as a fundraiser for the Nobles County Historical Society. It was put together by Community Creations, a Columbus, Ohio, company that specializes in historic montages and community posters.

The company refers to its product as a "time capsule in art." Community Creations first contacted the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, and it was eventually decided the project would be a good fit for NCHS.

"We're always looking for fundraisers, and this one kind of dropped in our lap," said Jacoba Nagel, NCHS representative.

A company representative sought out sponsoring businesses and organizations and also took photos documenting the sponsors and other integral aspects of Worthington's landscape. NCHS provided information on the city's past history. Billie Zell-Breier, a Community Creations artist, took all those elements and integrated them into the drawing.


The print, which measures 22 1/2- by 17 1/2-inches, features 52 sponsor businesses, churches and organizations. Zell-Breier managed to relate an overview of the city's layout and how the businesses are relative to each other in the drawing. Interspersed among the sponsors are notable places such as Lake Okabena, Chautauqua Park, the railroad depot, Memorial Auditorium and the city's schools.

A history lesson is also woven into the design with the likenesses of some of the pivotal figures in Worthington's history: George Dayton, Peter Thompson, Professor Humiston, Stephen Miller, Amelia Earhart and E.O. Olson. There are also some landmarks that no longer exist, such as the Carnegie Library, toboggan slide on Lake Okabena and impressive "castle" school building.

"It's neat how the print looks kind of old," because of the pen-and-ink format, noted Nagel, "but the information is up-to-date and modern."

Each of the sponsors will receive signed and numbered prints. Brenda Hurlbut of Ax Photo is coordinating the distribution of the sponsor prints and has designed custom framing options to complement the design. An additional 700 prints will be sold, at a cost of $20 per print, with proceeds going to NCHS.

Nagel and Hurlbut are getting the ball rolling this week by auctioning off a framed print at the Early Risers Kiwanis Club, of which they are both members.

The prints can be purchased at AX Photo or the NCHS museum, located in the lower level of the War Memorial Building (Nobles County Library), 407 12th St., Worthington. The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

People who choose to stop at the museum can also take in a special exhibit that features the works of cartoonist Bob Artley, who died Oct. 21, 2011, at the age of 94. Artley worked as a cartoonist and illustrator for the Daily Globe from 1971 to 1986. During his tenure at the newspaper, he began a regular feature, "Memories of a Former Kid," that became the basis for a number of books.

The NCHS exhibit includes some original Artley illustrations and scrapbooks that were donated by readers who collected all of his editorial cartoons. There is also a display of historical drawings that Artley completed for local communities, including Worthington, Adrian, Brewster, Ellsworth, Lismore, Round Lake, Rushmore and Wilmont.


For more information about the Worthington historical montage or the Artley exhibit, contact NCHS, 376-4431.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at


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