Woodworker’s Talents to Benefit Motor Mill
A classic butternut pie safe could help put a new roof on Clayton County’s historic Motor Mill.
Elkader woodworker Jerry Healy has donated the custom-built pie safe to the Motor Mill Foundation to be used in by the group as a fund raiser for restoration work at the Mill. The Foundation will sell raffle tickets for the unique piece of furniture, then announce the winter at Heritage Days at Osborne Park Oct. 10-11.
Healy came up with idea after his wife, Audrey, heard a program about Motor given by Motor Mill Foundation member Betty Buchholz. Crafting a replica of a historic pie safe seemed like a natural way to promote the historic Mill.
Healy’s 50 years of woodworking experience are evident in the craftsmanship of his work. The solid butternut pie safe includes adjustable shelves, butterfly cabinet hinges, and replaceable punched panels. Healy loves working with butternut, which is becoming rare because of a disease that has killed most butternut trees. The bold grain and occasional worm holes give the wood a distinct character, he noted.
Healy estimated the value of the pie safe at more than $700.The Motor Mill Foundation should be able to raise at least $2-$3,000 by selling chances on it, he said.
The pie safe will be on display at the Elkader Opera House during the performances of “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” March 27-29 and April 2-4. After that, it will be displayed at the Osborne Conservation Center.
The money will be used in ongoing work to replace the roofs on the Mill and the Inn at the Motor Mill Historic Site, which is about five miles downstream from Elkader along the Turkey River. The Motor complex, which includes the six-story, limestone mill, an inn, a stable, an ice house, and a cooperage (barrel-making shop), was built in 1869.