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Althea Sherman


Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 10/28/2008 at 11:24:57

Prairie Du Chien
Courier Press
October 15, 2008

Iowa bird tower replica to be built

THE OUTLOOK – Althea Sherman has been dead for 65 years, but her work has not been forgotten – especially her contributions to the study of a small bird – the chimney swift.

In 1915, at the age of 62, Miss Sherman designed and helped build an unusual structure, a tower that she used to study the habits of the chimney swift.

Although the tower has been gone from the Sherman farm near National for decades, it has not been forgotten.

Construction is expected to begin this month on a replica of the tower, that will be less than 50 yards from Althea Sherman’s grave in the National, Iowa Cemetery and within a quarter mile of her home.

“Hopefully chimney swifts will return to the tower and begin nesting,” said Harold Krambeer, presidents of the Friends of the Sherman Swift Tower, a group formed in 2006 to honor Althea Sherman, who was a noted educator, artist and ornithologist, known as “The Bird Lady of National.”

Krambeer and other members of the Friends of the Tower, were at the National Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 4, to celebrate the 155th birthday of Miss Sherman, which is Oct. 10. They served coffee, cupcakes and birthday cake to those who stopped by.

The chimney swift tower was an imposing structure. It had a 9x9x9x9 foot base and was 28 feet high. A chimney went through the center of the wooden structure. Miss Sherman spent hours a day peering at the swifts through small windows that looked into the chimney. She kept copious notes and sketched many pictures of the birds, becoming one of the leading authorities on the chimney swift. Her books are still cited as authoritative sources.

Added May 15, 2011:
Photo of the story board and replica chimney swift tower erected at the National cemetery in 2008 by Friends of the Sherman Swift Tower. Photo taken by S. Ferrall October 2010.

Althea Sherman gravestone

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