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Greenbush man crafts stone accents for Kittson County museum addition

By Anna Jauhola
LAKE BRONSON — About 15 years ago, Ervin Vacura created a unique fieldstone sign for the Kittson County History Center/Museum.
In recent weeks, Vacura was back in Lake Bronson affixing donated fieldstones to the new addition at the museum.
People from around the county and beyond donated hundreds of rocks in an effort to “Rock the Museum” and create a unified look between the sign and building.
Vacura’s craft is a dwindling one.
He started more than 45 years ago creating veneers using stones. He worked with different people throughout 30 years of his career, learning tricks of the trade. He’s done work on schools, hospitals, banks and the like.
“I guess it’s just something you learn by doing it,” he said. “I just like the way it looks, and it’s durable, and maintenance-free.”
In affixing the stones to the side of the building, Vacura said he has to take his time because the rocks are so heavy and the mortar needs time to dry. He could only install so many rocks per day.
“It’s such a small area and I can only go up so fast,” he said. “If I was on the south side, it would be warmer and I could go up faster. But on the shady side in 30, 40 degrees, everything sets so slow. If one (stone) slips, a good chunk of it will come down.”
Vacura, who is a Greenbush native, has a stake in Kittson County’s history as his mother was a Lorenson.
He said he’s happy to create the unique facade for the museum and finds great satisfaction knowing people around the community and visitors will see his creation for years to come.
Although he is of retirement age, Vacura still does quite a bit of work.
“As long as I have the health to do it, I like to work,” he said.
Next spring, he will be back at the museum to continue adding rocks to the pillars on the east entrance to the new addition.

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