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Returning ‘home’

By Staff | Oct 14, 2009

Doc Sievert with a slice of the Estherville meteorite which the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce bought at auction Aug. 18. The meteorite, which just recently arrived from Scotland, was displayed at the annual chamber and EIDC meeting Tuesday night at the Little Swan Lake Winery. Nickel and other metals give the meteorite a high lustre and significant weight. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

No one argued that it wasn’t a good place to spend the money.

A sizable portion of the Estherville meteorite returned home recently and was unveiled at the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce and Estherville Industrial Development Corporation annual meeting Tuesday night at the Little Swan Lake Winery. Resembling a piece of fine Italian marble, only much heavier, the Chamber bought the piece of Estherville’s history for on Aug. 18 for L6800 British (about $11,000) from hotel/motel tax receipts designated for tourism purposes.

The chamber bought the portion of the meteorite at auction held by the firm Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh, Scotland Aug. 18. If the total auction receipts were any indication, the chamber got a very good deal indeed. The entire collection of rocks owned by Robert Elliott, which included a piece of the moon, was estimated at over L500,000, or approaching $1 million U.S. The items brought just L130,000.

The meteorite was the largest to land on U.S. soil in recorded history.

Chamber Executive Director Dusty Embree said at the annual meeting Tuesday night that she had to go to the Chamber office at 3 a.m. to bid on the heavenly slab.

She said the chamber hopes to make the meteorite part of the branding process for Estherville. Marketing consultants working on the city branding campaign have asked why Estherville wasn’t promoting the meteorite more than it has been.

“We want to make it a very big deal,” Embree said.

She said the meteorite will be a focal point of the chamber’s marketing efforts to bring visitors to Estherville.