Dr. Frances A. Allen, who has been a major part of the story of making Newton a great place to live, celebrated her 99th birthday Saturday, June 21. Friends and members of the Legacy Society of Carriage Factory Art Gallery gathered at her home to honor Dr. Allen and share memories.

"Dr. Allen inspires us all with her wit and enthusiasm," said Merrill Raber, vice president of the gallery's board of directors. "With her long history of support for the arts, she has given us a model for planning ahead, both personally and at the gallery."

Dr. Allen is a founding member of Carriage Factory Art Gallery and also of its Legacy Society. The society was formed to provide an endowment that will ensure the gallery's long-term success in becoming an outstanding Kansas showcase for art and artists, as well as a center for celebrating art and enhancing the community.

Carriage Factory Art Gallery is housed in a two-story carriage factory founded in 1883 by J.J. Krehbiel, co-founder of Bethel College. Supporters of the arts in Newton, with Dr. Allen in the lead, moved into the old carriage factory in 1983, and held their first art exhibit in August of that year. Major renovations to the building were completed in 1993, with funding from Fred Krehbiel, a great grandson of J.J. The gallery is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to rotating exhibits that feature regional art for sale, the gallery includes a consignment sales gallery of 45 local artists, a gift shop and a collection of paintings for sale by renowned American impressionist Albert H. Krehbiel.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.