Hi Everyone! Welcome (and welcome back!) to the Hometown Heritage blog.
My name is Alissa Whitmore, and I am pleased to join the staff here at Hometown Heritage in Perry, Iowa. This week, I wanted to introduce myself, as well as let you know about a few of the projects that I will be working on this summer.
I have lived in Perry the majority of my life, having moved to town with my family in 1989. I graduated from Perry High School in 2002, and then went to college at the University of Iowa.
I have always loved history, so I took classes in prehistory (which is just history before written records), the Greeks and Romans, and archaeology. I have been fortunate to be part of excavations right here in Iowa, as well as in Italy and the Netherlands. In graduate school, I studied at museums, archives, and archaeological sites at Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, England, and Wales in preparation for writing my dissertation on the Romans to obtain my Ph.D.
During and after grad school, I taught at the University of Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College before deciding that I wanted to pursue a career in museums. I love museums for the same reasons that you do – the atmosphere of past places, the stories that objects and photos can tell, and the desire to know who and what came before us.
I’ll be splitting my time between Hometown Heritage in Perry and the State Historical Museum in Des Moines, as well as continuing to do some local archaeology in Iowa.
In the coming weeks at Hometown Heritage, I’ll be making some changes to our exhibits, revamping our online searchable photo collection, connecting with local schools to offer educational outreach to students (Homeschool parents! Please stop by or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we can talk about what Hometown Heritage can offer your students!), and planning some great events for later this summer (including an event with an amazing Iowa author who has an upcoming book on Dallas County history!). And for those with an interest in genealogy, we have computers with access to Ancestry.com and digitized Perry newspapers dating back to 1874.
Starting in July, I’ll be here at Hometown Heritage on Wednesdays – Fridays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, so please stop in to say hello, see some of the changes, and hear more about what Hometown Heritage and our unique collections can offer you!
Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
Today I have some news for all of you: this will be my last blog post for Hometown Heritage. Tomorrow, June 15th, will be my last day here. If you want to come and see me at the Carnegie, then tomorrow is the day to do it! I am starting a new chapter in my life and will be applying to graduate school to get a degree in Museum Studies. My hope is one day to work in a Museum with its collection. Hometown Heritage has taught me many valuable lessons and I am very thankful for my time here.
I also want to thank all of you, readers, for coming back every week to read these posts! I am glad that I was able to entertain you every week with fun stories and pictures from our collection. However, just because I am leaving does not mean that the blog will stop. Our newest hire here at Hometown Heritage will continue the blog, and more new and interesting stories and pictures from our collection will continue to be told.
So again, thank you for coming back each week during these two years, and come back soon for another Hometown Heritage blog!
This is Bill Clark with my own addition to this week’s blog. We are grateful for the many valuable contributions that Jared has made in his time with us at Hometown Heritage. His future is bright and I am confident of his success going forward. We are grateful to have played a small part in his career development. His blogs will be a “tough act” to follow for anyone. Best regards Jared!!
Bill Clark and all the Trustee Board
Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage blog!
If you have not figured it out from the heat these past few days, June is here in full force! Of course, the heat isn’t the only thing that June brings: it also starts the season of summer blockbusters. Perhaps some of you have already gone to see some, such as Wonder Woman, at the Grand 3 Theatre. However, did you know that in the early 1900s the Grand 3 was not a theatre and that there were actually two different competing theatres in Perry?
Years before it became what we frequent today, the Grand 3 Theatre in Perry was an entirely different form of entertainment. Perhaps you have noticed that the main screen at the Grand 3 has a different feel to it than the other screens. There are balconies on either side of the screen and there used to be an elaborate frame around the screen with busts above it. There even used to be a stage that extended out into the room! What do these lead you to believe the theatre used to be? If you guessed Opera House, you would be right! When it first opened in November 1903, the Grand 3 Theatre was actually the Grand Opera House. We do not have any pictures of the inside of the building when it was an Opera House, but one can assume that the balconies were once functional, with wealthy citizens sitting in them to watch the show. Although, come to think of it, I used to work at the Theatre and I never found a way to access those balconies, so maybe they were always just decorations!
Now, although the Grand 3 Theatre was not always used to show movies, there were two other places in Perry one could go to see the moving pictures. Opening around 1910, these two theatres were the Rex Theatre and the Majestic Theatre. The Rex Theatre, as I understand it, was just down the street from the Grand Opera House on the corner of Second and Lucinda. The Majestic Theatre, on the other hand, was farther down Second Street, closer to the Carnegie Library (in fact it looks like it used to be in the building where the Shoppe of Oddities is now). In fact, according to our collection there used to be a third theatre called “Foxy Theatre”, but I can only find one reference to it so I am unsure if it was an actual third theatre or a rebranding of one of the other two theatres.
Still, with all these other theatres in town it makes me wonder why none of the rest of them survived. Did the Grand 3’s transition to a theatre drive the rest from town? Did the other theatres burn down in one of the numerous fires in Perry? If any of you readers know, tell us in the comments, and join us next week for another Hometown Heritage Blog!