Hello Readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage blog!
Today I would like to tell you about some updates to the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition that is coming in August. We have lined up a few guest speakers for the Art Tour Odd Thursdays. For those who do not know, the Art Tour Odd Thursdays are odd Thursdays during the Exhibition and are tours of the Exhibit lead by various hosts, aside from the one. The first odd Thursday is a general tour day, with tours happening every half hour. Bill Clark, Hometown Heritage Board President and Perry businessman, however, leads the next odd Thursday. Betsy Peterson, local Perry artist, leads the third tour, and Adrienne Gennett, ISU Curator of Collections and Education, leads the fourth tour.
We have many other exciting events planned during the exhibit. For instance, there will be classes for home schooled and elementary students that will allow them to discover the stories and techniques of Gary Ernest Smith’s Artwork. If you want to know more about the exhibit, as well as get updates about events and other programing during the event, you can find more here. Also, stay tuned to the blog for updates as they happen! You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as sign up for our newsletter to get information sent directly to your email.
See you next week readers!
Hello Readers, and welcome back to the blog!
Perry has undergone many changes over the years, some quite a bit more drastic than others. For example, did you know that there used to be a different Light and Water plant in Perry? The old Light and Water Plant was a very interesting building. First, the building is not something that we see in America today, as we separate the water works and light works into separate buildings. However, what makes the old building so interesting is what happened to the building in July 1894 and to Henry Draper. Henry Draper was the Night Operator of the Light and Water Plant, and he was on his way to work on that fateful night in July. Little did he know, Henry was never going to do any work that night.
As he was on his way to work, the Plant exploded. The cause of the explosion is unknown, but as you can see in the picture, the plant was flattened. Henry was unharmed, but unfortunately the Superintendent Henry Hock was killed in the explosion. It is a very curious case, and there is no information about the explosion in our collection other than the fact that it occurred. If you know anything else about the explosion, please share with us below in the comments!
As a small side story, I will tell you what happened to Henry Draper after the explosion. He became a landscaper and sexton at the Violet Hill Cemetery. He did his job exceptionally well, to the point that when the plans for the cemetery were destroyed for a time, he was the only man to know where the more than 900 dead were buried!
See you all next Wednesday!
Hello Readers and Happy Wednesday!
Many of you have probably heard about the new phone application that is sweeping the nation, Pokémon Go. It seems millions of people are walking around outside playing this new game. However, this game is relatively recent, and got me thinking: What were the games that brought people outside before Pokémon, phones, and any electronics at all were invented?
I did some digging in our files, and found a few games that seemed to be popular in the past. First, there is the game of Horseshoes. The photo included is a picture called “Charles Challands and Friends Pitching Horseshoes”, and dates to 1934. Horseshoes was a simple, but difficult game. The goal was to throw a horseshoe from a distance and try to get it as close as you could to an upright stick in the ground. Then, you would get points based on how close you could get it! Of course, getting the horseshoe around the stick would earn you the most points, and was called a “ringer”. We have a few photos of this game, so it must have been a popular game around the 1930s and 40s.
Of course, that was not the only game that was played in the past. We have another photo dated to 1920 called “Women Appear to be Playing a Dice Game, Smoking Pipes”. As you can see in the picture, there are two women looking at the ground, and it appears that they are rolling dice. Unfortunately, there is little other information about this game. What is the goal? How do you win? Or, for that matter, are they actually rolling dice? Readers, if any of you know more about this dice game, please share so we can add the information to our system!
As you can see, before Pokémon Go there were plenty of other games. These games may not have swept the nation like Pokémon Go is doing, but they were still popular. It just goes to show that even without technology; people will find a way to have fun outside!
Good Afternoon Readers!
Many of you have probably seen the welcome sign on the highway into Perry, but did you know that there used to be another sign directing people to Perry? It was a sign that was five miles out on Highway 169, and was very intriguing!
As you can see in the picture, the sign was similar to a billboard and directed people to Perry to trade. The sign existed around 1950, and was maintained by the Chamber of Commerce. It featured a large ear of corn, which leads me to a big question that intrigues me. It calls Perry the “Heart of the Seed Corn Belt”. Personally, I have never heard of the Seed Corn Belt. It sounds similar to the Bible Belt in the South, but I have no idea what it truly means! Is it just a reference to all the corn grown in the Midwest, or is it something else? If any of you know more about it, I encourage you to tell us in the comments below!
As a final word, I want to let you all know that we now have postcards for the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition! You can find them at business around town, such as Ben Franklin’s or the Perry Perk. Or, come visit us in the Lower Level of the Town Craft Building to not only get a postcard, but see some of our wonderful collection for yourself!