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September is almost upon us and with it a new group of events for the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition! I thought I would take this time to let you all know what and when September’s events are, if you have not seen them already!
The first event this month is tomorrow, September 1. This is the first in a series of events we are calling “Art Tour Odd Numbered Thursdays” (or Art Tour Odd # Thursdays, ATO#T for short). This time, the tour will be introductory tours. Similar to the Opening Reception, this Art Tour Odd # Thursday will feature simple tours given every half hour of the art that we have on display. It starts at 4:30 P.M. at the Hotel Pattee, and goes until 6:30 P.M.
The next event we have this month is Creative Mornings, another series of events that will continue throughout the Exhibition. This Creative morning will happen on September 6, from 10:00 to 11:30 A.M. at the Hotel Pattee. This event features both art and coffee, and will be hosted by Betsy Peterson and Carolyn Guay. The next event after this is another Art Tour Odd # Thursday on September 15, from 4:30 to 6:30 P.M. at the Hotel Pattee. This tour will be different from the first, as it will be a tour led by Bill Clark, the Hometown Heritage Board President and local businessman. It will feature looking at the art from a businessman perspective.
The fourth event in September is the big event that should get everyone excited. On September 22, Gary Ernest Smith himself will be here! Starting at 7:30 at the Hotel Pattee he will be leading an Art Walk! This is a great time to learn about the art on display directly from the artist himself. Prior to the Art Walk, Pam Jenkins Phd, a Research Professor of Sociology (Emerita), at the University of New Orleans and a Permanent Trustee of Hometown Heritage will be giving a presentation entitled “Growing Up in a Small Town and the Art of Gary Ernest Smith” at 6:30 P.M. at the Hotel Pattee. We encourage you to come to both and experience a great night of Art and learning! The next day, September 23, Gary Ernest Smith will be in Ames at the Brunnier Art Museum for a reception there. For anyone who wants to go that night, we will have a bus available to take people there and back at 5:30 P.M. from the Hotel Pattee. The cost is $20 per person and seats are first come first serve.
Finally, we will hold another Art Tour Odd # Thursday on September 29, from 4:30 to 6:30 P.M. at the Hotel Pattee. This tour will be led by host Rachel Schwaller, Associate Professor of Art & Design at Grandview University in Des Moines, Iowa. We encourage you all to come to as many of these events as you can, as each tour will be different. Do not forget either that the more events you come to (and get the back page of our printed schedule signed) the greater your chance of winning the Perry Area Gift Basket at the end of the Exhibition! I hope to see you all at these events in the future!
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As many of you know, Perry used to be a big place for trains. We used to have the Interurban Railroad, a roundhouse, and more. The trains would transport people and goods back and forth along the tracks; but what would happen when a train came off the tracks? Would it still be useful?
Many of you may be surprised to know that the answer is yes! Recently I found a very peculiar picture that was taken around 1945 on the farm of Carl Hansen. As you can see, there is a steam engine that looks very strange. Apparently, what has happened is that Carl has converted the engine into a hay thrasher. He did this by changing the wheels of the train so that it no longer needed tracks and could drive freely. He also most likely attached something to the back of the engine that would do the thrashing. What really gets me thinking, however, is how Carl got the engine to his farm in the first place! Did he modify it at the train station, or did he find a way to drag it all the way to his farm? Perhaps the answer lies in the strange belt that is attached to the engine that goes out of frame? We may never know.
Before I go, I want to mention that last night we had a great Opening Reception for the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition! Do not fret if you missed your chance to come and get a tour, as we will have more introductory tours on September 1, from 4:30 to 6:30 P.M. at the Hotel Pattee. Also in September there is a big event happening on the 22nd here in Perry. That night starting at 6:30 P.M., Dr. Pam Jenkins will be in town giving a lecture related to the art, and Gary Ernest Smith himself will be here to give an art walk! Mark it on your calendars now!
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Today I want to let you all know that the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition opens next week! Here at Hometown Heritage we have been hard at work setting up all the paintings and planning the events that we will hold during the exhibition. In fact, our first event is coming up next week, coinciding with the official opening!
Next week, on August 23, we will be holding an Opening Reception for the Exhibit. The event will take place at the Hotel Pattee, starting at 4:30 P.M. It lasts until 6:30. Some of you may be worried that you will miss the event, since it starts at 4:30, but do not worry! You can come at any time and will not miss anything. The night will be an introduction to the Exhibit, with introductory tours of the art throughout the night. There will also be a second round of introductory tours on Thursday, September 1st at the same time and place. We will also be selling books about Gary Ernest Smith at this and future events for $15. These books are centered on the Gary Ernest Smith’s life and art. Limited amounts of copies are available, so get one while you can! I encourage you all to come and take in the works of Gary Ernest Smith!
For more information about other events during the Exhibit, follow us on Facebook and check back, as updates will be posted regularly. For a complete schedule of events and downloadable .jpg, click here. I hope to see you all at the event on August 23!
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Many of you readers have probably seen the new giant white towers that have gone up outside Perry recently. These Wind Generators were built to generate electricity using wind, but they are not a new concept; people have been building and using windmills to harness the wind for centuries. Modern windmills are erected using cranes and other machines, but have you ever wondered how windmills were raised in the past?
Fortunately, here at Hometown Heritage we have a couple of pictures that show the raising of a windmill, so your curiosity can be fulfilled! Below, you can see the raising a windmill on the Read farm around 1920. Raising this kind of windmill took many workers. Similar to raising a barn, the windmill seems to have been constructed on its side, and then pulled up into position with the workers pulling on the ropes. Curiously, in the picture there appears to be ropes on either side of the windmill, not just on the side being raised. Perhaps the other ropes were used to keep it steady while going up, or maybe would be used as anchors once the windmill was up? Another curiosity is the wooden structure on the left side of each picture. It appears to be some kind of big “X”, with the ropes running through the top. What is curious about this is not its purpose, as it most likely was used to create the leverage needed to raise the windmill. What makes it curious is why this method is employed instead of a pulley system, or something similar. Do any of you readers know why this big wooden x was used? If so, please let us know in the comments!
Readers, do not forget that the Gary Ernest Smith Art Exhibition is starting soon! The opening reception here in Perry is on August 23, from 4:30 to 6:30 P.M. You can find the link to the event on Facebook by clicking here. Feel free to invite people you know to come see the paintings of Gary Ernest Smith!
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I have a question for you to ponder, readers. Do you think that you could uproot yourself and your family, move to a new town, and open a new business to try to stay alive? Would you be able to leave your old life behind? I ask because this is exactly what Jacob Heater Jr. did in the year 1887.
The year was 1887, and the country was in a serious depression after the high of the Civil War. Dubbed the “Gilded Age”, the time was characterized by a materialistic excess and extreme poverty. The term "gilded" referred to the idea that although on the surface everything seemed fine, like it was made of gold, this gold was just a thin coating that covered a life that was hard and unforgiving. Jacob and his wife Martha were trying to make a living on his farm, but were not succeeding. In an attempt to try to make enough money to survive, Jacob Heater Jr. uprooted his whole family and moved to Jamaica, Iowa.
Many of you may be asking why, and the answer is that he attempted to start a Hotel. Named the Heater House Hotel, it was a building directly across from the Railroad Depot on the Southwest corner of Main Street in Jamaica. As you can see in the picture, it was a two-story building with a very big porch and balcony. The reason for this is that the Hotel shared its balcony with a saloon next door. In theory, this is a very promising partnership. The two buildings, located directly across from the Depot, would be able to draw in travelers for drinks at the saloon, then send them to the hotel when they needed a place to stay.
Unfortunately, since times were so bad, the Heater House Hotel went broke after a few years. Jacob’s fate after his hotel is unknown, but hopefully he found another way to live! Readers, do you think you could do what Jacob did during a depression? Tell us in the comments!
As a final note, we are drawing closer to the opening of the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition! Remember to save August 23rd to your calendar as the opening reception here in Perry at the Hotel Pattee from 4:30 to 6:30 P.M. I hope to see you there!