Good Afternoon readers!
Today, instead of talking about something that we have here at Hometown Heritage, I am going to tell you about a building that many of you have probably seen here in Perry. The building in question is the Jones building. This building is behind Fareway, and has the word “Jones” carved across the top. Currently, the Jones building functions as a group of apartments. However, people did not always live in the building. So let us learn about the buildings history!
Before we can learn about what the original use of the building, it is important to learn about the man who built it. A man named C. Durant Jones is behind the creation of the building. He had a wife named Ida, and two kids named Horton and Lois. Jones was also a man of many talents. He was a newspaper publisher, a writer, a minister, a politician, a lecturer, a businessman, a temperance leader, a builder and contractor, a realtor, and a one point he was even the mayor. He also owned and operated the Jones Business College and a cement plant. Jones resided in Perry from 1904 to 1928, before he moved to Texas and hosted a radio show there. Now, onto the building itself.
Construction of the Jones building occurred between 1912 and 1913 by C. Durant Jones. He used reinforced concrete for the outside (which came from his own cement plant of course), and oak for the interior. However, how did people use this building when it C. Durant Jones first built it? Well, the first floor housed offices for the Chautauqua, and, maybe you guessed it, a college occupied rest of building. This college was the Jones Business College. The college did not last long, however, and it closed after 1921 and the building converted to apartments.
Now, many of you may be wondering what the Chautauqua is, since it was part of the building. I do not know much about it myself, but we do have a book about it here at Hometown Heritage. From what I can gather, the Chautauqua was a movement that started in the small town of Chautauqua, New York. A Methodist Episcopal minister started it along with an inventor named Lewis Miller. Chautauqua was, and still is, an educational movement, encouraging adults to continue learning and growing everyday of their lives. C. Durant Jones was a big supporter of this, and so he built the building not only as a college to continue people’s education, but also as a building to house the Chautauqua movement, which he organized in Perry in 1910 and incorporated in 1912.
So now you know all about the Jones building! Next time you happen by it, perhaps when you are buying food from Fareway, take a moment to remember what it stands for, and try to keep learning new things every day.
Hello Readers! (And sports fans!)
Have you ever wondered if any famous athletes have come to little old Perry, Iowa? Well, hold on to your stadium hot dogs, because I have quite the story for you!
Long ago, on an October day in 1922, Perry faced Pella in a good old-fashioned baseball game. The weather did not exactly co-operate. Everyone was worried about the game being rained out, a problem that is all too common today as well. Eventually, the game did start, and the athletes played it just like any other game. Each team took their turn, and at the end of the day, Perry won the game with a score of twelve, while Pella only had a score of four. So far, this all sounds like the average baseball game and not anything interesting at all.
However, here is where this story gets amazing! Thanks to the American Legion, who paid what I can only assume was a decent amount of money, both Perry and Pella had a special member on their team: Perry had Babe Ruth, and Pella had Bob Meusel! That is right, Perry once hosted the world famous Babe Ruth thanks to the hard work and contributions of the American Legion. Not only did he come and play for the Perry team, he also stayed at the Hotel Pattee, along with Bob Meusel. In fact, if you every have the chance to stay at the Hotel Pattee, there is a photo of Babe and Bob in the bowling alley on the lower level.
Most of this information comes from a very old Perry Chief. It took quite a while for me to find it, since we keep old scans of different Perry newspapers on microfilm (and I misread the dates at first as well, oops!). Still, there are many interesting things in the old newspapers. If you ever have the chance, look over some of the old newspapers you may have lying around. Not only is there bound to be some interesting stories, but also just the advertisements can hold some value and entertainment. I saw one while I was looking about a quote "swaggerest" (the ad actually uses this made-up word) villain. That, however, is a story for a different day.
First, I must apologize for the lateness of this blog post. We were having a few hiccups with our website yesterday, but everything is fixed now. Please enjoy the rest of the post!
There are many cool and interesting things here at Hometown Heritage, ranging from pictures to clothes, and even to weapons. All of these things are different in their own unique way, but they also share something: their home (see slide show below this post!)
Here on the lower level of the Town Craft Building, all of our items are stored in our vault, and it is quite the interesting vault. “Why is it interesting?” you may be asking yourself. Well, I will tell you! To start, our vault is very old. It was originally the vault of the First National Bank (as you can see from the words above the door), and was made by Diebold Safe and Lock Company. According to what I have researched, this dates the vault back to sometime between 1876 and 1943. Since First National Bank was first established around 1913, that means this vault is probably at least one hundred years old! Now most of you have probably not heard of Diebold Safe and Lock Company. This is because they changed their name in 1943 to Diebold, Incorporated. Currently, people know them more for their production of ATMs.
Anyway, back to our vault. As you can see in the pictures, the vault has seen a lot of use. It is worn, and even missing a few screw caps on the hinges. Fortunately, it has not rusted, and still opens and closes perfectly fine (even if it is quite heavy). It even has a double set of doors, which I only found out recently. They are behind the main vault door, and have bars that extend up and down to keep them in place if the vault needs to be completely sealed. Of course, this brings me to the one rule that we have with our vault: always bring your phone in with you! Even though there are not many people down here, we always make sure to bring our phone with us into the vault, since it is impossible to open the vault from the inside.
The inside of the vault is actually not as interesting as the outside is. Mostly it is just a bunch of shelves, tightly packed together, with tons of boxes on them. In fact, it is almost impossible to retrieve things from the shelves efficiently. There is even a pole in the middle of where a row is! It really needs a good reorganization, but that will be a project for a different day.
Aside from all of this, there is one curious thing about our vault. On the front, it has the name of Diebold, but it also has another name lower on the door. This part reads “David Blair, AG’T., Chicago, Ill.” For all my research, I am unable to find out what this means or who David Blair is. I do not think there is documentation about the vault that remains either, so this will remain a mystery. However, if any of you want to come and see our vault for yourself, we always welcome visitors, so please stop by!
Hello once again readers!
Today it is time for another mystery object. This object is a little different from the other mystery objects I have talked about before, however. I have actually done some research trying to figure out what today’s object is, but came up rather empty handed, with more questions than answers. Therefore, without further ado, here is today’s object: a metal rod with a handle!
As you can see in the photo, the object in question is just a long, metal rod with a handle. There is slight chipping at the end, presumably from frequent use. The question, however, it what this rod was used for. According to our system, this object is a “butter tool”, and that James E. Hart donated it, but there is not any more information. Specifically, it does not indicate how on Earth someone would use this rod in association with butter. It is slightly curved, so perhaps it was used to scrape butter off the inside of a butter churn?
Upon further inspection of the rod, one detail could help to reveal what this object really is. On the inside of the curve, near the handle, someone inscribed the word “Burrell”. When I found this, I did some digging on the internet to see what I could find about “Burrell”. According to what I could find, D. H. Burrell was an inventor who invented many contraptions that people used in the dairy industry. Unfortunately, my research did not find many details about his actual inventions. This is why I ended up with more questions than answers. Is this metal rod part of a larger machine? Should someone use the rod by itself? Is it actually even something that D. H. Burrell created, or is the “Burrell” inscription just a red herring? If any of you have any idea, please tell us! It will help me get some sleep at night finally knowing what the purpose of this strange rod is.
I believe an answer could be readily available here in Perry, since there are quite a few dairy farms around. For instance, Picket Fence Creamery is nearby, and they clearly would have some knowledge about “butter tools”. If any of you readers have your interests truly piqued by this metal rod, perhaps Picket Fence Creamery, or any dairy farmer around town for that matter, could shed some light on the matter!
Before I leave you today, there is one final thing to mention. The answer to the game we played last week! A few of you did guess, and they were good guesses! However, the correct answer is nothing. HPI Box 40 has nothing at all inside of it! This is why I do not see the need to keep this item in our collection.