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.
Welcome to the Hometown Heritage (the branded name used by Fullhart Carnegie Charitable Trust) blog! My name is Jared Bloom, and I am the new intern here at Hometown Heritage. Since this is my first appearance on the blog, it seemed appropriate that I should introduce myself to you all, and tell you a little about who I am, what my goals are, and why I am with Hometown Heritage.
Let me start by saying a little more about myself. I graduated from the Perry High School in 2011, and I spent most of my childhood here as well, so I have many fond memories of our little town. I can remember the summer days of Friday Fest, with its stands of local products, live music, inflatable rides and more. I can remember when Shopko was still Pamida, and when Alco was still open for business. Even though some of these things have changed, there are plenty of familiar faces and places here in Perry, so the town feels like home. After High School, I chose to attend Iowa State University, and found that I was extremely interested in history. After spending four years there, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in History. During my time in the History department, I found that I was quite interested in Classical history (which generally involves the ancient Greeks and Romans). As part of this, I learned a little bit of Latin (how to write and read it at least), and spent 3 weeks in Italy in May of 2014. I went to see all the major landmarks like the Colosseum, and we even had a trip down to Pompeii. I also saw many of the minor landmarks (a cat sanctuary called the Largo di Torre Argentina comes to mind), and even managed to miss a bus and get lost for a while. The trip was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Looking toward the future, as a recent college graduate many opportunities have come knocking on my door and questioned what I was doing or where I was going. Often the response was “I haven’t thought about it yet” or “I’ll just go with the flow”, but eventually I had to sit down and think more seriously about the idea. As I did, a loose plan started to form in my head. After talking with a few professors and professionals, I decided that I am interested in working in a Museum setting, either as something like a Curator, or in a collections/preservation sort of role. I discovered that for me, this meant getting some good experience in the right kind of setting, and then going to a graduate school for a degree in Museum Studies. This is the part where Hometown Heritage enters into my plans.
Hometown Heritage is providing me with a wonderful opportunity to earn the kind of experience that I am looking for, and much more. I get to work not only with the kind of software that many museums use, but I also have the opportunity to earn some event managing experience, as there are various events coming up in this area that I am excited to have a hand in. However, experience is not the only reason I am here at Hometown Heritage. There is also the fact that this town, although not the first place I have memories of, is still my hometown, and it holds a special place in my heart. There is also plenty of history here in this town, even if it is not Classical History. I am aware of Hometown Heritage having one of the most extensive collections in the central U.S. for a small town. Within this collection, all of the stories that are told, the old photos and documents, the vintage collectables and works of art, and even the loose odds and ends have within them a special piece of this town’s history that I believe is worth preserving.
Preserving Perry’s history is a multifaceted job. Whether it be using our museum software, upcoming events, or simply digging through the mountains of boxes in our vault and backroom, I look forward to discovering new and exciting stories and experiences that I can share, with the rest of you, on this blog.