Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage blog!
This week is a big week in Perry, with many events going on. Primarily, this week is Homecoming, and in addition, we will see the return of the Homecoming Parade! It has been awhile since the last parade (I was still in High School when the parade was cancelled), so in honor of the return of the parade we are going to look at what the homecoming parade was like in years past!
First, we have a picture of a float from the 1960 Homecoming Parade. As you can see, that year Perry was facing Greenfield. The freshman of that year designed the float, and it appears to indicate that Perry is going to put Greenfield in the ground. The grave even has a sign that reads “defeat” sticking out of it. Unfortunately, our records do not show if we won this game or not. I hope that we did, or this float would have been digging our own grave!
Our next photo is also from around 1960. This one depicts a float with a sign that reads “Let’s Swing Homecoming”. Personally, I am unsure what that means; perhaps it is hoping that Perry wins the game? Aside from that, it appears that the students on board went to a lot of work to make this float. Our collection says that the students are Helen Lavell, Kenneth Huitt, Jim Kanealy, Pat Pritchard, and Don Hase. I say that they went to a lot of work because as you can see, it looks like they have gotten a full swing set onto the float! It is not possible to tell if it is made of wood or metal, but either way it must have been a pain to get onto the float, especially after wrapping it in what looks like ribbon or streamers.
Our final picture for today is a photo of the Homecoming Parade in 1977. This one shows Vicki Pies riding in a car during the parade. Unlike the others, I choose this photo more for the background than for the subject of the picture. First, you can notice all of the older cars that are parked outside a jewelry store that no longer exists. Next, you can see the old-fashioned yellow streetlight on the corner! Really, this photo is an indication of how much times have changed. I hope that we get some photos of this year’s parade in our collection, so that future generations can compare it to their parades!
Finally, I want to invite all of you to tomorrow’s Gary Ernest Smith Event, Art Tour Odd # Thursday #3. This time Rachel Schwaller, an Assistant Professor of Art & Design at Grandview College in Des Moines, will be in Perry. Rachel is an artist who uses Video and Performance in her work. She will be sharing her story, and relating it to creating art in Iowa. The event starts at 4:30 P.M. in the Hotel Pattee, and I encourage all of you to attend!
Hello and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog readers!
I wanted to take this time to remind you that tomorrow Pam Jenkins and Gary Ernest Smith will be in Perry, Iowa at the Hotel Pattee! Pam Jenkins will be giving a presentation relating the work of Gary Ernest Smith to small town life at 6:30 P.M. This presentation will also include some pictures from our collection, so it is a good chance to catch a glimpse of what we have here at Hometown Heritage. Afterwards, at 7:30 P.M., Gary Ernest Smith will be leading an Art Walk of the art on display. This is the perfect chance to ask the artist himself any burning questions that you had!
The next night, Friday, September 23, Gary Ernest Smith will be in Ames at the Brunnier Art Museum, where a reception will be held at 7:00 P.M. For those interested in going, Hometown Heritage has chartered a bus to take people to Ames and back. The bus will leave Perry at 5:30 P.M. that day from the Hotel Pattee, and will leave Ames at 8:30 P.M. for arrival in Perry around 9:30 P.M. There will be soft drink refreshment or water on-board, and local artist Betsy Peterson will be talking about the art of Gary Ernest Smith on the way up. In Ames, the event will feature the Landscapes of Gary Ernest Smith. Some of these paintings are as big as 100 inches across! This bus is FREE of charge! Limited seats are available on the bus however, so be at the Hotel Pattee early to make sure you get a seat!
We hope to see you at both events!
Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
I am happy to let you know that we have two great events happening next week in connection with the Gary Ernest Smith Exhibition! The first event is on September 22, here in Perry Iowa at the Hotel Pattee. Starting at 6:30 P.M., Pam Jenkins will be here giving a presentation. Pam Jenkins is a Research Professor of Sociology (Emerita) at the University of New Orleans, Permanent Trustee of Hometown Heritage, and Perry native. Her presentation, titled “Growing Up in a Small Town and the Art of Gary Ernest Smith” relates the art you see on display here in Perry to life in small town Iowa. It even uses images from our very own collection, so this is a good chance to get a small taste of what we have here at Hometown Heritage!
After Pam Jenkin’s lecture, there will be an Art Walk and Talk starting at 7:30 P.M. We are excited to tell you that none other than Gary Ernest Smith himself will lead this Art Walk! This is a great chance to come and hear the artist himself tell you about his paintings, experiences, and more. We hope to see you there!
The next day, September 23, Gary Ernest Smith will be going to Ames to the other half of the Exhibition. The Brunnier Art Museum will be hosting an Artist Reception at 7:00 P.M. that night. Here you can see the landscapes of Gary Ernest Smith. Some of the landscapes are bigger than 100 inches, so it is not something to miss! If you wish to attend, Hometown Heritage has chartered a bus to pick people up here in Perry and take them to Ames at 5:30 P.M. The bus will then return at 8:30 P.M. for arrival in Perry at 9:30 P.M. Light drink refreshments will be available on-board. If you wish to take the bus, please reserve a seat by emailing email@example.com your name and phone number while there are still seats available!
We hope to see many of you at these events next week!
Hello and Welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
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!
Hello and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog readers!
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!
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!
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!