Baseball season has just wrapped up with the Washington Nationals beating the Houston Astros to win their first World Series title ever. It reminds me of a baseball game played here in Perry back in 1922.
In October of 1922, Babe Ruth and a less popular but still very successful player in his own right, Bob Meusel, came to town to play an exhibition game. There was a lot of hype and excitement, as you can imagine, leading up to the event. The Perry branch of the American Legion had organized the event and hoped to make a tidy sum of cash off of ticket sales. Unfortunately, the day ended up being cold and dreary, and even though the rain mostly stopped an hour or so before the game began, the attendance was much lower than hoped. Ruth and Meusel ended up taking most of the profits home with them. I guess that’s what happens when you play a baseball game on Friday the 13th.
The game was against Pella, and Meusel played for them while Ruth played for Perry. Meusel hit a homerun and Babe hit a couple of triples. You’d think “The Sultan of Swat” could have managed at least one homer, but apparently the outfield wasn’t enclosed by a fence, which enabled the outfielder to get to the ball and throw it back in before the lumbering Ruth could get past third base.
I hadn’t realized until recently that the Ku Klux Klan was very active in Perry around that same time. I also didn’t know that the KKK was extremely anti-Catholic. Babe Ruth was Catholic and is said to have even visited St. Patrick’s School while in town. You would think given the fact that, according to a The Perry News article, a KKK grand master lived in town, there would have been protests and maybe even a cross burning. In reality, Babe Ruth coming to town was such a big deal that KKK members decided to forgo their prejudice for the day and instead sat in the stands and cheered for him and the hometeam along with everyone else. I guess that’s what happens when you play a baseball game in Perry. God bless America.
Hello Readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
Today is a short post, as we have been busy all day moving our office across the street! That's right, Hometown Heritage is now located in the Carnegie Library. We will have the same hours as we did in our old office, but now if you visit us you can also enjoy the beautiful Carnegie Library. In addition to all the services we already provide, we will also be overseeing a new Genealogy station that has been installed in the Carnegie. If you wish to contact us to get more information, you can swing by the Carnegie or call us at our new number, 515-465-7713. We hope to see you at the Library!
Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
I am excited to tell you that this week is our last event! Tomorrow night, starting at 4:30 P.M. in the Hotel Pattee lobby in Perry, Iowa, is the last Art Tour Odd # Thursday. As this is the last Art Tour, this is also your last chance to see the art on display in the Hotel Pattee, Town Craft Building, and Security Savings Bank. Soon the art in these places will be returning to their original locations and owners. Although you will still be able to see the art that is from the Hotel Pattee, many pieces will be returning to California and Minneapolis. Come and see these works before they are gone! In addition, the pieces in Ames will all also be returning to their original locations as well. If you have not gone to see the landscapes of Gary Ernest Smith, make sure you do soon! Finally, this Art Tour Odd # Thursday will be special, as a Perry Area themed gift basket will be given out to one lucky winner.
Again, this event is tomorrow, Thursday December 29, at 4:30 P.M. in the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa. We hope to see you there, and have a happy New Year readers!
Tomorrow is our next event, Art Tour Odd # Thursday with host Robert Spellman! Robert Spellman is an abstract painter from Des Moines, Iowa. He is represented by Modern Arts Midtown Omaha, Nebraska and by Moberg Chicago. Some of you may remember him as the host of one of our previous events, the Adult Painting Intensive. This time, he will be at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa on December 15 from 4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M, where he will be talking about his art and the art of Gary Ernest Smith. As with other Art Tour Odd # Thursdays, we will be near the fireplace in the Hotel Pattee. It is going to be cold out, so why not come and relax by said fireplace in the cozy Hotel Pattee on Thursday night and enjoy the art of Robert Spellman and Gary Ernest Smith? The event is free and open to the public, and you can come at any point during the evening. Betsy Peterson will also be there with her Art Cart. If you have not had used Betsy's Art Cart, this is your last chance! The cart holds various painting supplies, which allow you to try your hand at painting in a similar style to Gary Ernest Smith. We highly encourage you to come!
Hello Readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
Yesterday, America chose who was going to be its 45 president. The candidates campaigned hard all across America, but they both spent a fair amount of time in Iowa. This trend does not appear to be new, either. Presidents have been making stops in not only Iowa, but also small towns such as Perry for a long time! Today I thought I would share with you some of the Presidential visits I found in our collection.
This Presidential visit took place in 1948. Some of you may be able to remember that during that time, the President was Harry Truman. Although the pictures we have, such as the one you see here, are of him visiting Dexter and not Perry, Perry still played a big part: the Perry High School band was invited to play at his speech! Our records do not show what President Truman spoke about, or why the band was invited to play, but it must have been quite an honor to play for the President.
Other presidents also have some ties to Perry, Iowa. A presidential hopeful made many stops in Iowa, particularly in Perry, during his many candidacies. This man was William Jennings Bryan, who spoke twice in Perry, trying his best to win each presidential race (although he ultimately he lost three times). We have a picture of one of his speeches on display in the Chautauqua room in the Hotel. Perry native Robert Dean Harrison had some contact with the presidential office, as he served in the Secret Service protecting President Eisenhower. George Soumas also met President Eisenhower. Overall, it seems like even small towns like Perry, Iowa can have some big connections to the highest office in the land.
On a different note, I want to let you all know that Hometown Heritage will be open this weekend during Art on the Prairie! This time we will have Rick Stewart, the man behind the two most recent Wall of Witnesses reliefs, down in our office demonstrating some of his craft. If you are participating in the events, make sure to come down to the lower level of the Town/Craft Building to see a sculptors work in person!
Hello and welcome back to the blog readers!
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!
As some of you may know, here at Hometown Heritage we have hundreds of Oral Histories, somewhere around 600. Many of these histories contain stories of life in small town Iowa, but many of them also contain stories about the wars American have been through, from World War II to the present. Some of these stories describe how difficult it is during the war, what it was like to finally come home, and how some people felt the war had changed them. Some, however, contain humorous little stories about people finding a little happiness in dark times. Today, I’d like to share one with you all that I found to be rather entertaining!
This story comes to us from an interview with Dale Grow. It was during World War II, and Dale described what staying in the barracks was like. He said that “everything was blacked out. At night before it got dark you put the plywood up on all the windows and the lights had to be dimmed and all that kind of stuff you know and bed check Charlie would come over every night at nine o’clock see.” Charlie, according to Dale, was a plane that would check to see what they were doing. Clearly, the point was to make their barracks as undetectable as possible, so that the enemy could not find them in the dark. This is just a small portion of the story, however.
The real interesting part of Dale’s story is what would happen at night, and how one night Dale sneaked out to go see the cook. The cook’s name was Ben Eilers, and he was from Iowa. One night Dale went to visit him, and Ben was making apple pies. The surprising thing about these pies was that Ben was making them in square tins, so that they could be cut into squares for the commissioned officers. The rest of the story is as follows:
And he had just taken ‘em out of the oven. Oh my god Ben, we ain’t even had any fruit. And you had to get up in the morning and steal milk out of the carton. The milkman did bring some…we’d get a carton of milk but anyway…what have you had to eat? And I said well not…not too great. Not too great. And he went back in the cooler and come out with a steak and fixed me a steak to eat and fried some potatoes and stuff and I set there and ate it. When I got ready to leave to go back to the barracks of course it was dark...just black as all get out. But I could feel my way back to the barracks and he said now here…I don’t give a damn whether these officers have pie for dinner tomorrow or not. And he give me two tins of pie to take back. But there’s one stipulation…you gotta get the tins back here, tonight. Well when I got back to the barracks the blackout boards…had to take ‘em down so you could get a little air in so you could breath and I flipped the damn light switch on. The platoon sergeant was right at the door…oh he jumped up and give me hell. And I said sit down Bud, sit down. I got some pie here and he shut the lights off and we had a table in the middle of the barracks and I said nobody eats pie ‘til you get two people volunteers to take the pie tins back. Ben told me…we all liked Ben real good…Ben told me he had to have them back. Well he picked out two guys and they said they’d take ‘em back. That’s how we got our pie. Anyway he took ‘em back and we…we could say we had pie.
As you can see, Dale sneaked out to get his barracks some pie! Even the platoon sergeant was not as mad as you would think, having a soldier sneak off at night and get some pie that was not meant for them. It goes to show that sometimes it really is just the little things in life. Readers, do you have any good veteran’s stories, either of your own or someone else’s that you know? If you do, we would love to hear them. So, feel free to share them with us!