The Old School
Hello and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage blog!
Today I found something interesting about Perry that many of you might not know. If you grew up in Perry, or raised kids here, you know that Perry has many different buildings used as schools. There is the Elementary School near the Recreation Center, St. Pat’s School, and the connected Middle School and High School. However, did you know that there used to be another school building? Before you say something like “of course I did, they only demolished it recently silly”, the old High School that they recently demolished and are turning the grounds into a nursing home is not the school I am referencing. There is actually a second school in Perry that no longer exists!
This second school was demolished in February 1967, so it makes sense that many of you probably do not even know that it existed. Called the “Willard School”, it was built in 1900 at the Northeast corner of Seventh and Lucinda. It was primarily a school for young children, as it did not go past sixth grade. The Willard School was used for school purposes until 1940, when it was then converted to a youth recreation center due to disrepair until its demolishing 27 years later. Unfortunately, this is as far as the story goes in our catalogue. Why was an active school allowed to fall into disrepair? Why did Perry need so many school buildings? Who was Willard and why did he have his own school? These are just some of the questions that plague the mind concerning this school. We do not even know why it was eventually demolished, although it can be assumed that it was due to a continuing state of disrepair. If any of you readers have any more information on the Willard School, we would love to hear it! Adding new information to our records is always welcome and ensures future generations will be able to learn about the town they live in, so do not be afraid to leave a comment with your thoughts or extra facts!
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!
The Old 4th Traditions
Good afternoon Readers!
Summer is in full swing, and July 4th is quickly approaching. Because of this, I thought that today we would look at what the holiday was like in Perry in years past!
For instance, the parade seems like it used to be much more ornate than what we have now. As you may know, now the parade is mostly a collection of floats, with a people walking around handing out candy to the kids. However, did you know that the Perry High School Marching Band used to participate in the parade? As you can see in the picture, the parade in 1969 included the old Perry High Band. This is quite a bit different then what it is like today. For starters, the uniforms are a lot different: simple black and white instead of the more elaborate blue and white uniforms of today. In addition, the band does not march in the parade anymore. As far as I know, they do not even start practicing until for marching band until August!
Going back another ten years, we discover another event that is missing from today’s 4th of July celebrations. In the second picture, you can see a group of girls who are in a room in the Hotel Pattee. These girls are the candidates, according to our records, for a 4th of July queen! It seems that the residents of Perry used to vote for a queen for the 4th and, I am assuming, a king as well. The girls in this photo are, starting from the left, Judy Hastie, Sheri Mullen, Phyllis Hall, Joyce Neal, and Bonnie Crouch. This fun tradition does not seem to be active anymore, and it makes me wonder why. Did the people of Perry simply stop choosing candidates? Or was the tradition ended for a specific reason? Readers, do you know what happened to this tradition? If you do, please tell us in the comments below!
In fact, if you have any memories of some lost 4th of July tradition, please share them with us, too, and have a good 4th of July weekend!