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!