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 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!