The Iowa Historian, July-August 2009

SHSI Calendar

July 24, 31: Friday Fest, State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Hands-on crafts, puzzles, games, Legos, Lincoln Logs, blocks and story books in the Heritage Classrooms. Free.

July 25: “Sgt. Charles Floyd: Who Was or Wasn’t He, and His Untimely Death,” Western Historic Trails Center, 3434 Richard Downing Ave., Council Bluffs, 10:30 a.m. See related story.

Aug. 7: Blues Before Sunset, State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Outdoor blues concert featuring music by the El Dorados. Beverages, food for sale. Series continues Sept. 4 with the Bob Pace Band featuring Steve George. Free.

Aug. 19: “History for Lunch: Presentation on the Sketches of 1849 Made by William Williams” by Alan Nelson, Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, 12 p.m. Alan Nelson chronicles the 1849 voyage of William Williams through Williams’ sketches along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Fort Snelling, Minn.


White Catfish Camp July 25-26

Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs will host its annual Lewis & Clark White Catfish Camp Living History Weekend July 25-26.

The event commemorates the Corps of Discovery explorers who made camp near Council Bluffs during their historic journey up the Missouri River in 1804. They stopped here for five days to repair equipment and make astronomical observations. On July 24, 1804, one of the explorers, Silas Goodrich, caught an albino catfish, giving the camp its name.

The weekend will feature educational opportunities, children’s activities, Corps of Discovery re-enactors. All events are free and open to the public. Maid-rites (a historic Iowa food) will be available for sale both days. Call Western Historic Trails Center at (712) 366-4900 for schedule details.

Also, the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation will hold its regional meeting during White Catfish weekend. The Foundation is comprised of 36 chapters that provide national leadership to preserve the Lewis and Clark Trail and its stories. The keynote speaker will be Bud Clark, direct descendent of William Clark; Dale Clark and his Newfoundland dog; a Tribal Nation discussion panel with Matt Sitting Bear Jones and Bat Shunatona; a book signing by Kira Gale, co-author of “The Death of Meriwether Lewis: A Historic Crime Scene Investigation” and more.

All events, except the members’ meeting, will be open to the public, including a catered picnic Saturday evening. RSVP by July 18 for the picnic (tickets are $10) or find more information at


SOS Gant Applications Due July 27

The deadline for non-profit arts, history and cultural organizations to submit applications for the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs’ Small Operating Support grants is July 27, 2009.

SOS grants are targeted to arts, history and cultural organizations. Applicants may request up to five percent of their annual budget, or a maximum of $5,000. This round of SOS grants funding must be used Sept. 1, 2009-June 30, 2010.

SOS applications must be in the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs office by 4:30 p.m.  July 27, 2009. DCA is at 600 E. Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Visit or contact Dawn Oropeza Martinez at 515-281-5773 for more information.

Examples for which SOS funds may be used include equipment purchases that will improve efficiency in the organization; the cost of membership drives; hiring a consultant or contracted employees; paying costs related to technology such as software purchases, staff training, web development; marketing and promotional expenses; or temporary relief of operating costs such as rent or utilities due to the costs of special programs.

SOS funds may not be used for capital expenses or for political lobbying activities, or for activities already receiving funds from or used as matching funds for another DCA grant program.


See the “Rarely Seen” Artifacts from the Historical Museum

Nearly 200 artifacts ranging from George Washington’s hair and Abraham Lincoln’s glasses to a Daniel Boone rifle and military uniforms, weapons and ammunition go on display next month in a new exhibit at the State Historical Museum.

“Rarely Seen: Cool Stuff from the Museum” is now open for an extended run at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines.

The State Historical Society of Iowa, which oversees the State Historical Museum, has been collecting the material remains of Iowa’s past since 1857. The collection of artifacts is the heart of the State Historical Museum and the basis of all its activities.

“Rarely Seen” showcases nearly 200 historical artifacts arranged in three large groupings: artifacts associated with famous people, places or events; common everyday artifacts of a utilitarian nature; and artifacts that are unique, pleasing or innovative.

The artifacts range from an iron lung to a lock of George Washington’s hair from fuel rods from the 1950s nuclear reactor at Iowa State University to shoe making tools brought to Iowa in the 1870s.

The State Historical Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sunday, noon-4:30 p.m. Closed Mondays and official state holidays.


Iowa Marks 50th Anniversary of Khrushchev Visit; “Rarely Seen” Exhibit Includes Khrushchev Burka

A statewide commemoration of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Iowa 50 years ago will take place at the end of August.

Events begin Aug. 26, 2009 with the arrival of national, state and Russian leaders. The delegation will tour Iowa State University’s Bio-Century Research Farm Aug. 27. That night, Drake University in Des Moines will host “Khrushchev in Iowa,” with featured speaker William Taubman, author of “Khrushchev: The Man and His Era.”

After tours of Pioneer Hi-Bred on Aug. 28, a “Khrushchev in Iowa” conference will be held at Hotel Fort Des Moines. World hunger, agricultural progress, productivity and sustainability and citizen diplomacy in U.S.-Russia relations will be covered. Sergei Khrushchev will be among the officials speaking at a public banquet that night.

It was Sept. 23, 1959, when Khrushchev fulfilled his promise to Elizabeth Garst, wife of hybrid corn promoter and entrepreneur Roswell “Bob” Garst, and visited their Coon Rapids farm. The visit helped open U.S. trade with the Soviet Union, resulting in huge exports of grain and equipment.

The State Historical Society has in its collection a burka given by Khrushchev to Garst during the visit. The burka will be on display as part of the “Rarely Seen: Cool Stuff from the Museum” exhibit which opens tomorrow, July 11, at the State Historical Museum. The burka is a white sheepskin cape with red satin lining that flares out from the shoulders.


Iowa Great Places Project Spotlight: Great Rivers Center

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque plans to convert the existing Diamond Jo portside building into a center that will have dynamic exhibits to tell the stories of America’s rivers.

The Great Rivers Center will be the newest addition to the Museum’s campus in Dubuque. Stemming from Dubuque’s Envision2010 campaign, the Center is one of 10 projects selected by the community to move forward by the year 2010.  The center will feature exhibits and information on the rivers of America and will serve as a research station on the Mississippi River for scientists and historians.

Among the new amenities in the Great Rivers Center will be three featured galleries: River Ways, Rivers to the Sea, and RiverWORKS.  These spaces will demonstrate the importance of rivers in history, illustrate the way in which rivers connect to other water bodies, and provide hands on activities for children and families to understand the importance of water in their daily lives.

The Museum & Aquarium, operated by the Dubuque County Historical Society, was integral in the successful proposal to make Dubuque an Iowa Great Place in 2007. This project will join the Museum & Aquarium with other organizations across the country so more people can benefit from the River Research Center and its efforts to educate the public about river conservation.

“We are happy to announce that one of the primary goals of the Great Rivers Center will be education about sustainable rivers, not only locally, but nationally,” said Dubuque County Historical Society Executive Director Jerry Enzler.

The Museum & Aquarium’s educational efforts will not only be shared with people in Dubuque, but also with visitors to the Smithsonian’s Ocean Hall exhibit through a network of 21 aquariums across the country, the Great River Road Network’s 62 museums, and the stewardship organizations of the Mississippi River to the Gulf Network.


SHSI’s 2010 Certified Local Government Grants Available

Draft applications are due Aug. 3, 2009 for review and comment by SHPO staff. Final grant applications must be post-marked by Aug. 31, 2009, or hand-delivered applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2009, in the SHPO office, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Grant recipients will be notified by December 2009.


Sgt. Charles Floyd: Who Was He?

Former Peterson-Harlan award winner and Lewis and Clark scholar Beverly Hinds of Sioux City will present “Sgt. Charles Floyd: Who Was or Wasn’t He, and His Untimely Death,” Saturday, July 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs. The event coincides with the annual White Catfish Camp Living History weekend.

One of the “9 Young Men From Kentucky” who joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition in Oct. of 1803, Floyd was the first American soldier to die west of the Mississippi and is buried on a bluff near what is now Sioux City. Time and genealogical studies have provided Hinds with more insight into this intriguing character, the only one to have died on the expedition.

His burial site has a compelling story of its own. Aside from his having to be unburied and reburied four times, Floyd’s monument was the first National Registered Landmark in the United States.

Hinds’ appearance is supported by Humanities Iowa, a private non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. A cultural resource since 1971, Humanities Iowa offers many cultural and historical programs to Iowa’s communities. The presentation is free and open to the public. Call (712) 366-4900 for more information.


DCA Nominates Volunteers for Annual Governor’s Awards

There is no question that contributions from volunteers greatly enhance our cities, our towns, our schools, and our state. The most recent “Volunteering in America” study shows that volunteers in Iowa collectively contribute 89.3 million hours of service and have an estimated economic impact of $1.7 billion annually.

Each year, regional Governor’s Volunteer Award presentation ceremonies are held across Iowa to recognize and thank hundreds of volunteers for the commitment, service, and time they donate to benefit others. Only people or groups who volunteer their time with a state or city government agency or an Iowa nonprofit organization are eligible to receive a Governor’s Volunteer Award.

They may be selected for an award in one of three categories: Individual; Group; or
Length of Service. And, for 2009, a special category was added to recognize disaster assistance and recovery volunteers. The following individuals were nominated by the Department of Cultural Affairs for their service. A ceremony recognizing the recipients and their contributions will be Monday, July 27, 2009 at 2 p.m. in the Southeast Polk High School auditorium, 8325 NE University Ave., Pleasant Hill.

Jacky Adams, Red Oak
Robin Anderson, Mason City
Oxana Bedore, Spencer
Connie Boyer, Fairfield
Al Harris-Fernandez, Sioux City
Linda Howard, Centerville
Joe Jennison, Mount Vernon
Doug Jones, Lamoni
Zachary Mannheimer, Des Moines
Rose Rohr, Anamosa
Jan Stoffel, Dubuque
Candy Streed, Waterloo
Kathy Svec, Ames
Sandi Yoder, West Des Moines
Gregory Franzwa, Tooele, Utah
Steve Miller, Des Moines
Carl Nollen, Runnells
Janene Parks, Ankeny
James Perry, Des Moines
Ben Ramirez, Des Moines
Dennis Trollope, Des Moines
Chuck Trullinger, Des Moines
David Tutje, Des Moines


Photos of WHTC Day Camp(s)

A selection of photos showing camp activities.


Annals Explores Minority Ethnic Group Activism in Iowa

The Summer 2009 issue of the Annals of Iowa features two articles about minority ethnic group activism in Iowa river towns.

In “From Barrio to ‘¡Boicoteo!’: The Emergence of Mexican American Activism in Davenport, 1917–1970,” Janet Weaver traces the emerging activism of a cadre of second-generation Mexican Americans in Davenport. Many of them grew up in the barrios of Holy City and Cook’s Point in the 1920s and 1930s. By the late 1960s, they were providing local leadership for Cesar Chavez’s grape boycott campaign and lending their support to the fiercely contested passage of Iowa’s first migrant worker legislation.

In “Race, Roads, and Right-of-Way: A Campaign to Block Highway Construction in Fort Madison, 1967–1976,” Kara Mollano analyzes the campaign led by minority residents of Fort Madison in the 1960s and 1970s to oppose a plan to rebuild U.S. High­way 61 that would have included rerouting the road through neighbor­hoods disproportion­ately inhabited by African Americans and Mexican Americans. The multiracial and multiethnic coalition succeeded in block­ing the highway plan while exposing racial, ethnic, and class divisions in Fort Madison.

The usual set of book reviews and notices includes reviews of the Shambaugh Award-winning biography of James B. Weaver and the new Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, along with reviews of books on Iowa’s census data over the past 150 years, state constitutions, the Effie Afton trial and Abraham Lincoln’s role in it, Northern Civil War prisoner of war camps, dissent during World War I, Herbert Hoover, the impact of the New Deal on Iowa culture, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, Sol Tax’s Fox Project on the Meskwaki Settlement, Iowa’s community colleges, and media treatment of the Amish.

To order a single copy of this issue of the Annals of Iowa, or to subscribe, call Deb Pedersen at (319) 335-3916 or e-mail and ask for the Summer 2009 issue of The Annals of Iowa.


Museum Factoid

In calendar year 2008 the State Historical Museum received and processed 1,388 objects in 87 accessions (donation, purchase, transfer of property) for an average of 18.12 objects per accession. It was an election year – 892 of those acquired objects are materials from presidential campaigns.


SSNHA Offers Grants for Interpretive Learning

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) is offering a new grant program for sites, communities and organizations in need of planning assistance to help identify how they can preserve and interpret America's agricultural and industrial stories. Specifically to help them identify their interpretive significance, story and/or themes related to agriculture.

Applications for the Interpretive Planning Grant Program are due by noon on Sept. 3, 2009. Eligible grant projects must be located in one of the 37 counties within the Heritage Area and provide a 1-1 match to the grant request.

Planning funds may be used for professional assistance, consultants, contractors, design fees and mileage for assistance. Funds may also be used to support research, thematic writing, identification of images, preliminary design and layout of an exhibit, interpretive sign, etc. 

For more information, the Interpretive Planning Grant Application is available under the Grant section at To discuss your proposal contact Candy Streed, Program & Partnership Director, at (319) 234-4567 or


Country School Preservation Conference Oct. 2-3

The 10th Annual Country School Preservation Conference will be Oct. 2-3, 2009, in Independence.

Activities throughout the two-day conference include discussion topics like “Country School Preservation in Norway” with Leidulf Mydland, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research; “Creating a Country School Curriculum and Generating Visitors” with Dale Williams, Reed School Director, Wisconsin Historical Society; Amish Schools Today with Mark Dewalt, Winthrop University, South Carolina; “Tourism and Implications for Country Schools with Carrie Koelker, Eastern Iowa Tourism Director and Candy Streed, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area and more.

Also included are tours of Summit School, a public/private Amish school and country school museum.

Registration is $30 and includes lunch Friday, museum tours and handouts. An additional $15 for Saturday tour, lunch and wine tasting.

For brochure and more information, visit


All-State Barn Tour September 19-20, 2009

Many newly restored barns, along with many from last year’s tour will be open to the public during the 9th Annual All-State Barn Tour, Saturday, September 19, and Sunday September 20, 2009.

This tour features over 100 restored barns all across Iowa that have received Iowa Barn Foundation matching grants. The owners of other featured barns have received an Award of Distinction from the Iowa Barn Foundation, which honors those barn owners who have restored their barns using their own money.

The barns on this free, self-guided tour will be open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. The Iowa Barn Foundation’s statewide tour is the first of its kind in the United States.

For more information about the tour, contact Roxanne Mehlisch, (641) 487-7690.