The Iowa Historian


State Historical Building

Tunes on the Terrace sponsored by Café Baratta’s and the Iowa Arts Council
Every Friday through June 28
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in Café Baratta’s:
May 31: The High Crest
June 7: David Zollo
June 14: Chad Elliott
June 21: The High Crest
June 28: Paige Harpin

June 27: Premiere of the Documentary Film “The Farm Crisis,” reception at 6 p.m.; film at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. See related story.

Centennial Building, Iowa City
June 22: “Iowa Ice Cream Memories” with Kristina Huff. Offer your memories and view vintage ice cream items and molds while enjoying free Heyn’s Ice Cream. Call (319) 335-3911 for more information.


Western Historic Trails Center

Tax Credit Workshop June 13 in Le Mars
The State Historic Preservation Office, in partnership with the Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission, the Le Mars Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Le Mars Main Street will hold a Historic Preservation Workshop in June.

The workshop, “State Historic Tax Credit Program,” will be Thursday, June 13, from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Primebank, 37 1st Ave., NW, Le Mars. Registration is $10 and must be received by June 5. Contact Kathy Gourley, or (515) 281-3989.

Iowa provides a state income tax credit for the sensitive rehabilitation of historic buildings. It ensures character-defining features and spaces of buildings are retained and helps revitalize surrounding neighborhoods. Historic properties of all shapes and sizes can benefit from this program. Workshop participants will learn how to complete a state historic tax credit application.


Buy “Profiles of Valor” at State Historical Library
A book about Iowa’s 57 Civil War Medal of Honor recipients is available for purchase at the State Historical Library in Des Moines and Iowa City.

Authored by Sen. Dennis Black of Lynnville, “Profiles of Valor: Iowa’s Medal of Honor Recipients of the Civil War” documents the 57 Iowa Civil War soldiers who received the Medal of Honor. The book is available at the State Historical Library, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines, and at the Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue in Iowa City. Softbound is $29.95 and hardcover is $44.95. Shipping is available for an additional fee.

Authorized in 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln, the Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest military award – is given for distinguished gallantry during hostile action. It is presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress. Fewer than 3,500 soldiers have received the award, including 109 Iowans.

With 480 pages illustrated by more than 90 photographs, “Profiles of Valor” includes detailed biographical information about Iowa’s Civil War Medal of Honor recipients, medals and other Civil War-related scenes, including a history of events before, during and after the Civil War in Iowa.

Call 515-281-6200 (Des Moines) or 319-335-3916 (Iowa City) to order or for more information. Proceeds benefit the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Farm Crisis Documentary to Premiere at State Historical Museum
“The Farm Crisis,” a new documentary produced by Iowa Public Television, will premiere at the State Historical Museum in June.

The film will be shown Thursday, June 27, 2013, with a reception at 6 p.m. prior to the screening at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Produced by Iowa Public Television, “The Farm Crisis” examines the causes of the farm crisis of the 1980s, explores the difficulties farm families and rural communities faced, and considers the social and economic impacts of this bleak period in our recent past. The crisis caused a major recession in Iowa, leaving families in poverty not seen since the Depression.  The combination of low crop prices and low farm incomes led to bankruptcy, family break-ups and an increased rate of farmer suicides.

The event is sponsored by Iowa Public Television, the Iowa History Center at Simpson College and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is made possible in part through the support of the James W. Hubbell, Jr., and Helen H. Hubbell Foundation.

70 Students Earn Trip to National History Day Finals
Thirty-two junior division participants and 38 senior division participants will hit the road in June on their way to the National History Day Finals at the University of Maryland.

The group of 70 Iowa students will compete for scholarships and cash prizes against nearly 2,500 students from the United States, Guam, America Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and Shanghai, China.

National History Day is an academic-enrichment program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people and events. The year-long academic adventure fosters students’ enthusiasm for learning and encourages them to use primary, secondary, community and statewide resources on a subject of their choice related to an annual theme. The theme for 2013 is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.

Statewide Events in June Commemorate Civil War Sesquicentennial
The following upcoming events have been endorsed by the Iowa Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee:

“Icaria, Adams County and the Civil War”
June 1, French Icarian Village, Corning
Whether they were soldiers on the battlefield, supported the troops from the home front, or defended their state’s southern border, Iowans played an important role in the Civil War. The Icaria and Adams County men and their families shared in that sacrifice. This family oriented event will include a military encampment, recruiting scenarios, musket and cannon demonstrations, and a skirmish, storytelling, children’s games, a ladies tea, a presentation from President Abraham Lincoln, heritage craft demonstrations, and exhibits.

A Civil War Experience
June 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Bonaparte
Established to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the focus is to educate and enlighten families on the era and remember those who served. Bonaparte Main Street will sponsor a horse drawn wagon to provide transportation around Bonaparte and through the Bonaparte Cemetery and Krabill’s Kritters petting zoo in Bonaparte’s Historic Riverfront Park. Re-enactors will be camped along the river to offer an insight to conditions and weapons while Nauvoo on the Road will have demonstrations and games. Also: Bonaparte Historical Society museum open with displays, artifacts and more 9 a.m.-noon; Bonaparte Pottery will offer tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; whiskers growing contest at 1 p.m. and more.

Story County Civil War Sesquicentennial Observance
June 14, Noon
Story Co. Administrative Building, 900 Sixth St., Nevada
Rededication of the Confederate 3" Parrott Rifle and the commemorative tablet dedicated June 14, 1930 by the Women's Relief Corps. The event will honor the 550 Civil War Veterans who are buried in Story County. Lieutenant Colonel Todd M. Jacobus of the Iowa Guard will speak, members of the Ames Children's Choir will lead the national anthem, and President Lincoln will honor us with a recitation of his Gettysburg Address. For more information, call (515) 460-8304; or email

“Iowa and the Civil War: Nothing But Victory” Exhibition
State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines
Discover the stories of Iowa and those who served in America's bloodiest conflict. With more than 300 authentic artifacts and documents, this 10,000 square-foot exhibition recounts the first-hand experiences of Iowans at war and the communities that supported them. See the historic battle flags Iowa troops carried into battle and the actual weaponry – cannons, guns and swords – they used while fighting in some of the most important events and turning points of the Civil War.

“Larry the Cable Guy” Visits American Gothic House
The History Channel’s “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy” made a stop earlier this month at the American Gothic House in Eldon.

The episode premiered May 15 (“Larry vs. the Killer Bees” season 3, episode 1), and it’s also to view available online at

In the episode, Larry is greeted by the current resident of the American Gothic House and celebrity pie maker Beth Howard, who is gearing up for another summer selling pies to hungry tourists at her Pitchfork Pie Stand and teaching pie-making classes. Read more about Beth at

Montauk Questers Honor Longtime Member
A break in the rain last week gave the Montauk Chapter of Questers, International, a chance to get out in the dirt at Montauk in Clermont. But this time, it was for more than just planting flowers.

The Questers gathered at Montauk May 21 to plant flowers and a rose in the rose garden as a memorial for longtime member Peggy Strong. Strong, of Elgin, died Aug. 31, 2012, at the age of 80. She was active in many community groups in addition to the Questers.

The Montauk Questers are regularly involved with events and fundraising at Montauk. Most recently, they secured a grant and led fundraising efforts to help restore the 1915 Mason and Hamlin grand piano.

Pictured: On the porch: Charlene and Richard Palucci
Front to back: Pat Bowden, Beverly Schrandt, Marilyn Curnow, and Sandy Deering
From left to right....
Beverly Schrandt, Diane Reisweber, Richard Palucci, Charlene Palucci, Pat Bowden, Marva Eck, Mary Strong, Delores Everett, Sara Lopez, Lois Dummermuth, Marilyn Curnow, and Sand Deering.

Read The Goldfinch Online
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, all issues of the State Historical Society’s discontinued children’s magazine, The Goldfinch, are now digitized and available online at SHSI published the magazine from 1975-2000 for ages 8-13.

Each issue focused on a theme (ranging from immigrants to diaries to Iowa's Kid Heroes), and included articles, games, photos and fiction.

NPS Releases Report on 35 Years of Federal Tax Incentives for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (IMAGE/S)
The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program has generated over $66 billion in private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings since 1977. Fiscal Year 2012 marked the 35th anniversary of the first certified rehabilitation project under this highly successful program. A new report from the National Park Service features statistics, case studies and other information on the program over the last 35 years, including two Iowa projects.

The Roshek Building in Dubuque is named an outstanding example of the economic impact of historic tax credits. Over $45 million was invested in rehabilitation of the 260,000 square-foot building, which now leases to restaurants and retail stores, as well as an IBM office with 1,000 new employees.

The Midwestern flood recovery since 2008 is also highlighted in the report, specifically the Bohemian Commercial Historic District in downtown Cedar Rapids. Two projects there – C.S.P.S. Hall ($7 million renovation completed in 2011) and Hose Station No. 4 (now a residence and workspace for visiting artists) – are cited as examples of successful use of historic tax credits.

Read the full report “Federal Tax Incentives for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings

Iowa Inventor Hall of Fame: Arthur A. Collins
While a select few may have realized his potential at the time, the young Arthur Collins (1909-1987) appeared to be no different from the other boys who grew up in his hometown of Cedar Rapids.

But at the early age of 14, Collins obtained his amateur radio license from the Federal Radio Commission (now the FCC). Though his first attempts at making receivers were rudimentary, Collins’ equipment proved to be so well made that the 16-year-old was able to establish a communications link with Navy commander Richard E. Berd during his exploration of Greenland in 1925 – a feat that the U.S. Navy struggled to accomplish.

It was his entry into the world of building radio transmitters, and by 1932, ads for his products appeared in the radio enthusiast magazine Radio Age and the Collins Radio company was born. By the end of the 1930s, the company added production of commercial broadcast radio equipment and, finally, began working on military contracts in the 1940s.

In 1952, in cooperation with the National Bureau of Standards, Collins sent the first long-distance message that utilized the moon as a reflector. Four years later, Time magazine reported that military planes traveling over the North and South Pole were able to communicate using Collins Radio equipment. And in the 1960s, the company supplied communications equipment used for the Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury space programs. The government continued to order Collins Radio equipment en masse for more than 20 years. Collins holds 20 U.S. patents to various communications-related devices.

In 1971, the Collins Radio merged with Rockwell International Corp., with Collins serving as president and chair of the board. Today, 60 Rockwell Collins locations in 27 countries produce aircraft electronics for airlines around the world. According to the company, nearly 70 percent of all U.S. and allied military airborne communication uses its electronics.

*This article edited from “Arthur A. Collins: A Hero Among Hams,” by Christine Hintze in a 2006 issue of Electronic Design.

Preservation Wins! Clinton’s St. Irenaeus Church Windows Undergo Restoration
Once in danger of demolition, the 1871 St. Irenaeus Church in Clinton was too precious for the Clinton County Historical Society to see hauled off to a landfill. In 2009, the battle to save the building was on. In 2010, the CCHS took over rehabilitation and repair efforts of the church and had it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now, CCHS is rehabilitating the towering stained-glass windows that serve as the eyes to the soul of this church.

The windows were in a very advanced stage of decomposition, almost to the point of being dangerous, according to David Gannett, a consultant who has done historic restorations for more than 26 years. Over the last year, the CCHS has worked to raise the $14,000 needed to restore the windows to museum-quality standards using techniques from the era in which the church was constructed, but with new materials.

Since 2010, the CCHS has completed a number of improvements to the building, including adding bathrooms and removing mold and old equipment from the basement. The CCHS plans to turn the church into a cultural center for community events.

See KWQC story of the stained glass window restoration

Photo Note
Polk County Conservation Officer Lloyd Huff showing a wildflower (daisy fleebane) to a group of children at Lake Ahquabi State Park. Iowa. June 1960. Photographer: John Houlette. Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines