Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 | Iowa History Journal
Meredith Willson marched his way into immortality (with 76 trombones leading the way) with his hit play and movie “The Music Man”. Willson grew up in Mason City, Iowa, and used his hometown as the backdrop for the fictional town of River City, Iowa, in the play. The movie debuted in Mason City on June 9, 1962, and today the city has returned the favor with the Music Man Square in downtown Mason City. Willson was a major success in the entertainment world for decades and John Skipper, noted Mason City journalist, has written a riveting story for the current issue of Iowa History Journal. There are several powerful photographs that tell the story of Meredith Willson’s impact on his beloved hometown.
Readers will also be treated to feature stories on the fabulous Salisbury House, a castle in the heart of Des Moines; the restored Orpheum Theater in Marshalltown; the Kinze Manufacturing Company near Interstate 80, west of Williamsburg, and how Gene Baker of Davenport made his mark with the Chicago Cubs in the 1950s. Also included in this issue:
- Samuel Kirkwood became Iowa governor in 1860 just as Abraham Lincoln took over as President, and then was talked into serving again despite his own reluctance
- How the city of Mitchellville came by its name
- Review of a book called the Quiet Hero, about Kenny Ploen and his role in leading the Iowa Hawkeyes to their Rose Bowl victory in 1957
- The Iowa History Quiz
- Columns by our regulars – Arvid Huisman, John McNeer and Mike Chapman
…and much more!
3 – Publisher’s Perspective: What Does It Mean To Be a Native Iowan? by Mike Chapman
4 – Meredith Willson’s Music and Memory Still Playing Well in Mason City by John Skipper
8 – Gene Baker Left His Mark on Baseball by Don Doxsie
11 – Iowa Country Roads: Taking a Trip to Tranquility by Arvid Huisman
12 – Salisbury House: A Castle in the Heart of Iowa by John Busbee
17 – Samuel Kirkwood Was a Reluctant ‘Second’ Governor by Jerry Harrington
19 – Orpheum Theater Makes a Remarkable Comeback in Marshalltown by Nancy Adams
23 – The Way We Were: Back When School Was a Family Affair by John McNeer
24 – Kinze Manufacturing Company Makes Big Impact in Business by Pete Hussmann
27 – What’s In a Name: Mitchellville Took Its Name From a Beloved Leader
29 – Book Review: Hawkeye Hero Ken Ploen Scores Again by Mike Chapman
31 – Iowa History Quiz
36 – Letters to the Editor
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