For our collection items of the week I have chosen two photographs of Story City musical groups directed by Milton D. Mussehl. Milt was born in Dubuque, IA. He graduated from Dubuque High School in 1938 and from the University of Dubuque in 1942 with a degree in music. Milt served in the US Navy during WWII where he played trumpet in the Navy band aboard the US Princeton Aircraft Carrier. After the Navy, Milt taught instrumental music at Greene and Allison, IA before coming to Story City in 1948. Milt taught in Story City until 1960. While teaching in Story City, his students earned many 1st division awards at various state contests and were featured at the Iowa Bandmasters
Convention in 1959. Milt was active in the community as a member of Story City Lions Club, Story City American Legion, director of the Story City Men’s Chorus, past president of the Roland-Story School Board, and past president of the executive committee of the Iowa High School Music Association. Milt passed away this past December.
Milt’s daughters, Jean and Kris, have donated memorabilia from their dad’s career in music to the Story City Historical Society. An exhibit has been developed and includes his band director’s uniform, batons, a 1959 concert band photo, a Story City Men’s Chorus photo, and a variety of other items. This exhibit is currently on display at the Carriage House Museum located at 619 Grand Ave.
As a memorial to her father, Jean had several reproduction photos printed of the 1959 Story City High School Concert Band and of the Story City Men’s Chorus. Jean asks that any musicians who are in these photos or who are family members of these individuals, to please visit the Story City Historical Society located at 619 Grand Ave to pick up a copy.
Our collection item this week is a program from the grand opening of Fairview Park in 1891. The park is 123 years old this year. As you can see from the program above, the grand opening celebration was a 3 day affair. Each day started out with forming a procession the paraded to the park. A variety of musical entertainment was provided, there was a baseball game each day, and even a lecture by W.M. Beardshear, President of Iowa Agricultural College.
Local businessmen T.T. Henryson, M.O. Marvick, and L.J. Tjernagel were named to a committee to buy the land for the park from Osmund Henryson. With terms secured for the purchase it was up to the committee to raise funds.
"Our first 'stunt' was the sale of some goods that we had gathered from local merchants. Shelf-worn goods and goods that had been invoiced since the Civil War and somewhat out of date." - L.J. Tjernagel
The sale brought in a considerable amount of money. Voting on who was the most popular lady in the community was also in style at that time. Three candidates were voted on. Each vote cast cost 5 cents.
The naming of the park was also decided by casting votes that cost 5 cents each. The three names voted on were Henderson Park, Scandia Park, and Fairview Park. Originally the name Scandia had won by a decent margin. However, the name did not set well with those who had voted for Henderson or Fairview, so the park committee agreed to have a second vote. Many of the old-time politicians in town lobbied for the name of Fairview. When it came time for the second vote, it again cost 5 cents to cast a vote. After the votes were tallied, it was found that the name of Fairview was on every ticket. It was unanimous, the park was named Fairview Park.
-This information was gathered from an article by L.J Tjernagel in the May 21, 1931 issue of the Story City Herald.
In honor of the Iowa State Fair opening this week, our collection item is a 1931 Tri County Fair pennant. The Tri County Fair was held in the fall in Story City for several years around 1930. This pennant is part of our Owl Country Club collection. In reading the club minutes from Sept. 25, 1931, a motion was made and carried that the "committee carry on the plans for putting on a stunt at the Tri County Fair."
The club began meeting on February 6, 1919. From the Owl Country Club Constitution and By-laws: "The object of the Owl Country Club was to assist and encourage useful education among young people respecting life on the farm and in the home; to develop the agricultural resources of the community by means of club meetings; to teach by lectures, demonstrations and other means, better methods in general farming, stock raising, dairying, fruit culture and other branches of agricultural industry, including domestic science and home economics; to interest young people in country life; and in general to promote the moral intellectual, social and material welfare of the community."
Please share any memories you may have about the Owl Country Club in the comments.