Monday, June 15, 2009

Winterset, Iowa

Just wanted to add a note to the blog addition below....Winterset, Iowa is probably one of the prettiest and neatest and quaint little towns I've ever visited. We drove around and every little home was impeccable and neat. A wonderful place to visit and see all the sights!

The "Duke"

Okay, all you John Wayne fans get ready......
Here are pics from John Wayne's birthplace, Winterset Iowa. There is a picture in the home of him and his dog, Duke. We were told that's how he became known as "Duke". When workers in a place he used to walk by saw him, they didn't know his name, only the dog's, so they starting calling the dog (which was large), big Duke and John Wayne little Duke. John Wayne liked that name, instead of Marion; so he adopted the name for his own. That's why he was called Duke most of his life.

JOHN WAYNE....the mere mention of his name produces images of courage and patriotism. His life story began in this small central Iowa town of Winterset. He was born Marion Robert Morrison, the son of Clyde and Mary Brown Morrison and weighed a whopping 13 lbs! His father was a pharmacist and John Wayne described his father as "the kindest, most patient man I ever knew." His mother, Mary, was of Irish descent, and the Duke said "she was a tiny, vivacious red-headed bundle of energy." John Wayne actually set out to be a lawyer, playing football in college....but we know life takes mysterious turns, and the rest is history, they say.....!

Here it is......the Duke's house! All four rooms! Step back in time and picture the life of a young midwestern boy and his family near the turn of the 20th century. It's been restored to reflect its appearance in 1907, the year of Duke's birth. I wasn't able to take any pictures in the house, but it is filled with memorabilia! So much to look at and absorb. The memorablia includes unique items as the eye-patch worn in the movie True Grit, a hat worn in Rio Lobo, and a prop suitcase used in the film Stagecoach. Hundreds of rare photographs of the Duke are on display as well as letters from Lucille Ball, Gene Autry, Maureen O'Hara, Jimmy Stewart, Kirk Douglas, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan and George Burns. There is also the bib-style shirt worn by him in North to Alaska, two pair of pants and a leather vest which were worn in various television appearances during the late 60's and 70's....the list just goes on and on. Awesome stuff!!

Dad and JoAnn in the back of his house. Since it's opening, the childhood home of John Wayne has been visited by many celebrities and dignitaries. (Now that includes us...hehehe) On November 3, 1984, President Ronald Reagan commented during his visit that the Birthplace of John Wayne is an inspiring tribute to a good friend and a great American.

In May of 2007, Ethan Wayne and more than 30 members of the John Wayne family journeyed to Winterset to join in the celebrations surrounding the actor's 100th birthday. Among the weekend's highlights was the presentation by the Wayne family of a magnificent, larger-than-life bronze of John Wayne by sculptor David Manuel. This statue is in the museum and gift shop.

Pictures of the "public square" in downtown Winterset. One of these buildings house the pharmacy where John's Wayne's dad worked as a pharmacist when they lived here.

We visited a couple of covered bridges during our visit to Winterset. This town was basically where they filmed "Bridges of Madison County" with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. There was so much we wanted to accomplish on our trip we couldn't see all the places of the movie. Directed by Clint Eastwood, produced by Eastwood and Kathleen Kennedy, and associate produced by Tom Rooker and Michael Maurer, it is the visual representation of two people coming to terms with their own lives through each other. The film is a narrative about love and choices and consequence. "The Bridges of Madison County" was made on location in Madison County, Iowa. A reconstructed farm house provided the key set, with additional sequences shot in the towns of Winterset and Adel, along with the actual Roseman and Holliwell covered bridges. Locations were coordinated with the full cooperation of the Iowa Film Commission, Winterset and Adel Chambers of Commerce, and the Madison County Covered Bridge Preservation Society. This is the Holliwell Bridge, built in 1880 and located over the Middle River southeast of Winterset, and is the longest bridge, measuring 122 feet. It was renovated in 1995 for $225,000.

Another view at the bridge.

Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge greets visitors as they enter Winterset City Park. Built in 1871 , it is 79 feet long. Originally over the North River near Bevington, it was moved to its present location in 1970. It was renovated in 1997 for $35,000.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our first stop on our Iowa trip was to Marceline, Missouri, Walt Disney's hometown where he spent his formative years. He moved here when he was five years old and was 11 when he left Marceline. But here is "Where the Magic Began".
Walt returned to Marceline many times throughout his life with fond memories of his boyhood. Once he addressed thousands of residents and said, "My best memories are the years that I spent here in Marceline. You children are lucky to live here".
Ensuring that the world never forgets....Walt Disney was a simple farm boy from Marceline who grew up to become the keeper of childhood magic.

The Walt Disney Hometown museum is the recipient of a unique collection of family effects, never seen elsewhere in the world. Personal belongings and artifacts from Disney family members, hundreds of personal letters written between family members and interpretive exhibits that focus on the Disney family and tell the story of Walt's childhood, family and friends are some of the things you will see in this museum. You'll even see his actual school desk that he sat in in grade school with his initials engraved into the top of the wood.

I took this picture before I knew that you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the museum. Oh well, at least I have one! This little car has been restored into it's original condition and there are more still to be restored.....these were a collection of the only "ride" from Disneyland ever to be disassembled and reassembled in the town of Marceline for all the children at that time to enjoy. A gift from Walt.

The main street in Marceline was the model for Main Street USA that Walt designed for Disneyland. He came back to the town quite a few times, unknown to the residents at the time, to make drawings and help with his memories.

Dad and JoAnn outside the Uptown Theatre.

Walt's original dreaming tree, which was hit by lightening quite a few years ago.

The new tree planted to replace the original tree. The "little dreaming tree".

The barn behind his home where Walt and his sister Ruth played in and he put on little plays for the neighborhood kids.

Walt Disney's home as a boy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We had a storm yesterday evening that went through, and a tornado touched down about three miles from our house in this neighborhood off Lebanon Avenue and Greenmount Rd. It also touched down outside of Mascoutah, IL. These are pictures I took of the damage in the area of Greenmount Rd. We could not get into the subdivision where it touched down, but these are pictures we got from the road as we drove by. We were driving very slow by here because they were still cleaning up debrees off Lebanon Avenue in the roadway.

Debrees being stacked out front.

Channel Four "copter".

All the light poles in this parking lot were either leaning or c ompletely broke off like this one.

Huge sign completely bent over.

Very pretty sun after the storm.

Monday, June 8, 2009

These are pictures of Seymour, Iowa, where we went to on a recent trip up north. My G-G-G-G-grandparents on my father's side settled here from England in the 1800's. I had information on them and wanted to see the town and where they were buried in the local cemetery. We didn't find their original home, don't know where it was. But certainly would enjoy going back and spending more time in the area and take more time to go through the library info and find other local information on my family. I did get copies of their obituaries from the Seymour Library.

This is the cemetery where they are buried in Seymour, Iowa.

Samuel and Sarah Webb, my G-G-G-G-grandparents that came over from England in the 1800's and eventually settled here in Seymour, Iowa.

On down the road, outside of Adair, Iowa, we stopped at this historical site.

Me, standing at the marker of the "First train robbery in the West" that involved the notorious Jesse James....just outside of Adair, Iowa.

A part of the original tracks.

We visited Jesse James' home in St. Joseph's Missouri.

Dad and JoAnn on the backporch of Jesse James' home.

Picture of Jesse James' living room.

Jesse James was straightening a picture on the wall when Bob Ford shot him in the back of the head. You can see the bullet hold in the wall (gold frame) where it went through his head and into the wall.

Picture of Jesse James in casket; there's a small tie pin that was found in the chest area when he was exhumed for DNA testing.