Monday, June 15, 2009

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.

1 comment:

Carla said...

Cool pictures!! Gonna scrap them on July 25th?!! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.