Local history comes alive at the Greene County Fair

JEFFERSON, Iowa, July 11, 2017 — During the Greene County Fair this week and early next, the Greene County Historical Society’s exhibits building on the fairgrounds will be open for three days — Thursday, July 13, 4-7 p.m.; Friday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Featured are classic displays of equipment and quirky accessories of early rural life.

In addition, the “Bristol No. 7” country schoolhouse on the fairgrounds will be staffed those same days and hours by Marilynn Hoskinson and Becki Cunningham, portraying early teachers, with explanations of what rural education was once like in the county.

In special programming Friday, July 14, and Saturday, July 15, the historical society will sponsor “History Chats” for a third consecutive year.  There will be six different chats on topics of local history, with moderators Chuck Offenburger and Jerry Roberts asking questions of a small panel of people with expertise on each topic. Questions from the audience will be encouraged, too. Here are the days and topics:

Friday, July 14

11 a.m. – Alma Shorey Young, of Jefferson, one of the only women anywhere to manage a grain cooperative – the Milligan Brothers elevators based in Jefferson. Business competitors, associates and possibly Young relatives will share their stories of her.

Doug Rieder

1 p.m. – Greene County’s Best Sports Stories, with Doug Rieder, the veteran sports broadcaster for Raccoon Valley Radio.  Rieder will lead off with the incredible story of Donald “Speedy” Wilson going from being a very average high school football player for the Jefferson Ramblers in the 1920s to fulfilling his dream of playing for the University of Michigan – and ending his career there as a favorite Wolverine legend.

3 p.m. – Greene County high schools’ high school fight songs – past and present. We’ll talk about them, tell some stories, then hand out printed copies of the words and sing them. Some of the songs have not been sung publicly for more than 50 years. Rick Morain will accompany us singers on an electronic keyboard.  (Does someone have a portable keyboard we could borrow for this? If so, please call Offenburger at 515-370-2659.)

Saturday, July 15

11 a.m. – Joe & Tony Hornick, the bachelor farmer brothers of rural Churdan who operated their own informal bank, making loans to farmers in the areas and businesses too. They operated roughly from the late 1920s into the late 1960s. Former loan recipients, neighbors and possibly a relative will tell their memories of the Hornicks.

1 p.m. – Favorite Greene County Courthouse stories, as we celebrate the building’s 100 years. We’ll have assistant county engineer & courthouse expert Don Van Gilder, and possibly others from the “Courthouse 100” committee that has planned the celebrations.

3 p.m. – The Barbering Bradshaws — a family that has been cutting hair for four or five generations, going back over 100 years. We’ll have current Jefferson barbers Chuck Bradshaw and his son Charlie Bradshow, of Chuck’s Barber Shop, and their father/grandfather Chuck Bradshaw Sr., who still has a shop in rural Linden. They’ll talk about men’s hairstyles thru the years, the 1961 “Haircut Price War” in Jefferson, and favorite stories from their shops.

At 4 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, there will be a free homemade ice cream social, with the ice cream made by historical society president Dale Hanaman.

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There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

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