Who was the Grand Junction native who in the 1920s used her tremendous singing talent and beauty to become the star of the “Ziegfeld Follies” on Broadway in New York City? Many referred to her as “the Venus of Iowa.”
Eva Leonard was one of the most famous entertainers of her era. Her rise to fame in Des Moines, then Chicago and finally New York was one of the hottest stories in the media back then. Her death of May 7, 1947, remains very mysterious, with many indications she may have been murdered. We have lots of information about her at the Greene County Historical Museum in Jefferson, including a stunning, nearly life-sized oil painting of her. Her story has been told twice in the last 10 years in a musical play researched and written by Jefferson’s Jerry Roberts, with local actress and singer Nicole Friess Schilling (now Nicole Bennett-Tuel) playing Leonard. Accompanying on piano in the first production was Carson Griffith. He was deceased by the time of the second production, when the music was played by Cheryl Nailor. You can read more about Eva Leonard and those two productions in a story by Chuck Offenburger right here.
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How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?
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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