01 July 2008

Iowa History

I happened upon the Iowa state quarter while digging in my pockets for change. Although I didn’t immediately recognize the design as a Grant Wood painting, I did recognize the schoolhouse – or at least I thought I did.

Looking up the design at the US Mint’s website I see that Mr. Wood used a generic one-room schoolhouse as the subject of his painting Arbor Day, the likes of which dotted the Iowa prairie from the time the first settlers arrived there. These structures formed the cornerstones of the small towns where they were located, often serving as the town’s church and meeting house as well as school.

I thought that the schoolhouse pictured was the Goldenrod School, where Jessie Field Shambaugh laid the foundations of the 4H club. The lack of front windows on the Goldenrod School clearly rules that possibility out, but the building is typical of the schoolhouses of the era.

The school is now a part of the Goldenrod School and Nodaway Valley Historical Museum, located just south of Clarinda Iowa on Highway 71.

I am myself an alumni of the very Page County School Systems that Jessie Field Shambaugh presided over as Superintendent from 1906 to 1912.

Mrs. Shambaugh passed away at the ripe old age of 89 on January 15, 1971 after a fall at her daughter’s house southeast of Clarinda. She is buried in the Clarinda Cemetery.

This public service announcement is to let you know that yes, things of importance do indeed happen in “flyover” country.

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