‘Gateway to Geode’ slogan has special meaning for Smith family
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON – Having Geode State Park as part of the city’s motto means the world to siblings Linda and Dave Smith.
“This is our identity,” said Linda as she sat next to her brother at a table in Dover Museum in New London.
The Smith siblings, along with Gale Riley and Caroline Lehman had assembled at the museum to come up with logo ideas for the city’s slogan.
In October, the New London City Council was approached about changing the city slogan from “City of Redbuds” to “Gateway to Geode State Park”, a moniker similar to what the city’s motto had been for decades. During the October meeting, Linda, who was there to speak on a different issue, voiced her approval of changing the city’s motto back, as her grandfather had been instrumental in getting the area recognized as a state park.
“This has been our whole life,” said Dave of the importance of geodes to his family history.
“We didn’t go to Disney (World) or Branson for family vacations,” said Linda, “we went to Lake Superior to go look at rocks.”
The Smith’s father invented the vibrating rock polisher. This led the family to many trade shows and conventions across the country, always toting New London and it’s tie to geodes and Geode State Park, another chapter in their family history.
The Smith’s grandfather, E. N. (Ed) Smith had envisioned the park as early as 1917, according to historical documents.
According to articles published by The Journal, the idea for a park came about in 1935. E.N. Smith and a local organization obtained 613 acres for the park. That was if the state would develop it and a Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) camp would work on it. The C.C.C. men were made up of WWI soldiers.
The idea went along swimmingly. The Journal reported work on the camp began in 1939. That was until the attack on Pearl Harbor when work abruptly stopped. The park wasn’t dedicated until June 20, 1951.
But the head of the Smith family didn’t stop there; E. N. was also the catalyst for having the geode named as the state rock.
“It’s really interesting,” said Dave, “because you can only really find geodes in this part of the state.”
As for the new city logo, the siblings knew it wouldn’t be the easiest task to create a design as, from the outside, geodes often look like “mud balls.”
“I just want to make sure we incorporate a geode some way,” said Dave. “Even if it’s symbolically there.”
When the council approved changing the city motto, Dave said Councilman Tom Davis approached him about coming up with some sort of logo. Since then, the council has decided to open up the design to all members of the community. Dave did, however, ask a former New London resident and graphic designer, Steve Hunter, to help finalize the design. “When I contacted Steve he got really excited to work on the project,” he told those gathered at the museum. “He was the first one who came to mind because I’ve seen his work and I thought it was great.”
The city will be collecting design submissions until Feb. 2. The council will select a few designs to be sent to Hunter to develop. Residents will be able to vote on the final design.