Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 18, 2018

May National Historic Preservation Month

May 04, 2018

In honor of national historic preservation month, the Henry County Historic Preservation Commission encourages the public to take a look at Henry County’s newest historic landmark signs.

WW2 U.S. Army Air Corp Donald E. Monthei- (b. 1902 — d. 1992) lived in Mt. Pleasant and operated Monthei Flying Service, located at an airfield east of town.

Monthei managed the airport operations during the time the U.S. Army Air Corp 82nd College Training Detachment trained there. Monthei returned to his native home in Jefferson where he continued to operate Monthei’s Flying Service. The Don Monthei Airfield at the Jefferson Municipal Airport is named in his honor. Monthei’s airfield in Henry County no longer exists, however the location is identified with a historic marker.

Eastern Iowa district fair at Winfield — This well attended agricultural fair, complete with a half mile horse track, was held outside the city limits of Winfield from 1882 to 1935.

In 1911, people from all over southeast Iowa came to this fair by railroad, horse and buggy, and horseless carriage to witness for their first time, the flight of a heavier than air flying machine, a Curtiss Biplane.

The biplane was shipped to Winfield by rail and reassembled at a farm field on the southwest side of the city limits. Built by Glenn Curtiss, the aircraft had the engine and propeller situated behind the pilot. A detailed scale model of this aircraft can be seen at the Winfield Historical Society Museum.

First fair in Henry County at Salem — The first fair in Henry County was held on the eastern edge of the city of Salem on October 13, 1852 on the John Eighme farm across from the Levi Cammack farm. Organized by the Salem Fair Association, this fair gave local citizens an opportunity to display their crops, livestock, and other products and machinery, all in the interest of promoting agriculture and the latest improved methods of production.

The Salem Fair was held in late summer or early fall later being reorganized as the Salem-Hillsboro District Fair and moved to a new location on the northwest side of Salem in 1892.

Salem and Hillsboro District Fair — The Salem and Hillsboro District Fair was held on the northwest side of Salem along the K-Line Railroad tracks just north of the depot from 1892 to 1897.

This was a well attended fair, usually running four days in Sept. and reported attendance in 1895 was 5,000, with many folks arriving by train.

Everything imaginable in agriculture was displayed, in particular horses, mules, cattle, hogs and sheep. Cereal grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, pantry and kitchen items, preserves, canned goods, flowers, clothing and machinery were also judged and displayed.

Harness racing on the half mile track provided additional entertainment.

A reporter from the Mt. Pleasant Daily News in 1895 quipped, “the only matter of regret is that it was at Salem not Mt. Pleasant.”

In 1897 the Henry County Fair Association acquired the assets of the Salem and Hillsboro Fair Association, thus ending the long running fair in Salem.

Up until recently, aerial photographs of the fair property distinctly showed the outline of the horse track along the former K-Line RR bed.

Lincoln Poll Raising — On July 28, 1860 approximately 2,000 people gathered south of the village of Boyleston in Jackson Township to promote Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy for president by raising a giant 100 foot flagpole formed by splicing together four tree trunks of different sizes.

Just a few days after the pole raising, an act of vandalism destroyed the pole but the Jackson Township Republicans would not give up, erected a bigger pole and held a second celebration on August 9, drawing in delegations from all over the area.

The second pole lasted past the election and large placard was placed upon the pole with Commodore Perry’s famous quote “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

There are very few descriptions or accounts of other Lincoln poles, however O.A Garretson published his personal detailed account of this event in the April 1925 issue of “The Palimpsest,” a historic journal published by the State of Iowa.

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