Humeston, Iowa - "Where Things Get Done"
Community News
Moving forward for Watermelon Day
It's official--the class motto of the Humeston High School Class of 1955 is still relevant for Humeston, and is returning as the theme of Watermelon Day 2012.
"Forward ever, backward never" is the theme selected by the Mormon Trail Chamber for the July 21 Watermelon Day celebration.  With the weekend only three months off, planning has hit full speed!
New events are being planned as the community moves forward.  Think "texting" with a new twist on an old favorite activity, the scavenger hunt.  Start thinking about your entry into a barbeque contest, too, sponsored by The Locker.
Events being planned for Friday evening, July 20, are a classic car rally and garden tractor pull, along with the Humeston All-School Reunion, horseshoe tournament and the library's book sale.
Saturday's fun starts early with the fun run/walk and a fishing tournament at Lakeside Park, followed by the parade, car show and a park full of all day events.
The Horton family will bring music to the bandstand in Chris Street Memorial Park on Saturday night.  Sunday will wrap up the weekend with church services in the park.
Some things never change, the old adage says.  While great fellowship, fun and food at Watermelon Day remain the same, the community, and the event move forward, keeping the best of the old and adding new, year after year.
Forward ever, backward never.
(Article from the Humeston New Era)
Military Muscle
by Master Sgt. Mike Battien
The butterflies turn in your stomach.  Mentally, you run through your presentation.  One final exhale before it's time to prove yourself.
You're about to be judged by a panel of fitness and bodybuilding experts, among hundreds of other competitors and spectators.  Welcome to competitive bodybuilding and figure competition.
It takes courage, determination and confidence to succeed and excel as a member of the Air National Guard; the same qualities 1st Lt. Renee Rausch used on stage at her first bodybuilding and figure contest, the Nutri-Sport Natural Iowa and Central Midwest Bodybuilding and Figure Competition.
Rausch, a 1996 graduate of Mormon Trail, is a contracting officer with the Iowa National Guard's Joint Forces Headquarters and is known in her unit as a "go-getter," with a commitment to the mission and her fellow Airmen.  Several years ago, she turned that spirit inward, setting aside time for regular exercise and minding what she ate.  That commitment opened up new doors for her at the gym and eventually to a competition trainer that suggested she had what it takes to succeed on stage.
"She gave me a book that went through the art of competition from A to Z.  She also indicated she would be competing in a show in the springtime.  At first, I laughed and thanked her for the compliment, and then I decided to read the book so I could follow along with her progress.
"As I read, I became more interested in what competitors actually go through to drop their body fat and get into the best shape of their lives.  I knew I wasn't getting any younger, and I had never dedicated myself to something so challenging.
"Finally," Rausch said, "I told my trainer I would follow her in her journey and compete with her."
Rausch performed well at the competition - placing second in the novice division - and took away lessons only learned through hard work, dedication and the guts to put it all out there for everyone to see and judge.
"I try very hard to give my best each day, whatever I do, in order to feel a sense of accomplishment or purpose.  I do not want to be known as someone that only gives 50 percent when accomplishing a task."
As a member of the Guard, my job also encompasses being fit for duty.  This means mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.  In order for the first three to happen, the last one must also happen for me," she said.
Asked for advice to anyone about to tackle a personal or professional goal, Rausch emphasizes the importance of taking the first step.
"Failure to take action is the reason why most people do not succeed.  It is not because they aren't able, but in most cases they are just scared to develop a resistance to failure - because that would require change.  Most people don't like change.  Change requires stepping into the unknown and believing in yourself, and sometimes believing in yourself is the hardest thing for us to do.
"I may not win 100 percent of the time, or be in first place, but at least I tried.  I believe life is a journey, and now I will have another story to tell my children and grandchildren someday," Rausch said.
(Article from The Iowa Militiaman, Winter 2012)
Corydon Pamida will close
by Willa Clark
The doors of Corydon's Pamida store are set to close for good shortly after the Wayne County Fair. 
In a recent press release that announced the finalization of a merger of Pamida and Shopko, company officials also announced the closure of six Pamida stores.  In addition to Corydon's store, Albia and Red Oak stores are set to close, along with stores in Sparta and Ontonogan, Mich., and Mount Vernon, Mo.
Corydon Pamida manager Sheryel Sheets said she was notified the same day the press release went out.
Shopko President, Chairman and CEO W. Paul Jones said of the closure, "It's always a difficult decision to close stores but we knew going into this merger there would be a few stores that were not financially feasible to continue performing at an adequate level (to) justify the investment in upgrades."
The six stores are set to close in early August.  The closure will be preceded by a liquidation sale which will begin in early May. 
Meanwhile, other Pamida stores will be converted to Shopko Hometown stores by the end of 2012 and Pamida's corporate headquarters in Omaha will be consolidated into the Green Bay, Wis., Shopko headquarters over the next several months.
(Aricle from Times-Republican)
Letter to the Editor
The demise of Pamida, another reason it is necessary to shop at home.  Another reason it will be more difficult for Corydon to grow or even maintain it's present population.
The familites of local manufacturing plants did not want to live here before.  Now without the well run, community minded department store we had, it will be even more difficult to recruit workers, professionals and retirees to move to Corydon.
The Pamida store, with helpful and friendly employees, brought out of towners to Corydon and when here also spent money in other stores.  It was not unusual to see Decatur and Lucas county licenses in the parking lot, as well as many Missouri cars.  Those people will not have a reason to come to Corydon any more and the whole business community will suffer.
How many times have you heard, "we can't wait 'til the new Wal-Mart store opens in Centerville?"  Every time someone thinks that way, another nail is being driven into Corydon's casket.
Will we ever learn to "buy at home"?  This is a devastating blow to the Corydon business community as well as Corydon residents.
-Bill Gode 
(From the Times-Republican)
Article Archive
Dogs and Stones--Harry's Doghouse is
Lifetime Collection
by Shelda Lunsford
"Listening to his master's voice," was the duty of the large white dog with the cute black ears that sat proudly, head at an angle and gazing out the window of the doghouse.  Nipper was his name, a sleek fox terrier, waiting anxiously to catch a sound of visitors to his home.
Born as the mascot for the Victor Talking Machine Company, which later became known as RCA Victor and maker of the famous Edison phonograph record player, Nipper was inspired by a painting the dog's second master, Francis Barrand, had made.
The original dog Nipper was born in England in 1884 and died in 1895, but the reputation and the replicas created because of him live on forever.
Just as Nipper was not an ordinary dog, neither was the doghouse, which served as home to a likeness of him.  Instead it was a creation of elaborate labyrinths of buildings and paths twisting and winding across the entire expanse of yard; the structure was known to locals as Harry's Doghouse.  Nipper was not the only resident.
A Humeston resident, Harry Marks had a very special attraction.  For many years, collecting replicas of dogs was a passion for Marks.  When he was not at his regular job as manager for the local telephone exchange, which was located in his home, he also worked at his hobby of collecting both dogs and rocks.
According to recorded accounts offered by one of his children, Marks involved the entire family in his "rock collecting" efforts.  His daughter Pat recalled, "My sister Elaine and brother Harold have better memories of the rock gathering than I do, since I was the youngest, but I believe he started gathering the rocks right after we moved into our home in 1924, the year I was born."  Elaine remembers that they could not go home until they "had their buckets full."
Marks had no known help in the building process.  He put all the structures together himself.  The first to be completed was a rock garden, then a lily pool and later the posts, which lined the yard at the front of the home, were painstakingly created by Marks.
There is no exact record of when the first doghouse at the Marks home in Humeston was built, but it is believed to be 1940, according to a date on the fireplace at one of the buildings.
Marks added doors to the first structure and went on to build two more doghouses before he was finished.
In the beginning Marks only had a few dogs in his collections, which he had purchased himself.  But, as he started to build stone buildings and to place his collection of dogs inside them, more and more people became interested in was was beginning to be a "curious" place to visit.
Soon people started sending Marks dogs from all over the United States.  A few were even sent by servicemen stationed around the world. 
Marks was overrun with canines!  So he continued using the stones he and his family had spent years collecting and created spaces to house all of his thousands and thousands of dogs.
He made room for dogs on see-saws and china dogs on merry-go-rounds.  He had plastic dogs and chalk dogs and metal ones that wagged their tails.  There were little dogs sitting on big dogs' tails and Marks even had his own version of a "hot dog."
There was a Buster Brown dog named Tiger.  Marks even had a couple of outhouses marked "setters and pointers" with a sign between the two reading, "For any old dog."
Partway during construction visitors began arriving at the Mark's home.  They entered large stone gateposts and followed similar stone structures up the drive and along the sidewalk to the front door.
Rock edgings bordered the drive and along the walks to the doghouses, as well as all around a fishpond in the center of the yard.
The fishpond had a lighthouse sitting in the middle of it, which housed small dogs in six small glass-covered alcoves built into each of the four sides.  All were made from the collected rocks cemented together.
By the time Marks was finished building houses for his collection he had constructed five seperate structures.
Every dog was protected by glass windows or panels, and over all of them reined Nipper.  He was a happy pup, because he knew he was most beloved by his master, even more so than the oldest dog in the collection, an English bulldog that was brought to this country by the grandmother of one of Marks' neighbors.
Besides being the best loved, Nipper was the largest dog in the collection, standing three and one-half feet high.  The smallest dog was so little that in all the construction Marks actually misplaced it and it was never seen again.
The mechanical dogs in the collection were the most interesting to those who visited and spent countless hours watching the parade vignettes created by Marks.
One dog had come from Mexico and sat placidly smoking a cigarette, the tip of which glowed intermittently.
Marks had even installed magnets inside the snouts of some of the plastic dogs, which he placed on turntables.  When the dogs would pass each other the magnets would cause the pooches to either "kiss" or "turn away" from each other, as they passed on the moving circles.
At least one company, the Sargeant Flea Powder Company, sent Marks a dog at one time.  It showed off by scratching its own ears and blinking its eyes repeatedly.
Once during a town celebration, Marks became acquainted with a couple operating a bingo stand and the conversation turned to Harry and his doghouses.  Marks forgot about the conversation until long afterwards he received a box through the mail.  When he opened it to see what it contained, there nestled in amongst the packing material was a vast array of different dog novelties from the "bingo" couple.
Harry's Doghouse was gaining in popularity with each installation.  It was not long before the locals in the community felt as if Marks and his collection belonged to them.
When newcomers to the area arrived, tall tales of Harry and his collection emerged to form local myths.  The most popular tale was that a person could not be sure they would survive a trip to Harry's Doghouse.  They might not live to tell of their adventure.
Time has a way of marching forward and aging both owner and place.  Finally, Harry's Doghouse was no more!
Marks was no longer there to care for his collection.  The buildings began to crumble and disappear.  The dogs were in danger of being homeless with no one to care for them.
Through the endeavors of many, a way was found to continue to care for the collection; not at the Doghouse, which had fallen into disrepair, not even in Humeston, where it had given pleasure to so many.
The entire collection of puppies, dogs and pooches, headed up by Nipper made their way to the Wayne County Prairie Trails Museum in 1980.  The final tally was between 8,000 and 10,000 dogs.
They are still there today, with Nipper proudly sitting in command behind the glass wall, his head slightly tilted to one side, quietly listening and trying to see if he can still "listen to his master's voice."
(Article from the Humeston New Era)
Our Iowa Signs are Here!
The signs are here...the signs are up...if you can't read them...just slow up.
When Peggy Rash first read in her "Our Iowa" magazine about the contest that would place a single set of Burma-Shave-style signs in each Iowa county, she nominated Humeston.  Unknown to Rash, Nancy Gunzenhauser and Linda Arnold also sent in nominations to bring the signs to Humeston.
                    Paul Gunzenhauser, left and LaVern Tueth, right.
The staff at "Our Iowa" liked the trio of nominations.  Humeston was the only town in the state to have three people so eager for the unique and historic signs submit nominations.  They recognized that having the signs could become a tourist attraction and bring more customer traffic for dining and shopping in Humeston.  Unlike some of the other county winners, the Humeston women were asked to select the jingle from a list of original jingles that at one time were posted throughout 45 states.  They chose, "Proper him was bunk...they pulled him out...of some guy's trunk."  The last sign bears the "Our Iowa" logo.
A series of signs in each county will carry a different original Burma-Shave jingle.  Humeston's signs are on the east edge of town, where traveler's can read them as they head east on County Highway J22.  Bill and Phyllis Carlton graciously allowed the signs to be placed on their property.  LaVern Tueth and Paul Gunzenhauser put up the sign posts and signs.  The exact locations in each county will be noted in future editions of the magazine, so magazine readers may find them as they travel throughout Iowa.
The history of Burma-Shave signs is almost as interesting as their teasing jingles.  They roadside rhymes were started by Allan Odell in 1925, with $200 he borrowed from his father who owned the Burma-Vita Company.
Odell came up with the idea as a unique way to promote the family's brushless shaving cream.  At first, his father was hesitant about this "new-fangled advertising idea," but he was reluctant to discourage an ambitious son and went along with it.  The rest is history.
Odell wrote the original jingles himself and personally erected the first set of signs in southern Minnesota along U.S. 65 near Albert Lea.  Across the U.S., the signs were placed where motorists would see them in a staggered sequence usually along a rural, monotonous stretch of highway.
The signs quickly caught the attention of drivers and shaving cream buyers.  The idea not only worked, it became an American institution.  Burma-Shave grew from a small Midwestern company to the number two brushless shaving cream in the country.
Each set of rhyming lines was broken into short snippets and placed on sequential signs that could be read at speeds up to 50 miles per hour.  The last sign always had the "Burma-Shave" logo.  The light-hearted jingles added a smile to drivers and passengers.  Many touted the benefits of using Burma-Shave, like,
"To kiss a mug...that's like a cactus...takes more nerve...than it does practice."
Others promoted safe driving, as does Humeston's jingle or this one, "A guy who drives...his car wide not thinkin'...he's just hoping."
It is reported Odell kept a flashlight, pencil and pad next to his bed to write down ideas for jingles which came to him in the middle of the night. 
For almost four decades, the signs dotted the American countryside.  At one time, there were 7,000 sets of Burma-Shave signs in 45 states.  Many regarded them as a slice of Americana.
As highways improved and interstates crisscrossed the country, the signs became more of a blur.  At speeds faster than 60 miles per hour, they were hard to read.  In addition, right-of-ways became wider and signs were required to be placed farther from the traveled portion of the road.  These conditions eventually led to the demise of both the signs and the company.
But in spite of their absence, many people remember the signs and their favorite jingles and requested the Burma-Shave-style signs for their town.  The eventual selection was based on many things, especially the proposed location of the signs and the community's commitment to maintaining the site, trimming grass regularly and keeping the signs standing straight.
Humeston's set of Our Iowa signs will be the only ones in Wayne County, but there will be others in every Iowa county, ready to offer a chuckle or a bit of driving advice to every passerby.
Oh, my, oh, thought you knew...where those signs would be...and now you do.  Humeston.
(Article from the Humeston New Era)
Fallon Forum Broadcasts Live From Humeston
On May 12, Fallon Forum broadcast live from the Humeston Library.  Fallon Forum aired 7-8 p.m.  on WOW FM 98.3 and was hosted by Ed and Lynn Fallon.  A former state legislator and 2006 gubernatorial candidate from Des Moines, Ed Fallon was the guest speaker at the Mormon Trail Chamber and Development annual meeting several years ago.
When he returned to Humeston during his run for the governor's seat, he was impressed with the changes.  Fallon had asked to bring their show to Humeston, where they broadcast from the library and spoke with several community members on efforts in the last few years to revitalize our charming town. 
Jill Tueth, Sarah Lovett, Paul Gunzenhauser and Nancy Gunzenhauser were interviewed and spoke about area businesses, local attractions, community support, continuing efforts and funding initiatives.  If you missed Fallon Forum's live broadcast and would like to hear it, click on the following link and enjoy!
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