Famous Iowans

Iowa State Fair

A birthday party, a secret, and something found in most refrigerators. That combination will surely entice visitors to an iconic exhibit at the State Fair next month. Sculpting has commenced for the centennial of the butter cow. But the celebration will be tempered by the passing of the tradition's most famous artist.

Iowa Events Center

This is the first time we've applied our historic sound project to a building. Iowa's largest memorial to war veterans is closed for renovation. Sometimes called the "barn," it will never be the same. Historic audio clips come from Iowa Public Television, the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting and IPR. Note: Vets reopened in 2012.

Andy Williams Birthplace Museum

It was just over 75 years ago when a young Iowa boy joined his brothers in a church choir in western Iowa. Until 2012, when Andy Williams passed away, he was one of the most productive octogenarians in entertainment. Iowa Public Radio's Rick Fredericksen traveled to Wall Lake and Branson, Missouri, for this 2-part, Iowa Archives special. Historic audio comes from Andy Williams, his birthplace museum, and You Tube.

John Wayne Birthplace Museum

They're remembering the Alamo this weekend in Madison County. Specifically, the epic film that was the first movie ever directed by John Wayne. Iowa Public Radio's Rick Fredericksen reports from the actor's home town of Winterset.

Long before email, and even the Postal Service, the fastest way to get a letter from point-A to point-B, was on horseback. This is the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express, and an Iowan was one of these early mail carriers. Iowa Public Radio's Rick Fredericksen profiles the man, who would later become an icon of the Wild West. Historic audio clips go back to 1914.

An author researching the life of famous agricultural scientist George Washington Carver has compiled a rare collection of his recordings. For a man who was educated in Iowa and contributed so much to mankind, Carver’s unusual voice was just as prominent as his vocation. Our oldest recording is about 1938.

He is one of Iowa’s most famous native sons. Norman Borlaug is credited with averting widespread famine by introducing revolutionary agricultural techniques to farmers around the world. He was a distinguished professor at Texas A&M when he died at the age of 95. Historic audio comes from You Tube, Texas A&M and Iowa Public Radio News.

Fifty years after Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev visited the United States, we re-live the historic two day visit to Iowa with original audio. Recordings are from the ISU Library, University Archives, Jack Shelley's papers, and You Tube.

Big Band Museum

Apr 10, 2009
Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum

A museum, opened in 2010, commemorates musical legend Glenn Miller at his birthplace in Clarinda. We visited the birthplace prior to the new museum's groundbreaking ceremony. Our story features historic audio from the Big Band era, recorded around the U.S. and in England. Courtesy of Cary Hahn and Marvin Negley, the sound clips date from 1939 to 1944.

Veronica Guyader

The Woolstock home where actor George Reeves was born has reached the point of no return. The owners plan to raze the building. We present the highlights of this legendary Iowan's career. Recordings from You Tube and a private collector. Sounds from 1939 to the 1950s, in California. Note: The birthplace house was torn down in 2011.

JFK Library

Sounds from the 1960s, recorded in Washington, Greenfield and Des Moines. Forty-five years after the slaying of President John F. Kennedy, we hear the voices of several Iowans whose professional lives were touched by the assassination. Recordings courtesy of WHO Radio and private collector Bill Sherman.

The U.S.S. Iowa

Sep 4, 2008
USS Iowa Veterans Association

Sounds from 1945 to 1991, from around the world. The USS Iowa was the first of the mighty "Iowa Class" battleships that projected America's global military power for more than a half century. Their potent, 16-inch guns made them the greatest fighting ship of all time. She opened as a museum in 2012 at the Port of Los Angeles. Historic sound from the State Historical Society and You Tube.

Everly family fan site

They lived in Iowa only about 8 years, but left behind a delightful recording from a Christmas broadcast in Shenandoah. We remember the Everly Brothers, on the passing of Phil, at the age of 74, on Jan. 3, 2014. This archival feature was first broadcast in 2007, when Phil was 7 and Donny was 9.  Sounds from 1946, 1957 and 1973, in Shenandoah and unknown concert locations. Recordings from KMA Radio and You Tube.

Iowa's Music Man

Dec 2, 2007
The Music Man Square

It has been 50 years since Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" premiered on stage (Dec. 19th, 1957). Our sound portrait of this talented Iowan extends back to his early days in radio. Audio courtesy of The Music Man Square Museum, Mason City Foundation and KGLO Radio. Sounds from the 1930s to 1960s, primarily in Mason City and Los Angeles.

Chuck Offenburger

A one-of-a-kind roller rink continues to delight Iowans at Spring Lake Park in Greene County. In operation since the late '20s, the antique rink is extremely rare today. Most have burned down or been replaced. One name is forever linked to the rink; the beloved Noni Mylenbusch, who started playing the organ there before WWII. Sounds from circa 1980, recorded in Jefferson and unknown locations. Noni's recordings came from private collectors Don Dodd and Bob Wullenwaber.

Iowa State Fair

Striptease shows and daredevil acts are part of the Iowa State Fair's history, which dates back to 1854. Vintage recordings revive memories of some of the big attractions from fair's past. Audio clips courtesy of the State Fair Museum, Iowa Public Television, and desmoinesbroadcasting.com. Sounds from the 1930s onward at the fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Iowa Broadcasters

May 29, 2007
Rick Fredericksen

Sounds from radio and television broadcasters from decades past, across Iowa. The story is introduced by Jeff Stein, Administrator of the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting at Wartburg College, who provided the various on-air sound-clips embedded in this report.

Karl King

Apr 4, 2007
Karl King Municipal Band

The voice, music and historical sound clips from the career of Iowa composer and Fort Dodge band leader Karl King. Reporting assistance from 6th grader Kristen Holvick. Various sound recordings from the Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge. Sounds from 1950 - 1971, New York and Iowa.

American Gothic House Center

Grant Wood's sister, Nan, talks about the famous Iowa artist, and a fire at his studio that burned them both. The interview with Nan is held by the State Historical Society of Iowa, in Iowa City. Sounds from 1976, recorded in Cedar Rapids.

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