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Bed 1.HEIC

Room Histories




The first Chinese to attempt immigration into the United States encountered embargoes on our shores. But by World War II, 105 Chinese immigrants were allowed to enter the United States annually. By 1968, the number had grown to 20,000. Fifty to sixty Chinese immigrants could be found in Des Moines as early as 1960.

As early as 1875, a Chinese immigrant named Ar Shong operated a mercantile in Perry. The owners of a local hotel, The Stewart House, remodeled the building, making room for a "chop suey" restaurant. According to The Perry Daily Chief, specialties of the house included "chop suey and other Chinese dishes and delicacies." In 1981, the Chinese National Girls' Softball Team visited Perry and played games against teams from Norwalk and Ames.

In 1985, Iowa became the sister state to Hebei Province (home of the Great Wall) and Taiwan. Hebei is located approximately 200 miles south of Beijing, the capital city of China, and had a population of 62 million. Its history dates to 2200 B.C. and it

Chinese Room

is two-thirds the size of Iowa. Hebei shares with Iowa a strong dependence on agriculture, especially wheat. Mining, metallurgy, textiles, chemicals, power, glass, and pharmaceuticals and also important industries within Hebei. Like Iowa's relationship with Japan, the relationship with Hebei was characterized by exchange programs in pig breeding, corn processing, feed and animal health products, medicine, business, culture, and education.

Iowa's relationship with Taiwan is characterized in a slightly different way. Taiwan is located 100 miles east of mainland China, is one quarter the size of Iowa, and had a population of 22 million. Its relationship with Iowa gave the province legitimacy in the eyes of the world. Not as interested in cultural exchanges, Taiwan wanted support from governments of the United States so as to gain equal footing on the international scene with China. As Taiwan is an economically developed country, business exchange programs were important and Taiwan's month-long fellowship for Iowa businessmen played to this strength. Educational exchanges were important to Taiwan as was reflected in the province's 99 percent literacy rate. Sport and culture exchanges were also popular among the Taiwanese.

American Indian


American Indian tribes have dotted the landscape of Iowa since the mid 1600s. Tribes with names like Ioway, Omaha, Oto,

American Indian Room

Missouri, Sac, Fox, Sioux, Winnebago, and Pottawattamie made Iowa their home after leaving what is now Wisconsin and Illinois. The three tribes most prominent in the Indian history of Iowa are the Ioway, the Sac, and the Fox.

Fox is an English world given to the Mesquakie, a name that means "the red earth people." The Fox were the largest tribe in Iowa at the time of the Louisiana Purchase (1673) with villages in what is now Davenport, Dubuque, and along the Turkey River. The Fox were moved to Kansas in the mid 1800s by the Federal Government, but not liking Kansas, they quickly moved back to Iowa. Fox is often used in the same breath with the Sac, or Saukie, and although they generally lived separately, they united for defensive purposes. These


two tribes were the original Indian settlers of Iowa, and although they did not eliminate their rivals, they dominated much of the land until the government took it from them to create the State of Iowa. Most of the Sac and Fox left Iowa the year it

American Indian Room

attained statehood in 1846.

The Ioway were not a strong tribe as they were continually harassed by their rivals, especially the Sac and Fox. In some ways, however, they gave the most of themselves as the state is named for them. Part of the Sioux Indian family, the Ioway Indians lived in the Des Moines river valley around the time of the Louisiana Purchase. Those that were not killed off in wars eventually joined the Sac and Fox tribes. To an Indian, the loss of land is equal to the loss of one's identity. Therefore in a move unheard of at the time, the Fox purchased their own land, a settlement in Tama County, in 1857. As of 1945, 512 Fox lived on this land, which by 1972 had grown to encompass 3200 acres.

The Sac and Fox also gave their names to Iowa. Many Iowa counties are named after well-known Fox chiefs: Taimah (Tama), Wapello, Kishkekosh, and Poweshiek. The names of many well known Sac chiefs can also be found in Iowa counties: Black Hawk, Keokuk, Appanoose, and Pashepaho.



In the early part of this century, many Hispanic immigrants to Iowa settled in an area near Valley Junction called Hyde Park.

Mexican Room

Located near the Rock Island Railway, Hyde Park provided housing for the families of railroad workers.

As a result of this Hispanic presence in Iowa, in 1964, Yucatan, Mexico, became a sister state of Iowa. The Yucatan Peninsula is located across the Gulf of Mexico and below the Tropic of Cancer. The peninsula is composed of three Mexican states (Campeche, Quentana Roo, and Yucatan) and includes the cities of Cozumel, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen. The Yucatan Peninsula is an area of low-slung jungles that until 1949 was accessible only by sea. Cancun is now the No. 1 resort in Mexico and tourism the Yucatan's most important industry.

The peninsula is dotted with the ruins of Mayan temples and 

is one of the most important archaeological zones in the world. By 1519, the Mayan culture was in decline as a result of battles and European diseases brought by invading armies. Eventually the north was settled by Spaniards who used the native Mayans as the help.

Humanitarian, educational, and medical exchanges characterized Iowa's relationship with the Yucatan. Iowans came to the aid of Mexicans after Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, and Mexicans returned the favor in 1993, after that year's destructive floods. Iowa's relationship with the Yucatan was distinguished by an exchange and sharing of ideas and resources.

By 1976, 90 percent of the Hispanic population in Iowa was Mexican and 5,600 of them lived in Polk County, the highest concentration in the state. Currently, there is a large population of Hispanics in Perry. Lured to the city by Iowa Beef Packers, some remained employed there while others found a variety of industries in town including retail and tourism.


V. T. "Snick" Hamlin


When the comic strip Alley Oop first began to appear in the nation's newspaper in 1933, the concept of time travel was not a

V. T. "Snick" Hamlin Room

new one. But comics based on archaeology and filled with prehistoric creatures were. Alley Oop caught readers' attention almost immediately. And the comic's creator was Vincent Trout Hamlin, native of Perry.

V. T. "Snick" ( a nickname bestowed upon him in childhood) Hamlin was born in Perry on May 10, 1900. Drawing almost before he could write, Hamlin spent his childhood doodling and creating illustrations for the entertainment of his friends and classmates. After dropping out of high school at the age of 17 to join World War I, Hamlin returned to Perry for another year of high school were he illustrated the class year book, The Eclipse. Although he did not finish high school, he

moved on to the University of Missouri in 1920 where he studied journalism as well as art. The seeds of cartooning had been planted in Hamlin during a hospital stay in France during World War I, but it was many years and many jobs later before

V. T. "Snick" Hamlin Room

Hamlin settled on his calling. As early at 1931, as Hamlin moved from state to state and newspaper to newspaper, he began to flesh out his ideas for what would become Alley Oop. By 1933, the syndicate National Enterprise Association (NEA) had picked up Alley Oop and was running it six days a week. Among the first papers to run Alley Oop were the New York World-Telegram, St. Louis Star-Times, Houston Press, and the Dallas Dispatch. The rest of the story is, as they say, history. By 1993, Alley Oop was appearing in 700 newspapers around the world.

Alley Oop is the story of a prehistoric caveman and his escapades as he traveled from century to century with his girlfriend Oola, King Guz, Queen Umpatedle, Grand Visier Foozy, and other residents of the Kingdom of Moo in a time machine created by Professor Wonmug. Over the years, many residents of Perry recognized characters, vehicles, and names as having their origins in Perry and in Hamlin's

childhood here. Some street scenes were modeled so closely on the originals that Perry residents didn't need names to recognize them. The people of Perry took great pride in this form of flattery as it was in publications such as The Perry Daily Chief and the Perry High School yearbook that Hamlin's attempts at cartooning first appeared.

It was the influence of Perry and Hamlin's interest in the stories told by fossils and rock formations that included his creation of Alley Oop. While working in the oil fields of Texas, Hamlin met a geologist who inspired him to study science, geology, and paleontology, the results of which can be seen in his drawings.


Amana Colonies


Originating as a religious movement combining the doctrine of the Reformed Church, the claim of direct revelation from God, and the importance of pious living, the community of True Inspiration found its beginning in Hesse, Germany. Finding a new home in the United States on land purchased from the Indians in Buffalo, New York, a communal settlement was established comprised of four villages: Middle, Upper, Lower, New.


Two similar settlements were made in Canada: Canada and Kenneberg. The community was recognized when the state of New York gave their constitution legal recognition and all members of Ebenezer (the name chosen for the community) were required to sign the constitution and deed their possessions to the community. Between the years of 1843 and 1846, 800 members of the True Inspirationists immigrated to the United States from Hesse, Germany.

Due to the growth of Buffalo as a city and the encroachment of the world on village life, church leaders began looking to move to the frontier. The original land purchase in Iowa consisted of 26,000 acres. The move from New York to Iowa began in 1855 and within 10 years, the Inspirationists had

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settled the land. Looking for a new name for their community, church leaders settled on the name Amana, a word that can be found in the Song of Solomon meaning "constant."

The original six villages in Amana were laid out three to four miles apart: East, West, South, Middle, High, and Amana. Homestead was purchased later, mainly as a rail stop. In sawmills and woolen mills they made their own furniture and clothes which were sold throughout the United States and Canada. Everything from architecture to life style was a product of the Inspirationists belief in oneness in simplicity, symmetry and purpose.

Amana Colonies Room

In 1932, the Inspirationists separated religion and work and adopted a capitalistic order. The Amana Society is its commercial arm, producing household appliances, furniture, woolen goods, wine, and processed food. The name with which most Americans are familiar, Amana Refrigeration, Incorporated, is located in Middle Amana. Amana Refrigeration is credited with making the first upright refrigerator and later, the first freezer/refrigerator combination in the late 1940s. The second arm of the reorganization, the Amana Church Society, is responsible for all religious and charitable activities.

The Amana Colonies are located in Iowa County, along the Iowa River Valley. The Amana Heritage Society, homestyle restaurants, and authentic villages offer a taste of what being a True Inspirationist is really like.



We think of them as Scandinavian. They think of themselves as Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish Icelandic. They have shared the same language and the same faith but oftentimes little else, except for their desire for a new life in a new land.


Until 1875 more Norwegians than Swedes entered the United States. Both groups reached their immigration peak in 1882 when 65,000 Swedes and almost 30,000 Norwegians entered the United States. Danish immigration started more slowly, but it, too, reached its peak in 1882.

It was for farming that the Scandinavian immigrants came to the United States. As farming was their way of life and as farmland was what they did not have at home, it was the stories of "milk and honey" that drew these immigrants to the shores of the United States. Stories of unlimited land drew them to states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and the Dakotas.

Swedish Room

Although the Danes were the first to reach Iowa, the Norwegians put up the big numbers first, followed by Sweden. A number of factors drew the immigrants to Iowa. The first reason is logical: the Scandinavians were drawn to areas that were already populated with their friends, family, and countrymen. Topography and climate played a part in the settlement as well. Norwegians were accustomed to mountainous terrain, so they naturally settled in the cooler, wooded hill country of northern Iowa. Swedes and Danes, however, were accustomed to rolling terrain, naturally settled in the southern part of Iowa which is flatter and more temperate. Another factor in the settling of the immigrants, but less obvious, was the tendency of Scandinavians to push westward and stretch the boundaries of the frontier. Ultimately, the geographical relationship of these three groups in the new world mirrored their settlement in the old one: the Norwegians were always found at the northeastern most point, coming in through southern Wisconsin. The Swedes entered at Burlington and took more of southern route to their settlement. The Danes were less numerous in Iowa and could be found in the eastern and western counties. By 1890, Scandinavians in Iowa numbered 210,105.

Dallas County found its largest number of Scandinavian-born citizens between 1870 and 1890. At the turn of the century, a section of Perry was known as Swede-town and many people living in Perry today can trace their ancestors back to this influx of Scandinavian immigrants in the late 1800s. 

King's Daughters


Founded on January 13, 1886 in New York City by Margaret Bottome, the National Order of King's Daughters and Sons has a long history in Perry. With no greater goal than the development of spiritual life and the stimulation of Christian activities, members of the King's Daughters made it a point to serve their community.

The Perry chapters of the King's Daughters met monthly in a number of locations. Starting out at the McDonald's Tearoom, they eventually moved to Carrie McLellan's Tearoom, Mimi Pantier's Tearoom, and then the Hotel Pattee. The badge of the King's Daughters is a silver Maltese cross and a purple ribbon. The original New York group began with 10 members. The

Kings' Daughters Room

King's Daughters would grow to include 60,000 members and 2,320 circles worldwide. Circles consisted of three or more members who choose their own line of service. Circles in Perry included the Alpha Circle, the Lend-a-Hand Circle, the Junior Lend-a-Hand Circle, the Am Non Circle, and the Shining Cross Circle.

The first circle formed in Perry was the Alpha Circle in 1904. The Alpha Circle's most lasting contribution to Perry came in the form of the town's first and much needed hospital. Fund raising efforts began in 1909 consisted of proceeds generated by box suppers, dances, rummage sales, ice cream socials, circuses, and Chautauquas.


By 1914, the Circle had raised $25,000, enough to build the King's Daughters Hospital on a Willis Avenue lot donated by Perry's leading real estate baron, B. C. Dilenbeck. With a 21 bed capacity and motto of "In His Name," the hospital served Perry until 1954.

Recognizing the need for modern and expanded facilities, the Dallas County Hospital assumed control of Perry's health care needs and the Perry Lutheran Home absorbed the old hospital building in 1955. But the memory of the King's Daughters Hospital continues to live in the hearts of those who were healed and were born there.

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