|The Ottumwa Coal Palace|
The Coal Palace in Ottumwa, Blue Grass Palace in Creston, Flax Palace in Forrest City, and Corn Palaces in Sioux City and Des Moines—from 1887 through the 1930s, these public exposition halls served as integral parts of a town’s economic development “strategy” as well as a way to showcase each community’s products and people. These fabulous, fleeting buildings are the topic of this month’s Reminisce program at the Ottumwa Public Library. Together with Humanities Iowa, the library is proud to host Bill Sherman, who will be presenting “Iowa’s Amazing Public Exposition Palaces” on Tuesday, May 21, at 10:00 a.m. in the library’s meeting room.
Twenty-six Iowa communities created more than three dozen of these public exposition palaces during the 50+-year span from the 1880s through 1930s, and their rise and fall—and enduring legacy—make for a fascinating story. Sherman’s program will include slides detailing the history of these palaces, including many photographs that have not been published.
Sherman worked as a publications/public relations specialist for the Iowa State Education Association for more than 35 years. Now retired he continues to research, write, and speak nationally and internationally, and has worked with the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance since 2000. Sherman’s appearance is funded by Humanities Iowa, which, since 1971, has been bringing humanities programs to Iowa communities. For further information, please call the library’s Reference desk at 641-682-7563, extension 205.