Saturday, April 08, 2006

Historical Trivia in Peru

The Miami County Museum has a broom-making machine dating back to 1778. Joseph Grogg, Perry Twp. brought the item from Connecticut in a covered wagon. The Grogg family maintained the machine over one hundred years before donating it to the Museum. There are many treasures to observe at the Miami County Museum located on Broadway and Fifth Street. They have a staff that will answer questions or get you an answer. It's a great place to take kids!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Navy Base in Peru

Grissom A.F.B. was commissioned as a U.S. Naval Reserve Aviation on July 1, 1942. It was promoted to U.S. Naval Air Station one year later. It was used as a training base for Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard Pilots. The station existed only three years. It was closed and leased to the Bunker Hill Corp. as farmland until the Korean Conflict.

It would be different to see Navy men walking down the streets of Peru instead of Air Force today.

My mom said when I was quite young, some young ladies would put me in my stroller and walk downtown because the sailors couldn't resist stopping and looking at me with my cute curls and smile. That way, the young ladies could strike up a conversation with the sailors.

We have had in our family, a sailor aboard the Lexington, a sailor on the Enterprise and a grandson soon to be stationed in Spain. Thank God, for the young men and women who serve our country.

Mavrick's Tavern

Nick Mavrick purchased the building in 1922. In 1925 he remodeled it. A coney island business operated by his brother Pete was in half the building and a grocery/meat market operated by Tom Delivan in the other half was in the location from 1927 to 1931.

In 1933, Nick obtained the first liquor license in Peru to officially open Mavrick's Tavern. The photo was prior to becoming Mavrick's Tavern.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Railroads in Peru

The railroads were a major part of Peru's economy several years ago. As we remember it was quite common to get delayed at crossings by trains coming through Peru. In 1896, there were six railroads in operation--Lake Erie & Western; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis; Wabash; Eel River; Peru & Detroit; and Chicago & Erie.

The Wabash Cannonball, spewing steam and clickety-clacking along the rails, was in Peru for a commemorative ride. Hopping aboard the steam engine to watch the fireman shovel coal into the massive firebox was unforgetable. It was one of those things "Always wanted to do and got to!"

The Hottest Band In Peru: KISS

It's with some amusement I've been reading about KISS bassist Gene Simmons (and partner Richard Abramson) recent marketing agreement with the Indy Racing League.

There are a handful of Peruvians who remember, including myself, who remember humbler days when KISS played the Circus Center on Halloween night, 1974. The tour, in support of their second album "Hotter Than Hell", rolled into Peru and blew the roof off the Circus building.

Things I remember about the concert:
  • Speakers, speaker, and more speakers. Once they hit the stage, the speakers became instruments of submission. I've never been to a louder concert...ever. With concrete floors, iron beams, and a sheet metal roof, the ear splitting music ricocheted around the building. That night, a number of Peru kids lost a little hearing. Huh?
  • The blinding flash pots which opened the show. The explosions shook the building and once my eyes cleared, KISS was already a third of the way through their opening song ("Strutter", I think). Not being KISS knowledgable, I thought, "cool, they dressed up for Halloween!" Little did I know that two years later, the band would be featured on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.
  • You couldn't yell conversation at the show; even between songs. We were too stunned and temporarily deaf.
  • They played songs from their soon-to-be-released album, "Dressed To Kill".
  • The Gene Simmons fire spitting didn't impress me. I'd seen the same thing in Peru's circus.
  • About two thirds through the show, I entered the "Official KISS Pain Zone" and split. I walked home, sat on my front porch (2 blocks away) and listened to the rest of the show.

As time passed, I watched KISS grow into mega-superstars. I saw KISS play two more times in arenas, once in December of 1977, the day blizzard covered Hwy. 31 opened for traffic.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Godfroy Farm bought by Ben Wallace

A 220 acre farm inherited by Gabriel Godfroy was sold to Ben Wallace in 1891. The land originally belonged to Chief Francis Godfroy who obtained it from the U.S. Government in 1826.

The farm is situated in the fork of the Wabash and Mississenewa rivers about two miles east of Peru. Ben Wallace paid $20,000 for the prime land. He later used the land for the great circus headquarters.

An interesting note about Francis Godfroy's father was that he was a full blooded Frenchman and came of stock of which heroes are born. He was a descendant of Godfroy of Bouillon, chief leader of the First Crusade. He headed the French force sent out against the Infidels for the recovery of the Holy Sepulcher and took the city of Jerusalem.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Prices in Peru

Thinking about the price of gas made me reflect on prices of goods then and now. For $1.00 back in the 50's you could cruise Broadway all evening. Now gas is $2.60 a gallon-- Add to that the price of insurance, plates, excise tax, general maintenance that totals up to quite a sum of money.

Back in the late 1800's you could buy a pair of jeans for 50 cents to $1.00--now $15.00 to $150.00. Women's shoes could be bought then for $1.00-$2.00--now they range from $10.00 for flip flops to $150.00--some more than that.

In the 70's I spent $50.00 on a week's supply of groceries (that was buying a gallon of milk a day). In the late 1800's coffee, 20 cents--now $5.00 plus. Sugar was 20 cents--now $1.89. In 1903, 200 hogs sold for $55,000--now a champion hog can command a price of $10,000 up.
What happened to penny candy, 5 cent ice cream cones, and admission to your favorite movie for 25 cents?

I still look for things that are free--playing kick the can with my grandchildren, going to the park, a donation to take them to the museum, going to the cliffs, checking out all the history in Miami County. Your TIME is priceless.