Thursday, August 11, 2005

Local Still Trumps



Last night during the moving tribute to Peter Jennings on ABC a technique called "mapping" was mentioned. You got a local map, closed your eyes, pointed at a spot, and then went there to find and film whatever story was present at that location.

The OFTA (Old Friends Talk Arts) group used a variation of that technique yesterday and found gold literally right outside of the door of the Buchanan Center for the Arts. Led by an accomplished local historial we simply walked around our own town square and learned a fair amount about local history and architecture. Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College's Director of College Communications, was our leader and over thirty hearty seniors braved the heat and humidity to learn about the cigar factory that used to occupy the 2nd floor of the Arts Center, the financial shenanigans in 19th century banking, the various styles of commercial architecture, and why the small stone disk over the door of a building had been sandblasted to obscure its original image. (The building was once a Pabst Blue Ribbon owned bar and when the town went dry it was not thought to be an appropriate symbol to display on the main square.) It was a delightful hour right here at home--no cost yet full of fascination. Heartfelt thanks to Jeff Rankin for reminding us all of the importance of our roots. Here's hoping that some of what we heard will be transferred to friends, extended families, and visitors to our community.

3 comments:

David said...
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David said...
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David said...

I believe it was in the early 1980's during the Monmouth sesquicentennial celebration preparations that Juliana Pittman was interviewed, probably by what was then WDRL Radio (now WMOI), for her part in the festivities. I seem to recall a musical theater piece of some sort re-enacting the history of Monmouth. I incorporated a soundbyte of Juliana's voice into a bizarre sound collage I still have a copy of somewhere. She's talking in the background, then off of a sudden her voice comes to the forefront of the mix and she says, "If you don't know the history of Monmouth now, you're certainly going to learn it." And the piece ends abruptly on that ominous note.

There doesn't seem to be much Monmouth history on the web, unless you are looking for info on the college or Wyatt Earp (or the high school athletic program.) Looks like the Wikpedia article could use some updating. Any volunteers?