The Kitchen Table Historian

I am an author and historian who writes about long-forgotten and out of the way events and places. I love the bizarre, the unusual, and the downright weird. I write a regular blog at my website, www.johnbrassardjrcom.wordpress.com, and also manage a facebook page about things of historical interest called The Kitchen Table Historian.

The Mississippi Valley Fair – 1920’s Scott County Builds Their Dream Venue

                The old dirt track was barely recognizable. To someone who had been there in its heyday several years before, there were still some things that might have looked familiar, but probably not much. New buildings were going up, and old buildings being torn down. What was once an aging eyesore on the western edge …

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Fiddlers, Dancers, and…Boxers?: The End of an Era in Corning, Iowa

The audience was in a great mood. They had just heard some fantastic music, and were ready for more. The management did not disappoint. Billy McKee came out from behind the curtain, his instrument in his hands. Billy played the bones, an instrument that went back into the mists of ancient history. Originally thought to …

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Z.T. Widener: The Story of a Man Whose Mark Still Remains on Corning, Iowa

                The building stands on Davis Avenue in Corning, directly across from a park. On a street that is full of character, this multistory brick structure sets itself apart. Its exterior is covered in metal and stone ornamentation, and the name “Z.T. Widener” is etched into the building along the top.                 Today, many who …

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Corning, Iowa’s Main Street: Consumed by Fire, Rises Again

The day probably started out normally for most of the people in Corning. Nestled into the rolling hills of Adams County in southwest Iowa, they went about their lives as they normally would on that early October day in 1896. In addition to their everyday chores and tasks, many would have probably already been working …

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Priests and Farmers – What Makes A Father?

With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, I’ve been thinking a little about what it means to be a father. Do you have to have children in order to be a father? As I ponder that question, my mind turns to a particular individual – Father P.J. Maher. Irish Priest in Rural Iowa                 P.J. Maher was …

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Lack of Respect: Souvenir Hunters in an Unmarked Cemetery

                I have not been shy or quiet in my opinions about cemetery desecration. I have spoken about it, and I have written about it. Cemeteries are monuments to those who have gone before. They are places that honor the people on whose shoulders we stand, who built the towns and cities that we have …

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Hell at Sea: Iowa’s Connection to One of the Worst Maritime Disasters Before Titanic

                Davenport, Iowa has a lot of iconic landmarks, both historic and otherwise. There are many in the downtown area, where the city has, for several years, been making a tremendous effort in beautifying the area. Largely, they have been successful. The area is now home to several upscale restaurants, businesses, art venues, and museums. …

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