Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Q-C boasted 30 movie houses in their heyday - A Q-C Century - Progress 99


Q-C boasted 30 movie houses in their heyday - A Q-C Century - Progress 99:

houses in their heyday

By Sean Leary, Dispatch/Argus Entertainment editor

Photo courtesy of Showcase Cinemas 53
The new Showcase Cinemas 53, in Davenport, represents the latest in theater technology. The new theater, located at the 53rd Street exit of Interstate 74, opened in December as one of 15 like it across the country.
When the Showcase Cinemas 53 opened in Davenport in December, it was a grand occasion. The state-of-the-art theater is one of only 15 of its kind in the United States, and its opening meant local film-goers would be among a select group of viewers nationwide.

However, the opening was merely the latest event in a long and colorful history of cinematic franchises in the Quad-Cities, a history going back to the invention and introduction of film as a popular entertainment at the turn of the century.

The Quad-Cities' cinema experience has mirrored that of the rest of the country from the beginning, when silent film theaters dotted the landscape. In the teens and '20s, venues such as the Dreamland and Rialto theaters in Rock Island and the Lyric in Moline showed the short, mostly sound-free flicks, accompanied by live music and performers inserting the ``soundtrack.''

The dominant theater of that era was the Capitol in Davenport, which still houses one of the organs that accompanied the works of such stars of the time as Charlie Chaplin and Tom Mix.

However, none of the theaters was used solely as a movie venue. Various performers and vaudeville events were the primary draws of many of the buildings, and some films were shown in storefronts and other odd environments.

``Movies were still thought of as a fad,'' said Bob King, local film historian and long-time member of Open Cities Film Society.

That changed once the ``talkies'' came in vogue. Suddenly the upstart medium began to draw large crowds, and with the money they brought came a new respect and financial cache for the burgeoning industry.

The number of theaters grew in the next few decades. The Capitol remained a major player, along with the Fort in Rock Island and the Orpheum, which became the RKO Orpheum, and now the Adler Theater.

``The big films, the Disney films would be at the RKO,'' Mr. King said. ``That was where all the kids and families went. Just about any Disney film would become the buzz of the school. I remember `The Shaggy Dog' playing at the RKO and the next day at school everybody was talking about the movie.''

However there were many other Quad-Cities film houses. Moline had the Hiland, Roxy, LeClaire, Paradise, Mirror, Illini and Orpheum, while East Moline had the Strand and Majestic.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Moline Boys Choir Achievers - Leo Brunner and His Brother Kim Brunner

An invitational tournament is named for Leo Brunner.

Leo died in 2003. Kermit Wells, on Facebook, mentioned the annual Leo Brunner tournament. Leo knew all the baseball statistics, and I do mean all of them. He loved to hand someone a baseball encyclopedia and answer any trivia statistic from it, such as lifetime stolen bases or RBIs in each year.

He used that unique gift in teaching and coaching. I remember him enjoying that fact at one of our reunions (MHS 66). He told me how he wowed the kids with his memory. I did not realize it was the last time we would talk. 

We were at Augustana together, so I often gave him rides when I had the family car. 

Named Chairman

Augustana appoints Kim Brunner as Chair of Board

Augustana College is pleased to announce Kim M. Brunner has been elected chair of the college's Board of Trustees. As chair, he is responsible for leading board members and the college community in fulfilling Augustana's mission to provide students with a distinctive, private liberal arts education and help them discover their desired path in life. Brunner, a 1971 graduate of Augustana, is the executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of State Farm Insurance. His position as chair is a four-year term, and he replaces outgoing chair Doug Hultquist.

"Between his professional accomplishments and his deep appreciation of the transformative power of a liberal arts education, Kim Brunner brings a formidable combination of skills and enthusiasm to his leadership of the board," says Augustana President Steven Bahls. "His passion and acumen as a trustee have strengthened the governance of Augustana College, and will continue to do so under his chairmanship."

Brunner believes the next four years will provide many defining moments for his leadership partially due to the national economic downturn. "Augustana must be prepared for what could be an extended period of financial uncertainty. President Bahls and his staff have already established a proven track record of good judgment and decision-making in managing within our means," says Brunner.

He is also appreciative of the college's successes during the last 150 years. "In the years since my graduation from Augustana, I've gained a much fuller appreciation of the debt we owe our predecessors, without whose steadfast dedication Augustana College would not have achieved its present-day status as one of America's leading liberal arts colleges," says Brunner.

"No other college does a better job than Augustana in providing an outstanding educational experience. No other is superior in preparing graduates for success and leadership in a world where change is occurring at such an astonishing pace. Our commitment to developing students broadly, in mind, spirit and body is deeply rooted and unwavering. Augustana College is a special place," he adds.

Brunner supervises the State Farm corporate law department, the third largest law department in the United States. He was inducted into the prestigious Warren E. Burger Society in 2006 by the National Center for State Courts in recognition of his dedication to the administration of justice. 

He grew up in the Quad Cities and was the first of his family to attend law school. After graduating from Augustana, he earned his J.D. from the University of Arizona College of Law. At Augustana, he was an exceptional baseball player and earned the Knute Erickson Scholar Athlete Award. Brunner is married to Donna (Huber) Brunner and lives in Bloomington, Ill. Their son, Jeremy, also graduated from Augustana.      

Augustana's 40 member Board of Trustees consists of leaders from a variety of backgrounds including business, industry, finance, law, medicine and ministry.

Keri Rursch

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cynthia Ecker - Quad Cities Online.
Moline Native and Teacher.

Cynthia Ecker

Cynthia Ecker - Quad Cities Online:

July 7, 1937-July 21, 2012

Cynthia was called home to be with the Lord on Saturday, July 21, 2012. Her sudden passing was a surprise to all, and she died peacefully at her residence at the Lighthouse, of Silvis.

Funeral services will be 11a.m. Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at First Covenant Church, 3303 41st St., Moline. After the service, there will be time to greet the family at a luncheon in the fellowship hall. Burial is at Riverside Cemetery, Moline. Memorials may be made to First Covenant Church piano fund or the Quad City Music Guild. Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory Ltd., Moline, is assisting the family.

Cynthia was born, raised and lived in Moline for all but the last two years of her life. She was the daughter of Clarence (Ted) and Thelma (Erickson) Ecker. She was a graduate of both Moline High School and Augustana College in Rock Island. At Augustana, she was active in both the music and drama programs and was a cheerleader.

After her graduation, she began her teaching career in Walcott, Iowa, where she taught for two years. From there, she went on to Calvin Coolidge Junior High, in Moline, and spent more than 40 years between Coolidge and John Deere Middle School.

She was a music teacher and director of musicals, plays, choirs and instrumental groups. Cynthia often wrote original music for her students to perform in many of her productions. She mentored hundreds of young musicians, some of whom became professionals, and accompanied many more at contests all over the state where many won honors and accolades.

She was an accomplished pianist and always in demand to perform or accompany vocalists and choirs.

In addition to her teaching career, she also was active in the Quad City Music Guild. She was the musical director for many popular performances including "Fiddler on the Roof," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," "Oklahoma," "Music Man" and others. She also sang in many professional groups.

Cynthia was a life-long member of First Covenant Church of Moline, where she was a member of the choir for most of her life and also directed the choir for many years. She also played the piano at many church services and events and, at one time, directed the church's youth choir, which numbered nearly 60 voices. After her retirement from professional teaching, she continued to mentor students in voice and piano up until recently. She was loved by her students, friends and family and will be missed but not forgotten.

She is survived by her sister, Gloria (Jeff) Welcker, of Sycamore, Ill.; and brothers, Ted (Marcia) Ecker, of Barrington, Ill., and Jon (LaVonne) Ecker, of Arden Hills, Minn.; as well as 14 nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Peace be to the memory of a kind, talented and loving woman.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting her obituary at

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jeff Hall and Patty Puck Met at Garfield Elementary School, Moline.
Married 44 Years

Patty Puck and Jeff Hall, both MHS 66, met at Garfield Elementary, Moline. They have been married 44 years today.

They now live in California. Patty has a Facebook page.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Flour Power - The Robin Hood Explosion

Living Memory History: The Robin Hood Flour Mill Explosion - Primary Selections from Special Collections:

Living Memory History: The Robin Hood Flour Mill Explosion
Comments (7) Filed under: Local History
Tags: Disasters, Fires, International Multifoods, Local History
History is full of landmark events—world, national, local— which bring people together to compare notes:

Did you see it?  Did you hear it?What were you doing?  Were you there?

Those in downtown Davenport experienced their own landmark event around noon on May 23, 1975, when a massive explosion on the riverfront shook the city.

Doors flew open from the percussion and windows shattered, throwing jagged spears of glass to the sidewalks.  People ran outside to find out what had happened—most thought it was an earthquake, some thought it was a bomb.  Others worried that the Rock Island Arsenal was the source of the blast.

Sirens filled the air and a helicopter flew in and stopped near the Mississippi River.  The curious ran in that direction or headed for high vantage points—the upper floors of the Blackhawk Hotel or the Kahl Building—to get a better view of East River Drive.

And what a view there was.

Half of the International Multifoods complex seemed to have lifted up and collapsed onto the other half.  The large profile of Robin Hood on one of the riverside buildings—which had given the place its local nickname, the “Robin Hood Flour Mill”—appeared to have launched itself into the Mississippi.  Pieces of reinforced concrete had been thrown at least a hundred feet in every direction.  A grain barge near the edge of the river had sunk under the debris.


But what could have caused such destruction?

Such a simple thing:  a spark had ignited the dust inside a grain silo—one of the big ones, with a capacity of 1.8 million pounds of wheat —which had exploded with devastating force.

Seven people were trapped on the remaining roofs of the complex and the firefighter’s ladders couldn’t reach two of them—one in an area that was at risk for a second explosion.  A military helicopter came to assist.   Five ambulances, plus one from Arsenal Island, took the seriously injured away to the disaster stations, where all area doctors had been told to report.  Five employees were in critical condition and were later moved to burn centers.

One body had already been found in the wreckage:  Ferrell Cleeton of Davenport. By the time the Quad-City Times came out that evening, his was the only confirmed death, though three people were still reported missing.  It was thought that one man had been blown into the river.

By May 26, cranes were clearing the rubble and an auger was expected to soon clear the still-smoldering grain from the bottom of the silo.  Only one worker was still unaccounted for:  Leon Robinson of Milan, Illinois—the man who had been seen in a control tower on the levee barely a minute before the blast.  His fellow workers protested the machinery, wanting to hand-search the wreckage in case their friend was still alive.

But time was passing, and the next day, a barge from the U.S. Corps of Engineers carried a crane from LeClaire to help lift debris from the sunken barge.  On May 29, the bucket of the crane pulled Mr. Robinson’s body from where it had been trapped underneath the wreckage.  The Scott County medical examiner reported that he had died before he and his tower had hit the water, though this was scant consolation for his family and friends.

Total damages to the complex were estimated to be three to five million dollars.  Although a new grain elevator would take almost a year to build, flour mill operations resumed the week after the disaster, as that part of the complex had been the least damaged.   The plant was able to keep a large number of its employees occupied with cleaning and salvaging work—over 400,000 bushels of grain needed to be removed from the undamaged silos.  Soon, the only evidence of the disaster was the absence of the familiar logo, which was not replaced.

So, where were you when Robin Hood Flour blew up?


Views of International Multifoods several years before the explosion.  The barges were tied to the levy for loading.



“Explosion at Mill!” Quad-City Times, May 23, 1975, p.1

McGrevey, Michael.  “‘No Dust Peril at Mill.’”  Quad-City Times, May 27, 1975, p.1.

McGrevey, Michael.  “Part of Workforce Back on Job at Mill.”  Quad-City Times, May 30, 1975, p.17.

McGrevey, Michael.  “Relatives Keep Riverside Vigil.”  Quad-City Times, May 29,1975, p.1.

Vogel, David M.  “Cranes Clear Wreckage at Mill.”  Quad-City Times, May 26, 1975, p.1.

Wundram, Bill.  “‘Thought it was an Earthquake.’”  Quad-City Times, May 23, 1975, p. 14.

(Posted by Sarah)

9:12am, 25 May, 2010 р.
Amy D. says:
I remember being taken to see the buildings after the explosion. Probably one of my earliest memories. My dad, by chance, saw it happen while standing in an Arsenal parking lot after a lunch meeting.

10:39am, 25 May, 2010 р.
Kay says:
I was working in downtown Davenport and the building shook. My sister worked for another grain company in the area, but knew some of the people who were injured and died.

8:16pm, 5 July, 2010 р.
Nancy says:
I was working for Mast-Keystone in East Village. I was sitting on table in front of a window when the table and window shook.

5:36pm, 23 June, 2011 р.
Bob Shear says:
I was playing “foosball” in a bar & grill across the street from the mill when it exploded. We heard a boom and then the sound of concrete raining outside in the parking lot. A lot of damage to parked cars in the adjacent Eagle Signal lot. It was definitely one of those experiences you never forget.

3:26pm, 31 August, 2011 р.
Alan Booker says:
Not only my first visit to Davenport but, my first day in the USA. On hearing the explosion, the hotel staff told me it was a firing exercise at the arsenal. “Cool”, I thought, grabbed an Arsenal tour brochure and set off.
As I passed the smoking ruin of the mill, I realised that this appeared to be a real disaster and my interest in the arsenal suddenly evaporated. I had been hoping to see big guns beeing tested but suddenly, I was faced with the reality that people must have died in that tragic blast. A very sobering introduction to a country I have come to adore.
OK. It’s not so much the country as the fabulous QC friendships that have endured since that time.
I live in a nice English market town but, given the choice, erm, well I don’t have a green card so I don’t actually have that choice, so I guess I have to stay over here.

3:39pm, 30 October, 2011 р.
Jo says:
I was home from school for lunch (in Bettendorf). We were used to the arsenal testing howitzers. Our house had so many cracks in the plaster that we gave up patching them. This explosion was different in a couple of ways.

First, it was louder and much more intense that the guns, even though they were closer to us. Second, when we found out what had blown up, my whole family breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. It hadn’t been that long before that my dad was working on the roof of the bins, sealing them again the elements. We knew there was a risk to his working so high up, but we weren’t aware that he could have been blown to kingdom come at any moment. As Mom used to say, thank goodness for small favors!

10:40am, 5 March, 2012 р.
Wendy says:
I was gazing out the window of my biology class at Central High School, towards the plant when the explosion occured. I saw a huge flash of light immeadiatly followed by a billowing cloud of black smoke. I heard constant sirens and helicopters after that. I heard when I got home from school that it was the Robin Hood flour plant.


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Photos tell Q-C Airport's story - Quad Cities Online

Photos tell Q-C Airport's story - Quad Cities Online:

"Images of Aviation: Quad City International Airport," by David T. Coopman, published in 2011 by Arcadia Publishing, is a pictorial and historical overview of the local airport at Moline.

A typical page in the 127-page book has two black and white photos with rich text describing their historical implication. A concise introduction to the book describes the high points of the development of the airport to the present day.

The airport started around 1919 in a flat pasture that became known as Franing Field. The operation began with coast-to-coast flights of Army airplanes. But the young airplane enthusiasts known as barnstormers who performed daring aerobatics and gave rides to individuals kept the airport alive.

Many of the wonderful photos were contributed by The Dispatch, the Quad City International Airport and numerous individuals. Photos include people important to airport development, monocoupes, biplanes, tri-motors, passengers planes and military jets, celebrity visitors, construction of the airfield, terminals and other buildings, plus three accidents.

The book divides growth into four sections.

The first, 1922-1934, shows development of Franing Field. Men who developed it learned to fly from J. Wesley Smith, Geneseo. Smith, who flew with the Canadians during WWI, taught Gus DeSchepper, Floyd Ketner and Dr. C.C. Sloan how to fly.

"Rusty" Campbell became manager of the developing airport when Smith left. Many young men and one woman, Phoebe Omlie, became legendary racers. Local barnstormer Vern Roberts became the idol of Charles Lindbergh, who had seen him perform.

The second section, 1935-1952, begins when Moline finally took ownership of the airport. Photos show men working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Depression. The men are getting the field ready for paving runways. Hangars and other buildings are being added. A few air shows are pictured. Vern Roberts, airport manager, created the Moline Air Service in 1942 to train cadet pilots for WWII. A photo shows 600 radial aircraft engines being rebuilt at the airport to be used to power tanks during WWII.

After the war, a rivalry began between Moline and Davenport, which had developed an airport. Both wanted to become the leading regional airport. Coopman quotes a source who said, "population, politics and practical considerations" led to Moline coming out ahead.

A map shows the center of population for the Quad-Cities was in Rock Island at about 5th Avenue and 38th Street There were more industrial users of aviation on the Illinois side. In 1948 the airport became part of the Metropolitan Airport Authority (MAA) and was renamed the Quad City Airport.

Section three, 1953-1984, may be a trip down memory lane for some readers. A new terminal was completed in 1954. There are nostalgic photos of that wonderful 180-degree observation area in that terminal. Visitors could sit and watch planes take off and land with a view of the ramps, taxiways and runways. There is a photo of Tom Balla's Airport Inn restaurant where an hour wait on Sundays was not uncommon. Many kids ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches served with mashed potatoes in that restaurant before heading to that observation deck to dream of flying.

The last section, 1985-present, begins with photos of the building of a new $5.3 million terminal. A photo shows the 1954 terminal still there. In 1986 the Quad-Cities was granted U.S. Custom Port of Entry status. The name wasn't changed to Quad City International Airport to reflect that status until 1997. Photos reflect changes after 9/11. For example, passengers clearing security enter a central atrium area that once was available for the public as an observation opportunity.

Other interesting photos include flight information written on a blackboard in the 1950s; Coal Valley fire department providing services; a 1944 photo-op of Gov. Dwight Green, waiting for a flight, pointing in one direction while airport manager Vern Roberts is pointing in the opposite direction; and aerial photos including one of "Moline" painted on a roof to show pilots what airfield they were flying to or over.

The book is a great overview of the airport but there are some issues. It was disappointing to see Harold Neumann, Geneseo, a prominent racer based in Moline in the late 1920s shown as a 66-year-old in 1972. I discovered his little silver monocoupe at a museum in Oshkosh, Wis., several years ago.

In the Ford Reliability Tour held 1925-1931 to promote flying, Campbell received a perfect score in a Travel Air A in 1925. The book said there was no prize money. Other information indicates he received $350, equivalent to more than $4,500 in 2010 dollars.

The last photo is of Cathie Rochau, marketing representative for the airport, and director of Aviation Bruce Carter, AAE. Carter arrived at the airport to oversee the $18 million terminal improvement in 1999. His celebration over the successful completion was short-lived, according to Coopman. Carter and the rest of the airport had to deal with changes for the airlines and airport brought on by the terrorist attack in September 2001.

(David Coopman will speak about the book on Aug. 8 at the Port Byron Historical meeting at the River Valley library at 7 p.m.)
Marlene Gantt of Port Byron is a former Rock Island school teacher.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Generosity of Fejervary pays for college scholarships today

Fejervary mansion
The count and his mansion overlooking the Mississippi (Danube clone).
His grave in Davenport.

Generosity of Fejervary pays for college scholarships today:

April 05, 2011 5:04 pm  •  Alma Gaul(0) Comments

The mansion of Count Nicholas Fejervary (inset) was converted to an inn when the estate became a city park, and it was torn down in the mid-1930s. It stood about where the parking lot for the Fejervary Park aquatic center is now. (Contributed photos)
(5) More Photos

Q: Why did Nicholas Fejervary settle specifically in Davenport?

A: It's said that he wanted to avoid the commercial Eastern United States and the South's use of slavery, so came to "the West" and to Davenport, which reminded him of Hungary on the Danube River. He moved here when he was 41 years old with a wife and two children.

Q: What was his estate like?

A: He built a mansion of red brick; clay for the brick came from the site. The 21-acre estate had vineyards, an orchard, arbors and a running brook.

The estate was donated to the city in 1902 by Fejervary's daughter for use as a park. It is now about 75 acres, according to the city's website.

Initially, Fejervary's home was converted to an inn, but it was torn down in late 1933 or 1934, according to a brochure published by the now-defunct Fejervary Zoological Society, a support group. The home stood where the parking lot for the swimming pool is now.

The park has been a revolving door of attractions through the years - Monkey Island, Mother Goose Land and a zoo containing various types of animals.

Q: What was Fejervary like?

A: He was described as courtly and dignified, a gentlemen of the old school. He could read and speak English, Latin, Greek, German, Hungarian, French, Spanish, Italian and Sanskrit.

In Hungary, he had been a lawyer and a member of the legislature. It's said that when he came to Davenport, he carried "a gripsack full of gold."

Q: What happened to him and his family?

A: Fejervary died in 1895 at the age of 84 of Bright's disease, an old name for a kidney disease. He was preceded in death by his wife and teenage son. All are buried in Davenport's Oakdale Memorial Gardens. His daughter, Celestine, returned to Hungary. She did not have any descendants, according to Ferenc Beiwal, of Davenport, who researched the family history.

Q: In addition to the charitable trust that established a nursing home and now funds college scholarships, as well as the donation of his estate for a park, what other lasting impacts did Fejervary have on Davenport?

A: He was the driving force behind the raising of money for the Civil War monument on Main Street in Davenport and was described as "one of the makers of Davenport."

In the late 1840s, Count Nicholas Fejervary of Pest, Hungary, could see that the future was dicey for people like him.

A revolution seeking to overthrow his country's Austrian oppressors had failed, and in the aftermath, the property of noblemen such as himself was being confiscated. Worse, friends were being executed.

Fejervary decided to flee Hungary for a new life in America.

In 1853, he landed in Davenport, where he built an estate on land that is now Fejervary Park. He chose the location because the steep bluffs and river overlook reminded him of his home on the Danube River. One of the original buildings remains there today, a three-story carriage barn with fancy windows and trim that needs some repair.

The park is one of several legacies left by Fejervary, who grew his wealth by purchasing more than 3,000 acres of government land in Scott, Cedar and Muscatine counties and selling it at considerable profit.

When he died at age 84, he also established a charitable trust that in recent years has paid thousands of dollars in college scholarships for Scott County students and to various organizations such as Scott County 4-H, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Meal Service of Scott County and the former John Lewis Community Services.

This past fall, the Fejervary trustees filed papers to divest the trust and transfer $1.35 million to the Iowa State University Foundation to create a scholarship program that will provide, in perpetuity, substantial scholarships for students from Scott County majoring in agriculture.

After more than 100 years of administering the trust, the trustees - whose membership rolled over through the years through death and new appointments - decided to end the trust because taxes and administrative costs were draining too much from the principal and interest, and that was not in keeping with Fejervary's intent, according to documents filed in the Scott County Clerk of Court office.

Also, turning funds over to the nonprofit foundation for scholarships would be in keeping with Fejervary's goal of helping those in need and with an affiliation to agriculture. And it would avoid some tax liability for the trust, according to court documents.

By investing the money, Iowa State expects to have about $50,000-$60,0000 available annually for scholarships, and it plans to award almost 20 gifts of $3,000 each, said Paul Caspersen, the executive director of development in the office of gift planning.

He calls that a "tremendous" award, noting that it nearly covers a semester of tuition.

How it began

Scholarship money isn't what Fejervary originally had in mind, though.

His trust was for the building of a Home for Old Farmers of Scott County on 4 1/2 acres of land north of Davenport's Rusholme Street between Grand and Arlington avenues.

The home would provide a place to live for Scott County farmers who had been in agriculture for more than 20 years, were born in the United States, at least 60 years old and indigent, according to his will.

But even in the early years, trustees had trouble finding people who met those requirements.

In documents dated from 1902 to 1904, the trustees reported that the home had just one resident and that staffing by a matron and superintendent was "imprudent" and "extravagant."

By the 1960s, the property had been opened to other people as a nursing home, and it operated as such until 1977, when it was shut down by the Iowa Department of Health for structural noncompliance.

The original building was torn down and a new one was constructed, opening in 1979 and known most recently as Fejervary Healthcare Center.

Meanwhile, year after year, trustees filed documents stating that they had tried unsuccessfully to find - largely through the publication of notices in the Quad-City Times - people who would meet the admission standards laid out by Fejervary.

In 1996, they determined that the original purpose of the trust was "essentially impractical or impossible," so they applied to amend the purpose and beneficiary provision of the trust, and that is when payments to nonprofit groups and scholarships began.

Carriage barn.

Decision to divest

At the same time, taxes were causing trustees to question the future of the trust.

In a 16-year period from January 1979 through December 1994, for example, the trust paid $235,558 in federal and state income taxes, according to documents.

"It is clearly not the settler's intention to set aside money to pay federal and state income tax," the documents state.

Administrative costs related to the trust's investments, as well as accounting and legal services, also were taking their toll, and trustees noted in documents that those costs "may well utilize annually a substantial portion of the income and principal of the trust, thereby defeating the donor's intent."

At the end of 2009, the trust showed total assets of $1,412,871. That included $563,065 received for the sale of land that the former Fejervary Healthcare Center sits on to Skilled Healthcare Inc. of Foothill Ranch, Calif. At the same time, Skilled Healthcare also purchased the 118-unit building, which was held by a different owner, and renamed it St. Mary Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

Most of the Fejevary Trust money was invested in bonds, certificates of deposit, and income, money market and mutual funds.

In October 2010, the trustees filed for termination of the trust and the transfer of money to ISU. Additional monies would go toward annual gifts of $6,000 for 10 years to both Scott and Muscatine Community colleges, documents state.

Benefits yesterday, tomorrow

In this way, the generosity of a man who died more than 100 years ago will benefit the lives of people living today.

Among those who already have benefited are Andrea Engler of rural Wheatland, Iowa, and Dan Klindt, of rural Eldridge, Iowa. Both received $3,000 scholarships from the trust in 1999 to study agricultural business at Iowa State.

Engler, 31, works from her home for the Minneapolis-based Land O Lakes Finance Company, loaning money to people across the country for livestock production enterprises. She and her husband Curt also farm, growing corn, soybeans and hay while raising about 100 stock cows.

Klindt, 32, sells turf products for River City Turf in Silvis, Ill., and farms near Eldridge, raising corn and soybeans.

"I really appreciated the scholarship," he said.

Previous scholarships went to students attending other colleges and universities as well, including Kirkwood Community, Central, Black Hawk, Muscatine Community, Augustana, Wartburg, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the University of Iowa and St. Ambrose University.

Nonprofit groups receiving money since 1996 included the North Scott High School Vocational Agriculture Department for the benefit of FFA, Valley Shelter Homes, the Salvation Army and Friendly House.

Editor's note: Biographical information on Nicholas Fejervary in this article and the accompanying question-and-answer story is from documents in the Special Collections Room of the Davenport Public Library, including an article in the 1928 Palimpsest magazine, a tribute written by Octave Thanet, and the books, "History of Scott County Iowa" and "Biographical History and Portrait Gallery of Scott County Iowa."



Q: Why did Nicholas Fejervary settle specifically in Davenport?

A: It's said that he wanted to avoid the commercial Eastern United States and the South's use of slavery, so came to "the West" and to Davenport, which reminded him of Hungary on the Danube River. He moved here when he was 41 years old with a wife and two children.

Q: What was his estate like?

A: He built a mansion of red brick; clay for the brick came from the site. The 21-acre estate had vineyards, an orchard, arbors and a running brook.

The estate was donated to the city in 1902 by Fejervary's daughter for use as a park. It is now about 75 acres, according to the city's website.

Initially, Fejervary's home was converted to an inn, but it was torn down in late 1933 or 1934, according to a brochure published by the now-defunct Fejervary Zoological Society, a support group. The home stood where the parking lot for the swimming pool is now.

The park has been a revolving door of attractions through the years - Monkey Island, Mother Goose Land and a zoo containing various types of animals.

Q: What was Fejervary like?

A: He was described as courtly and dignified, a gentlemen of the old school. He could read and speak English, Latin, Greek, German, Hungarian, French, Spanish, Italian and Sanskrit.

In Hungary, he had been a lawyer and a member of the legislature. It's said that when he came to Davenport, he carried "a gripsack full of gold."

Q: What happened to him and his family?

A: Fejervary died in 1895 at the age of 84 of Bright's disease, an old name for a kidney disease. He was preceded in death by his wife and teenage son. All are buried in Davenport's Oakdale Memorial Gardens. His daughter, Celestine, returned to Hungary. She did not have any descendants, according to Ferenc Beiwal, of Davenport, who researched the family history.

Q: In addition to the charitable trust that established a nursing home and now funds college scholarships, as well as the donation of his estate for a park, what other lasting impacts did Fejervary have on Davenport?

A: He was the driving force behind the raising of money for the Civil War monument on Main Street in Davenport and was described as "one of the makers of Davenport."

'via Blog this'

The Count.

The mansion.


Celestine Fejérváry


Mrs Fejérváry, Karolina Kárász, came from an ancient, prominent and prosperous family in Hungary. The family lived in Horgos, then in Hungary, in Yugoslavia after World War 1. Of the 14 children her parents had, only she and brother Imre survived into adulthood. Her father, intent on alleviating the devastation of the pestilence, was planning to found an orphanage, but early death prevented his plans. Karolina was going to carry out the plans, but her marriage to Nicholas Fejervary and their emigration to the US put her plans on hold. She left her daughter, Celestine Fejervary, with a legacy to carry out the plans. Karolina died in 1890 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport, Ia.

Celestine was born in 1848 in Budapest, Hungary. She was named after Celestine Dvornikovich, who was her father's aunt. (This aunt was like a mother to Nicholas Fejervary since his real mother died four weeks after his birth.) Celestine was the second child of the family, following the birth of Nicholas Jr. in 1847. In 1863 she became the surviving child, since Nicholas Jr. passed away that year. He fought in the Civil War on the Union side, but the circumstances of his death are unclear. He is buried with his parents in Davenport.

In her formative years Celestine attended church with her mother at St Mary's Catholic Church in West Davenport. At times she walked there with a friend, Susan Glaspell (later a Pulitzer prize winning author). In 1883 the church acquired a new organ, built by the Moline Pipe Organ Co. At the opening concert Miss Celestine Fejervary was one of the organists, probably instrumental in selecting two scores for the program by Franz Liszt, her compatriot. Celestine then became the main organist of the church.

In 1888, using her assets in Hungary, Karolina set up a foundation in her will to build an orphanage in Horgos. Following Karolina's death in 1890, Celestine carried out her mother's wishes, and deposited 91,600 florins in the foundation. The orphanage, run by an order of teaching nuns, was opened in 1898 for 20 girls.

In 1893 she visited Europe and in Belgium acquired a painting for St Mary's, still the altar piece at the church. The painting is a copy of Raphael's "Assumption of the Blessed Virgin", painted by Guido Rene, an 18th century court artist for the King of Belgium.

In 1895 Count Fejervary died, leaving a large estate for his daughter. The following year Celestine returned to Hungary, presumably to Horgos. She retained the Fejervary family's holdings in Davenport, and only in 1902 offered the family mansion and the surrounding 23 acres to the City of Davenport. We know of only one trip back to Davenport: in 1906 she returned, bringing her niece on a tour of America. That was probably the occasion when Celestine brought the Cezanne painting, Boy with the Red Vest, as a gift for Alice French, her friend. (Alice French was another accomplished local writer. She was known to have visited the White House, was a good friend of Andrew Carnegie, and others. Many details of Celestine's life come from a biography of Alice, where their correspondence is referenced.)

In 1912 Celestine added 63,00 krones and 132 acres of land to the orphanage foundation to double its size. There was space now for forty orphans and very poor girls to attend elementary school (6 to 12 years of age), and to learn home economics (12 to 16).

In 1914 the war broke out. In a letter Celestine asked Alice for help in disposing some Fejervary property. Alice agreed and also organized aid drives for Hungarian war wounded. She organized sewing and knitting groups and was instrumental in arranging the sending of supplies to Hungary by the local chapter of the American Red Cross. Still later Alice organized a Fejervary Committee to continue a program of aid. In 1915 Celestine turned the Karasz mansion in Horgos into a nursing home for wounded soldiers.

In 1917 the US entered the war, and Hungary was now an enemy. That year, the rest of the Fejervary estate was ceased by the Federal Government, as alien property. Alice opposed the seizure by organizing petitions to return the property to its rightful owner, who after all was an American citizen. With the war over, in 1921 Alice succeeded. In response to a petition with 6,000 signatures Celestine was granted $10,000 for the property seized by the Government.

The above episode is the last mention of Celestine in Alice's biography. The biography stretches to 1934, when Alice passed away. It would be reasonable to suppose that at the conclusion of the war, Celestine would move North, as Horgos and the district of Bánság (now Vojvodina) became part of Yugoslavia. She moved to Mezöberény, Hungary, and died there on Nov 4, 1937. Efforts are under way to find information about her life in that community.

Other members of the Karasz family stayed and are still living in Horgos, YA, and the surrounding area. On Oct 10, 1945 the advancing Russian troops marched into Horgos and "liberated" the village. The new communist regime confiscated the holdings of the Karasz family and the nuns were turned out of the orphanage. At first the buildings were used as soldiers' barracks. In 1949 the orphanage became a grade school. In 1966 the orphanage, still a school, was renovated and enlarged. In 1969 the Karasz mansion too was modified into classrooms. To honor the Russian liberators and the new order, the communist leadership named the school The Oktober 10 Elementary School. It was to remind the village forever of their benefactors. In 2002, the school's name remains, even though the communist influence subsided. Villagers are regaining their freedom, and are ready to part with the names and institutions imposed upon them. Some of them feel that the Fejervary-Karasz name for their elementary school would pay homage to the families who contributed so much to the history of their village and school. That is why in 2002 an email message arrived in the Davenport City Hall. It requested information about Fejervary descendents. Subsequent contact with Horgos indicated that they would like to establish contact with Davenport, perhaps on a formal or semiformal level. They intend to publish a pamphlet on the history of the Davenport – Horgos connection.

In July 2003 a package was received from Zoltan Nagygyorgy, the Horgos district historian. It contained the Karasz family tree; four beautiful postcards (color) of Horgos historic sites; three illustrated pamphlets on Horgos history, and of a colorful periodical published in Hungarian; a brochure about the local farmers COOP; articles reflecting the recent relations of the Hungarian minority with the Yugoslavian majority; and finally the book Beszelo Multunk* noted below. This book of 256 pages contains an abundance of information and illustration beside the three articles also noted below. Contents of the package will be offered to the Davenport Public Library.

Ferenc Beiwel, Davenport, 9/2/03.


Octave Thanet, Nicholas Fejervary in Memoria, A Tribute of Affection and Respect (Budapest, Hungary, 1898.)
George McMichael, A Journey to Obscurity, 1965 (a biography of Alice French, also known as Octave Thanet, her literary name.)
William L. Smith, ST. Mary's Church 1867 - 1967
Istvan Palatinus, A Karasz Csalad es Horgos Telepitesenek Tortenete, 1995. (About The Karasz Family and the Resettlement of Horgos)*
Ilona Karasz, A Horgosi Arvahaz es a Zarda Kronikaja, 1995.(The Story of the Horgos Orphanage and Convent)*
Imre Taborosi, Fejezetek Horgos Oktatasugyenek Tortenetebol, 1995. (Chapters from the History of Educational Institutions in Horgos)*
* All three of these works were published in Beszelo Multunk (Our Past Speaks), (Ujvidek, Yugoslavia, 1995)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Which Moliner Said Mayberry Was Just Like the Town Where He Grew Up - Only Moline Was a Real Place?
Andy Griffith Died. His Show Spun Off Mayberry RFD

Spock, in the military, got Berry interested in Hollywood.

Legendary television actor Andy Griffith dead at 86, reports say | Fox News:

Legendary television actor Andy Griffith, who made a name for himself with his self-titled comedy "The Andy Griffith Show" and later on the long-running series “Matlock,” has died at the age of 86, according to multiple reports.

Griffith was rushed to a North Carolina hospital by an EMS team after they were called to his Roanoke home Tuesday morning. The actor’s close friend, former UNC President Bill Friday, confirmed the news to several sources, including TMZ and a local NBC affiliate.

The details surrounding the cause of his death were not immediately available.

Griffith first gained prominence in Hollywood after appearing in the Elia Kazan film “A Face in the Crowd.”
In 1960, he played the lead character in “The Andy Griffith Show,”  where he became a household name and a staple of American television. The show ran until 1968.

In 1986, he returned to television with the long-running series, “Matlock.”

He was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George Bush.

Read more:

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When I read about Ken Berry on his website, many details about Moline echoed what others have said and I have thought:

"Ken Berry was already five-eighths of the way to Mayberry when he was born in Moline, Ill., on November 3, 1933. Kenneth Ronald Berry was the second child (joining sister Dona Rae) of Bernice and Eugene Darrell Berry, who at the time of Ken’s birth was an accountant for John Deere Company."

Early career:
"When I got the job and it took me away from home, that must have been very hard for my parents," Ken says. "But they were very supportive and it was really a thrilling experience for me. After the Horace Heidt show, I came back and finished high school in Moline. I used to drive up to Chicago once a week and take a voice lesson and a tap lesson in the same studio. But that didn’t last very long. After graduation, I went back out to California to look for work. And I didn’t get much at all."

Mayberry as Brigadoon
About Mayberry, Ken says, "It’s a wonderful place to visit and people would fantasize about living there. It’s a place like Brigadoon that shows up every hundred years. It’s a place you dream about living, but you know it’s fantasy and you don’t care."

Mayberry Like Moline
He adds, "I grew up among people very much like that -- a bigger town, but not much bigger -- and the neighborhood was very much like that and the people were very much like those characters. And it was fun for me to visit, too. It was one of my favorite half hours ever on television and that was long before I met Andy."


GJ - My wife Chris and I talk about how much we enjoyed the 40th reunion of the MHS 66 class. She has always felt a part of my class, even though she met them after graduation, when we were at Augustana.

We have had a number of discussions with people on Facebook. The common theme is how pleasant people were to each other in Moline. It is no surprise that Ken Berry had the same experience earlier.

My father knew many people from work and from graduating from MHS. We had a lapboard where all his classmates inscribed their names with a woodburner. All his classmates seemed to be named Eric Johnson, John Ericson, Eric Ericson, John Johnson, Sven Svenson, Sven Ericson, Eric Svenson, John Svenson, etc.

Once we were discussing a local politician, and dad said, "I cannot believe he would be like that. His father was one of my teachers. His word was his bond."

With my mother in the Moline school system and my father in business, I was connected to everyone - one way or another. The kindly attitude was expressed in many different ways. When I went to Augustana College, a bike ride away, my mother's classmates were there.

The daughter of Dr. Andreen taught education at Augustana. "Are you going to be a teacher, too?" she asked. I said, "No, never."

Later I learned that Dr. Andreen left his position as a noted professor at Yale to become president of a threadbare college on the banks of the Mississippi. The little portable college, which barely survived, has become one of the best liberal arts colleges in America. Looking back, we can see how much people sacrificed to create a better life for future generations. I wonder if the same will be said about us Boomers.

I can imagine Ken Berry recognizing the fictional characters of Mayberry being so much like Moliners. I will have to write about them too.

Some future posts will include the Flood, and the burial place of Charles Dickens' son.

Brigadoon: "It's Almost Like Being in Love."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

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