A Memorial Page Dedicated to Our Beautiful City

President Reagan’s Monmouth Memories

PRESIDENT REAGAN’S MONMOUTH MEMORIES Although Ronald Reagan only lived in Monmouth just over one year, it was an important and formative year in the life of the future president. The year 1918, when seven-year-old “Dutch” Reagan moved to Monmouth, would be a memorable time for everyone in the Maple City, let alone an impressionable young…
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Monmouth’s John Wayne Connection

MONMOUTH’S JOHN WAYNE CONNECTION If the Rev. David A. Wallace can be considered the architect of Monmouth College, then the Rev. Marion Morrison would have to be considered his general contractor. Born in Ohio in 1821, Morrison met Wallace at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where they were dormitory roommates and graduated in 1846. Ten…
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Late-Night ‘Pizza Call’ Devastated Downtown Monmouth

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. When an arson fire damaged Monmouth’s Security Savings & Loan building on April 11, 1974, bank president Ralph Whiteman was probably relieved he was on an aircraft carrier in Oakland, California, performing exercises as a Navy Reserve officer. That’s because a week before…
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Pearl Harbor Anniversary Recalls Bravery Of Monmouth Men

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. In the 20th century, two Monmouth men made their mark on history on a tiny Pacific island 4,000 miles from the Maple City—about two decades apart. The island was Oahu, and each of the men exhibited bravery of a unique sort near its…
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Post Office Replaced Monmouth’s Longest-Operating Hotel

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. Monmouth’s first hotel, built in 1833, was a log tavern with a half-story second floor used for sleeping. Because there was minimal commerce in the early days, hotel patrons were often lawyers and judges riding the circuit to attend court in the Warren…
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Oquawka Publisher Sought Partnership with Edgar Allan Poe

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. In the middle of the Bronx in New York City is a bustling neighborhood known as Fordham. In 1848, it was a sleepy rural village without even a post office, and perhaps its only claim to fame was a famous resident—the poet, author…
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The Man Behind Pi Beta Phi’s Holt House

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. Monmouth has long been a Republican town, but a few of its most influential citizens during its early years were in fact Democrats. Among them were banker and industrialist Judge Ivory Quinby, newspaper publisher Alexander H. Swain, attorney James W. Davidson, plow inventor…
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The Tin Goose

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. If you recall the original Monmouth Airport, which operated on North 6th Street between 1922 and 1967, chances are the name “Tin Goose” still evokes fond memories. Although unusual, the nickname aptly describes a very special Ford Tri-Motor airplane that flew from that…
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Current Monmouth City Hall Built To Last

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. To earn the trust of their customers, banks have traditionally constructed sturdy buildings with architecture reflecting strength and permanence. Evidence of that can be found in Monmouth’s current city hall building, which originally housed a bank and still stands proudly after more than…
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Monmouth Man Brought Ben-Hur To the Stage

MONMOUTH MAN BROUGHT ‘BEN-HUR’ TO THE STAGE Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and literary critic William Dean Howells was nicknamed “The Dean of American Letters,” but for a few months following Howells’ death in May 1920, that title was transferred to another literary titan who was born and raised in Monmouth.…
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Great Monmouth Fire

GREAT MONMOUTH FIRE’ PRECEDED CHICAGO BLAZE BY MONTHS (Picture courtesy of medium.com) Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian On Oct. 8, 1871, a devastating fire destroyed more than three square miles of the city of Chicago, leveling 17,500 buildings and leaving 100,000 people homeless. Monmouth residents hearing the news of the Great Chicago Fire could empathize,…
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Firemen’s Contests Were Source Of City Pride In 19th Century

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. America has always loved spectator sports, so it’s not surprising that in the days before organized athletic teams, horse racing was hugely popular, as was a unique competition involving men and machines—firemen’s races. The rivalries between cities were intense, as engine companies, hose…
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