A Memorial Page Dedicated to Our Beautiful City

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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Monmouth Girl Fell Under Spell Of ‘Hindoo Palmist’

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. (picture courtesy of medium.com) Near the turn of the 20th century, the occult science of palmistry experienced a renaissance in the Western world through the efforts of a celebrated Irish astrologer named William John Warner. As a teenager, he had traveled to India,…
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‘Uncle Dick’ Was World’s Oldest Active Methodist Minister

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. Monmouth’s historic Quinby House was the home of a founder of Monmouth College. What is perhaps less well known is that it was also the home of a founder of a Big 10 university. Built in 1867 by Judge Ivory Quinby, a charter…
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Mayo Williams Broke Racial Barriers

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. The richness of Monmouth’s African American heritage has not been adequately addressed in this column. As we observe Black History Month this February, the story of one remarkable black figure from our past is particularly worth celebrating. Mayo Williams was a trailblazer in…
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Henderson County—The Steel Capital Of The Midwest?

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. Lomax Township in southwestern Henderson County is a quiet rural area containing fewer than 400 homes. That’s a far cry from the vision of an entrepreneur named Thompson McCosh, who at the turn of the 20th century believed he could establish an iron…
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Forgotten Monmouth College Chemist Left Scientific Legacy

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. Monmouth College’s chemistry department is the stuff of legend, thanks largely to three legendary chemistry professors who helped elevate its reputation to national status. William S. Haldeman, who taught from 1918 until 1952, established a revolving loan program that allowed 88 of his…
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Frontier Judge Assisted Women’s Fraternity Movement

Story courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. Monmouth College is remarkable for its history of serving as beacon for women’s equality. While colleges in the mid-19th century typically often did not admit women on an equal basis with men—if at all—female students were welcomed at Monmouth from its inception. They…
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Black and White Coal Mine

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. In recent decades, Monmouth College professors have partnered with outside parties on agricultural research, with projects ranging from making channel catfish grow faster to improving the nitrogen content of soil. But 150 years ago, one of the most unlikely partnerships between a Monmouth…
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When Peanuts Inspired Parades, Posh Parties

Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic. Consider the lowly peanut. It’s fed to squirrels and elephants. It’s long been a staple of cheap ballpark fare and it’s also been used to describe a gallery of inexpensive vaudeville seats containing rowdy hecklers. Yet for nearly 60 years, it served as…
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