Come in and see the unique history of Southwest Iowa with many different exhibits and buildings including:
Birthplace of 3H and 4H
Follow the work of Jessie Field Shambaugh who was superintendent when Page County was recognized as “The Best Rural Schools in America.” She pioneered the Boys’ Corn Club and the Girls’ Home Club which developed into 3H and 4H.
Reminisce at the Goldenrod School where Jessie Field Shambaugh taught the basics and established after school groups for Boys and Girls on alternate days to teach corn germination testing techniques and domestic skills. This school is on the National Registry of Historic Places and remains much the same as it did in 1901.
The Page County Orphan Train Story
The greatest children’s migration in the history of the United States took place during the seventy-five years from 1854-1929. Orphan and impoverished children were transported from the overcrowded eastern cities to the vast mid-western farmlands. A young minister named Charles Loring Brace and the Children’s Aid Society of New York City pioneered the “placing out movement” which sought to place deserving, healthy orphans into nurturing farm homes. There they would be welcomed and given a good upbringing in a proper moral setting. The Society specified that the children were to be housed, fed, clothed, educated and given religious training. Clarinda and dozens of other Iowa towns became known as the “Orphan Trains.” Nearly 10,000 children found new homes in Iowa before the Depression and changing laws ended the migration.
Very little is know about the first Society placing out in this area. Willie “The Kid” Moran arrived in Clarinda in March of 1881. The 12 year old was placed with G. A. Miller where he worked on the farm for several years. Willie left the farm to travel in the far west, returning in 1897. Tragically, Willie spent the next seven years here in the State Hospital. His later life is unknown.
Sarah Hunt, (1894-1990) an Orphan Train Rider to Sidney, Iowa in 1904, became the wife of Hal Maxwell and step-mother to Hollywood Actress, Marilyn Maxwell. She was a Western Union telegrapher in Clarinda for nineteen years.
An orphan train from the Children’s Aid Society came to Clarinda December 15, 1922 with a precious cargo of twelve sleepy children led by Miss Clara Comstock, the Society’s Agent for the state of Iowa. The Clarinda Herald reported that at the appointed time the children were taken to the Methodist Church to be introduced to an eager crowd. One little boy, asked why he came said, “To find a mamma.” Arthur Fields “was bundled up tightly to go to a home north of Clarinda” to the Worley Smith home on North Twelfth Street where he found a new brother, Cecil and was later adopted.
The Colowski brothers were fortunate to find homes. Alexander (1916-1988) was adopted into the Harry Douthit family and was called Alexander Douthit. Walter (1918-1950) was adopted by the Roy Beavers family. He was called Harold R. Beavers, became an army captain and was killed in Korea.
The placements of some of the other children were temporary and little is known about them: Howard Blizzard (6) and Ethel Blizzard (12) went to the Armstrong home – near Blanchard. Bryon Stevens to the Schoonover’s – near Clearfield. Mary and Anna Brodie to the Hoyt home – to Clarinda.
James Leroy Smith to the Scroggs home – in Clarinda. Carrie Adams to Roy Baker’s home – west of Clarinda. Isabel and Harry Adams to the Swanson home – east of Stanton. In 1987 Mary Ellen Johnson, established The Orphan Train Heritage Society of America, Inc., to gather and preserve the stories of orphan train riders nationwide. The Society is located at: 614 E. Emma Ave. Suite 115 Springdale, AR 72764-4634, Tel. (479) 756-2780
Page County Courthouse Clock
Listen and watch the same clock and bell that called the children to classes at the Clarinda South School Building in 1875. The School was razed in 1922 and the clock was and the clock was placed in the Page County Courthouse until the tower was removed in 1951. After forty years in storage it has been put back into working order for our visitors enjoyment. Plan to be in the museum on the hour or on the half hour to see the mechanism work.
See that changes in our habitat have been as dramatic as our cultural and political heritage. Using the Page County History of 1880 as a basis, our display shows the fauna and flora of southwest Iowa and emulates the results of man’s use to the land. Animal Mounts from other areas are also displayed.
Page County Band
The love and enthusiasm for music was instilled to three generations by Maj. George Landers as he taught and organized musical groups throughout the community. Towns nationwide today benefit from his foresight in authoring the Iowa Band Law which enables municipality to provide for summer band concerts and lessons.
Wheels of Progress
The modes of transportation and use of agricultural machines have changes from horse-drawn to power driven equipment. From the first sod breaker called the “Clarinda Queen” made in 1856 by a local blacksmith to ninety years of fire-fighting equipment, our exhibits show the remarkable ingenuity of man.
Clarinda A’s Baseball
Experience college-level baseball played by the A’s as part of the National Baseball Congress. Memorabilia of the 1981 National NBC Champions is displayed. See the beginning of outstanding careers for Ozzie Smith, Von Hayes, Bud Black, and Mark Williamson who are some of the Clarinda A’s who play in the big leagues.
Birthplace of Glenn Miller
Three generations of the Miller family lived in the Clarinda vicinity before Alton Glenn Miller was born in 1904. Family memorabilia as well as reminders of the Big Band Era of the 1930s and 1940s are displayed by the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society at the Museum. The birthplace home is located on South 16th Street between the museum and the town square.
You can also research the following here at the Nodaway Valley Museum:
Genealogy – family and community histories
Marriage, birth & death records
Newspapers, pictures & tapes