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Bed 1.HEIC

Room Histories


Gustav Stickley


Germany was little more than a vague term encompassing a collection of states with one common language when the Third Reich was established in 1871. This lack of national identity contributed to a long-term immigration pattern to the United States that did not abate until the early 20th century. The United States Census Bureau recorded six million Germans entering the United States between 1820 and 1925, the highest number of immigrants from any country, including Ireland

and England. One-third (38,555) of the foreign born in Iowa in 1860 were born in Germany. The number of German-born or those of German descent had increased to 410,000 by 1910. Wisconsin was also a favorite settling place for immigrants.

The father of the American Arts and Crafts movement was born to two of these German immigrants -- Leopold and Barbara Schlaeger Stoeckel. Gustav Stickley was born March 9, 1858 in Osceola, Wisconsin, the oldest child of Leopold and Barbara. As a young man, Stickley moved to Binghamton, New York and with his brothers Charles and Albert opened Stickley Brothers Company in 1884, a wholesale and retail furniture business. Two years later they added a chair factory and in 1889, Gustav left his brothers for other endeavors. He 

Gustav Stickley Room

returned to the furniture making business in 1892 with his new partner and formed the Stickley Simonds Company in Eastwood, New York, on the site of his future Craftsman workshops. It was in these workshops that Stickley put into action

Gustav Stickley Room

the ideas of the English Arts and Crafts masters, William Morris and John Ruskin, who he so admired. He furthered his work through Craftsman magazine, his personal vehicle for communicating his philosophies on furniture design and life. He insisted the term "Craftsman" better defined his hand-crafted furniture as "mission" was a cruder, mass-produced imitation.

Also honored in this room dedicated to Gustav Stickley are German immigrants who made Perry their home. Maria Bills was just 10 years old when she and her family because their escape from a Germany ravaged by World War II and overrun with soldiers and other fleeing Nazism. After six years of separation from her family and recovering from wounds

inflicted by celebrating Russian soldiers, her family settled on the Seth Dayton farm south of Perry in 1951. She raised five children and made Perry her home until she died in 1993. 

A. D. Mohr immigrated to the United States in 1896 by himself at the age of 16. After finishing school and working in Slater, Iowa, he graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1920. He served as pastor of Perry Baptist Church, living with his family in the church parsonage on Lucinda Street from 1930-1935. Youngest son, Robert, followed in his father's footsteps, founding Airport Baptist Church in Des Moines and delivering the invocation at the grand re-opening of the Hotel Pattee in 1997.



The Stravropol Krai sister-state relationship with Iowa has the distinction of being the first such relationship between Russia and the United States.


Established in June 1988, after a trip to Russia made by Governor Terry Branstad the year before, the Iowa-Stravropol Krai relationship was a natural pairing. Founded in 1777 near a series of fortresses, Stavropol Krai is located in the Caucasus Mountains between the Caspian and Black Seas. Unlike most of Iowa's sister-state relationships, Iowa and Stavropol Krai were of similar size, population, and industry base: agriculture. Like Iowa, Stravropol Krai was also made up of small rural communities.

Iowa and Stravropol Krai had capitalized on this similarity in ways that other state relationships were unable to. In addition to seminars on efficient farming given in each state, Iowa had 

Russian Room

an Iowa Agribusiness Center and an Iowa farm in Stavropol.

Long before the relationship between Iowa and Stavropol was formed, however, Iowa and the former Soviet Union found themselves linked. On a controversial trip to Iowa to visit the farm of Roswell Garst in Coon Rapids on September 23, 1959 (Coon Rapids is located in Carroll County, approximately 30 miles west of Perry), Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev traveled through Perry in a motorcade. Residents of Perry lined Willis Avenue and students were excused from school as the cars carrying Krushchev, hi wife, and two daughters passed through Perry on their way to the Garst farm for lunch.

Iowa's pioneering relationship with Russia spawned numerous sister-city relationships throughout Iowa: Des Moines and Stavropol City, Marshalltown and Budennovsk, Muscatine and Kislovodsk, Dubuque and Pyatigorsk, Grinnell and Zheleznovodsk, Osage and Lermontov, Algona and Novopavlovsk, and Iowa Falls and Georglevsk.



As the Industrial Revolution picked up steam, factory work, machinery, and the poor working conditions often associated with them were seen by some as impersonal and therefore, immoral and empty. These critics claimed that ugly, uniform objects without variation were the antithesis of art and hand-made objects. Repetitive, unchallenging task numbed and dulled the mind. The challenge and variety of working with your hands, of using your creativity, they said, was stimulating and healthy and, ultimately, encouraged people to work harder.


The Arts and Crafts Movement began in England as a moral outrage against mind-numbing mass production and poor working conditions. In an attempt to create a healthy relationship between labor and moral character, woodworking was looked on in a new light. Handmade furniture and decorations were seen as coming straight from the soul and were considered the highest art form. 

Two types of people who had the most experience with this kind of work were farmers and farm wives. Both worked with their hands and understood the value of integrity and hard work. As Iowa is in the middle of rich farmland, the results of the Arts and Crafts Movement and woodworking are evident here. In fact, this hotel is a prime example.

Woodworking Room featuring a new quilt by Perry Piecemakers Quilt Guild

The Arts and Crafts Movement was at the height of its popularity when the Pattee brother, Harry and William, built the Hotel Pattee. The hotel was built with the finest wood available, fashioned with the finest tools, techniques, and shop practices money could buy. The highest quality furniture decorated the hotel's interior and sent the message that the hotel was a warm and welcoming place to stay. The restoration of the Hotel Pattee imitates this style with the mahogany paneling and Arts and Crafts furniture style.

This guest room was constructed, designed, and decorated by some of the finest craftsmen in the state and in Perry.



Once again, the story of Italian immigration to the United States is mirrored in the stories of other European ethnic groups. Italians left the northern and southern provinces of their country primarily to escape chronic economic problems. Iowa coal mines provided employment for immigrants from northern Italy similar to the iron, lead, and zinc mines they left behind while the railroads provided employment for their brothers to the south. 


Little Italies sprang up in almost every county in Iowa while Italian immigrants in the cities established retail businesses to serve their laboring countrymen. Many of these businessman originated from provinces such as Genoa, Tuscany, Venetia, Lombardy, and Piedmont.

Many immigrants from the southern portion of Italy had definite ideas about where they were going when they left their country. With their passages prepaid by padrones, these immigrants headed straight for Des Moines without stopping anywhere in the United States first. When the padrone was paid off through a pre-arranged length of service, the immigrants found their own jobs.

Italian Room featuring a new quilt by Perry Piecemakers Quilt Guild

In addition to railroads, coal mines, and retail businesses, Italian immigrants could be found in brick and tile yards, woolen mills, tailoring, shoe repair, barber shops, and grocery stores. These immigrants found their new home in Iowa to be similar

Italian Room

to the one they left behind. Both Iowa and Italy share principal crops of corn and wheat and livestock of cattle, pigs, and sheep.

In the early 1900s there was a shift by Italian immigrants away from the city centers to outlying suburban areas. This also allowed the immigrants to move into larger homes and realize more of the American dream.


Southeast Asian


Iowa's sister state relationship with Kuala Terengganu, located on the northeast coast of Malaysia, was established in 1987. But influences from Southeast Asian culture could be found in Iowa as early as mid-1970s.

Refugees from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, fleeing communism in their home countries, began arriving in Iowa in 1977.

Many of these immigrants were well established in their homelands and lost much in leaving. They took low-paying jobs in Iowa, the jobs no one else wanted, and made do without luxuries. With money saved through this spartan lifestyle, the immigrants were able to buy cars and homes. Many accomplished this without taking public assistance.

This assimilation was not easy for all as recounted by the Des Moines Tribune in March 1980: "...(they had) seldom seen an indoor toilet, these hill farmers who assumed that everyone stops work for however long it takes to properly celebrate a birth or a wedding." By 1984, Iowa Beef Packers (IBP) was starting to hire groups of refugees from Laos and other southeast Asian countries.

Southeast Asian Room

In the 1990s, Terengganu had a population of 540,000 housed within a land mass less than one-tenth the size of Iowa. With 60 percent of the population under the age of 24, education exchanges were an important part of Iowa's relationship with Terengganu. Consequently, more than 200 Malaysians studied at Iowa State University. Iowa's relationship with Terengganu began as a friendship and grew to encompass business concerns such as veterinary medicine, economic development, sports, and art exchanges. Silk manufacturing was the largest industry in Terengganu and the area is known world-wide for its batik (the art of fabric painting with wax). The oil industry also has a strong presence in Terengganu.



According to the 10th Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, a chautauqua is "an institution that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries providing popular education combined with entertainment in the form of lectures, concerts, and plays often presented outdoors or in a tent." This educational storm hit Perry, as well as the entire country, by force in the early 1900s.

Chautauqua Room featuring a new quilt by Perry Piecemakers Quilt Guild

Following the lead of Chautauqua System founders Lewis Miller and the Rev. John H. Vincent, C. Durant Jones established The Jones Chautauqua System in 1910, eventually headquartering it in The Jones Building in Perry. That first year, The Jones Chautauqua visited 39 towns in Iowa and employed 18 people. By 1911, the tour had extended to include 63 towns and 40 employees.

The System eventually drew one million people each summer, grew to include 130 towns in Iowa and became Perry's second largest employer. In so doing, the producers of these shows traveled in excess of half of a million miles a year and accrued $20,000 in travel expenses. By 1922, the Perry 

Independent Chautauqua had replaced Jones' operation but continued Perry's tradition of chautauqua success. The summer 1928 was considered the most successful season in the history of the Perry Independent.

Originally founded as a vacation school for Sunday School teachers, the Chautauqua Movement in 1874 had become a uniquely American development in adult education. It pioneered classes for young people, correspondence courses, and the reading of "great books." By the 1880s, the Chautauqua Platform was known as a national forum for discussing current events, economics, international relations, literature, science, and religion. Systems like the Perry Independent Chautauqua and the Jones Chautauqua (the most rapidly growing of any system) are the result of this pioneering idea and America's love of learning.

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