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What Is Your Community’s Claim to Fame?

Here are answers received in response to the PM Bulletin Board question posed on page 2 of the March 2004 issue of Public Management magazine: What is your community best known for?

The Bulletin Board announcement noted that Hastings, Nebraska, is the birthplace of Kool-Aid; New Holland tractors are from New Holland, Pennsylvania; and Hershey Foods Corporation is based in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Take note of these distinguished places:

 

Galesburg, Illinois, a council-manager community since 1957, is known for several things. The inventor of the Ferris wheel, George Washington Gale Ferris, was born and is buried in Galesburg. World-famous poet and author Carl Sandburg was born here, and his ashes are in Galesburg. And both Ronald Reagan and his (future) wife Nancy Davis Reagan lived in Galesburg as children.

- Gary Goddard, City Manager (garygoddard@usa.net

Andover, Massachusetts, is best known as the home of the Phillips Academy, the song “America,” and the author Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In 1778, a young Harvard graduate named Samuel Phillips, Jr., the grandson of the first minister of the town’s South Parish, convinced his father and uncles to supply the funds for a new school for boys. From its humble beginnings of educating a handful of boys in a remodeled carpenter’s shop, Phillips Academy, Andover, has become one of the premier private coeducational prep schools in the nation. Abbot Academy, a school for girls, was founded in 1829 and merged with Phillips Academy in 1973.

In 1807, the Massachusetts General Court authorized the founding of the Andover Theological Seminary, which remained in Andover for 100 years, training missionaries for the Orient and the Pacific islands. An agreement was reached in 1908 with Harvard Divinity School to move Andover Theological seminary to Cambridge, and the school’s land and buildings were purchased by Phillips Academy. In 1931, the seminary joined with the Newton Theological Seminary to become the Andover-Newton Theological Seminary.

In 1832, Samuel F. Smith, a 24-year-old student at Andover Theological Seminary, wrote the words of the song “America” while living in what is now called the America house, located at 137 Main Street.

An old carpenter shop of the Andover Theological Seminary, where students once made coffins, was remodeled in 1852 as a home for Professor Calvin E. and Harriet Beecher Stowe. It originally stood on Chapel Avenue on the site of the present Andover Inn, built in 1929, when the Stowe House was moved to its current location at 80 Bartlet Street.

In this house, Mrs. Stowe wrote the books Dred and Pink and White Tyranny and supervised the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The house, now known as Stowe House, is a Phillips Academy residence. Mrs. Stowe is buried in the cemetery at Phillips.

- Steven Bucuzzo, Assistant Town Manager (sbucuzzo@town.andover.ma.us)

Here are some of the “claims to fame” that can be found on the Key to the City Web site at www.usacitiesonline.com:

Holyoke, Massachusetts, is where volleyball was invented in 1895, and Galesburg, Illinois, is where tinkertoys were invented in 1914. The hamburger sandwich was invented at the Seymour, Wisconsin, fair in the 1880s. Watertown, Wisconsin, had the first kindergarten in the United States, and Bennefontaine, Ohio, is the home of the first concrete street in the U.S. Among other events, the Web site also notes that Dublin, Texas, is the home of the first Dr. Pepper bottling company, and that the song “Jingle Bells” was written in Savannah, Georgia. The oldest functioning airport in the U.S. is in College Park, Maryland.