Saturday, February 27, 2021

Review of "Sixty Sketches of Iowa’s Past & Present," by William J. Wagner

 Review of

Sixty Sketches of Iowa’s Past & Present, by William J. Wagner

Five out of five stars

A history lesson constructed from sketches of structures

 Iowa was a state that possessed a great deal of natural building materials, from native lumber to stone. When Europeans started moving into the state, they initially built temporary structures, but it was not long before more permanent ones were constructed. Schoolhouses, churches and government buildings were generally built to last. Homes of the wealthier class were also solidly built, so well put together that many were still in use a century after construction.  Several  famous people were born or lived in Iowa, among them Wyatt Earp, Herbert Hoover and Mamie Eisenhower.

William Wagner was a sketch artist that spent his time making drawings of famous, even if only locally, buildings in the state of Iowa. Sixty of those sketches appear in this book along with lengthy textual explanations of why the building is famous. While some of them were in good shape at the time they were drawn, others appeared to be in decline. Fortunately, most of them have been taken over by people or organizations that are dedicated to preserving them.

 There is a lot of local history in this book. Since overall history is made up from a series of overlapping local events, there is a great deal of the history of the state of Iowa in this book.

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