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A rare gem

Posted August 14, 2013 in Community Featured, Winterset
George Berry’s home on East South Street is an historical hidden treasure.

George Berry’s home on East South Street is an historical hidden treasure.

Most homes can be categorized according to their style and time period. Not George Berry’s. His home is a historical hidden treasure. It is a rare gem in excellent condition for its 150-plus years.

In approximately 1858, nine years after Winterset’s plot lines were established, Berry’s native limestone home was moved stone by stone from the country to its current location at 110 E. South St. He doesn’t know from where it came or its exact history. But once it was moved to East South Street, it is possible it witnessed slaves being moved along the Underground Railroad across the street and was more than likely neighborly to John Wayne’s family when he was born in 1907. George and Ethel Berry made it their family home in 1961 when it was already more than 100 years old.

Today this home has all the modern necessities. When George and Ethel moved in with their son and daughter, there was very little wired lighting. The light fixtures and wiring were redone by George along with kitchen and bathroom remodeling. All of the beautiful dark woodwork throughout most of the house, including a built-in china hutch and dresser, is still intact and in beautiful shape. The limestone gives the house 18-inch deep windowsills and a peaceful quietness. Berry’s daughter, Nancy, tells of the ease at which she helped her mother hang curtains because the windowsills served as a step. Berry says he feels like he grew up in this home. After 52 years in it, he says, “It’s just about been my whole life.”

georgeberryEthel passed away a few months ago after 65 years of marriage. Berry finds his home even quieter with her gone but full of memories of raising their children, grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He enjoys all of their visits and often spends time chatting with his daughter, Nancy, on his porch.

Berry is a WWII Air Force veteran and is active in the VFW and American Legion. He volunteers with the honor guard anytime he is needed and is responsible for the flag detail memorials at the cemetery every Memorial Day. This year he reports placing 554 flags with the help of loyal volunteers. Berry, himself, is a treasure of our community.

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