While compiling the Arcadia Publishing book “Appanoose County,” I was required to come up with a very descriptive caption for each photo, including the one used on the cover, shown above. This photo has been at the museum for a very long time, and it was not marked on the back as to the nature of the event shown.
By using the research tools we have — the newly acquired in the Centerville digitized newspaper database — and by scanning the photo at a high resolution so I could enlarge it and see more details, my investigation began.
The license plate on the car in the foreground said 1922. That narrowed it down to the year. Then I examined what was happening in the photo. There seem to be teams of six people surrounded by onlookers. So I searched the word “team” and the year “1922” in the database. Too many matches. Baseball was all the rage during the 1920s, so the word team cropped up in every single paper. After trying several different searches, I gave that up and decided to look through the hard copies of the old newspapers we have at the museum. Whatever this event was, it was a big deal and would definitely show up on the front page.
Then I stumbled upon it.
On Aug. 26, 1922, the U.S. Bureau of Mines and Centerville community leaders hosted the Iowa State First Aid Tournament on the courthouse lawn. Twelve teams from Appanoose County mines and some from as far away as Des Moines competed in the successful completion of tourniquets, splints and general care of the wounded. Prizes were awarded, from cash to collar buttons. This was the only meet in the country in 1922.
Voila! Mystery solved!
The museum is observing winter hours right now, Wednesday through Friday from 1 – 4 p.m., so stop by and pick up your copy of the book “Appanoose County.”
Information submitted by Lisa Eddy, curator, Appanoose County Historical Society, 100 West Maple, Centerville, 856-8040, www.appanoosehistory.com.