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The original item was published from 5/13/2020 9:59:00 AM to 5/13/2020 10:01:34 AM.

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Posted on: May 13, 2020


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The Johnston (Station) Historical Society has created a COVID-19 social distancing Johnston history fact scavenger hunt. The Johnston history facts scavenger hunt involves a combination of on-line information and visits to historical locations in the City of Johnston. There are 26 Johnston history facts in the Johnston history facts scavenger hunt; 10 from the websites of the City and the Johnston Historical Society and 16 from actual locations around the city.

Johnston locations:

  1.  History walk (between the 1902 Simson House and the 1936 Simpson barn at 6161 Northglenn Drive next to the Library). Who operated a ferry service in what is now Johnston, across the des Moines River?
  2.  History walk: What women was the high school principal for 30 years?
  3. History walk: Who were Johnston’s first pioneer settlers and when did the came to Johnston?
  4. History walk: Who was Camp Dodge named after?
  5. History walk: When did Merle Hay enlist in the U.S. Army?
  6. 1902 Simpson house porch window: Who was the first local stagecoach ticket agent?
  7. Simpson house porch window: When was the now-lost town of Herrold platted?
  8. Simpson house porch window: When was the groundbreaking for the Saylorville Reservoir?
  9. Simpson house porch window: What group brought the first street lights and natural gas service to Johnston?

Beaver Creek Natural Resource Area, Northwest of Terra Park. See Parks and Trail System.

That trail loop includes historical markers at the Pioneer Node, the Water node, the Woodland node, and the Native People node, and a trail spur just east of that loop includes the Settlers Node marker. Those markers have the answers to questions 10 through 14:

10. When did Henry Wallace first purchase land in the Johnston area to start Pioneer Hybrids?
11. When did the last glacier recede from what is now Johnston?
12. What tree seeds were used by early settlers as a coffee substitute?
13. When did the first people come to the Johnston area?
14. How big was the Robinson farm in what is now Green Meadows?

Go to Ray Schleihs Park (5400 NW 55th Avenue), on the interurban trail between Johnston Drive and 55th Avenue, east of Merle Hay Road, or go to InterUrban

15. How many ventilators are on the roof of the oldest commercial building in the city, the 1917 Interurban Railway electrical substation building?
16. Just west of Ray Scheihs Park on the interurban trail, between 55th and 57th Avenue, if a historical marker and bench. It has the answer to the question of “When was the first Johnston area neighborhood association established and what was its name?"

You can use the Johnston (Station) Historical Society websiteor the City of Johnston websites: including History of Simpson Barn and Historical MuseumHistorical Murals, and History of Johnston Businesses to get the answers for questions 17 through 25.

17. Johnston’s name – Who was the city named after and what was that person’s job?
18. Johnston schools – What was the name of the first school and when was it started?
19. Who provided police protection for the community before the city was founded in 1969?
20. Post office – What was the location of the first post office and when was it established?
21. Johnston Historical Society – Who was the former high school principal who helped found the Johnston (Station) Historical Society in 1993?
22. What two things were acquired, along with the Simpson barn, and moved to that site?
23. Who made Johnston the “Home of the Hybrids” and later became Vice President of the United States?
24. Who was Chief Keokuk?
25. Where was the Garland Orchard?
26. Where was the first Hy-Vee store in Johnston located and when did it open?

Submit your answers, with your name and address, to the Johnston (Station) Historical Society at by July 1, 20202, and receive a Johnston History Trivia booklet.

There are also 2 extra credit tasks you can complete:

A. Write a short essay about some Johnston history topic, your quest to get the answers to the above questions, or how your family adapted to the social distancing/stay at home environment. This will be put in the Johnston Historical Society archives.
B. Tell us who was Ray Schleihs and why a park is named after him.

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