For the last two years I have been writing a book about my home town and had it published a couple of months ago. It is the history of the town from 1884 when it was founded, until the last class graduated from the high school.
I hated history in school and couldn’t see any reason for me to know some of the stuff that was in the history books. I am sure my teachers would not believe I would be the one to write the history of my hometown.
I didn’t pay much attention to relationships during my school days. I knew my classmates, their siblings and parents and the classes before and after mine. But the rest of the classes I didn’t pay much attention to.
For the information to write the book I relied on the residents and the alumni to fill in blanks I didn’t know about our town. I could not have written this history without their memories. I had a go between that saved my neck many times. She is the keeper of the records of the alumni.
Jeanne has the email addresses for all the alumni (that have email) but if she didn’t have one for the person I was looking for, she knew who I could contact to get me in touch with them. If I needed to find information she would send out an email to all the alumni. Then it would appear in the Mullinville Paper so those that didn’t have email would see it.
Very soon emails and letters would come in from all over the United States. I would sort through the information and figure out which I could or should use and put it into the article I had started about a business, the school, or people of the town. After I had all of the information about a subject, I could arrange it in chronological order.
The alumni of Mullinville High School were a deep well of information, which is an appropriate analogy since our town was known for years as the windmill city. Every house and business had a windmill, a total of 110 windmills until city water became available until 1952.
The alumni and residents sent me information about a business they worked at or their parents were involved in. I used their information through out the book and then added stories of our town that I personally knew.
I received many photos over the 2 years; I used 128 photos of our home town and residents. When I received a photo I scanned it into the computer and then sent it back to the owner right away. It made me nervous to have in my possession old family or business photos. I tried to have them back in the mail the next day.
The book covers the Grade School from the first one room grade school in 1889 until the one on Main Street closed in 1991. During those years there were many talented teachers that taught the young minds how to read, write, do math and play musical instruments.
The High School most of the graduates remember was built around 1915 and had 1009 graduates who received a diploma from the school before it closed in 1990. Most of the classes were around 20 students. My go to person knew where the records of the graduates were for every year the high school was open. I was happy to include all of them. If they graduated from Mullinville their name is in the book.
I found more businesses than I had ever imagined. It was interesting to hear stories from descendents and friends who knew about each business. The range of businesses that came and went in the town over the years was amazing.
The hardest businesses to write about and get the timelines straight were open for 50-75 years or longer. They had different owners and different names like the Pharmacy and Soda Fountain where I worked when I was in high school. Getting the owners through the years and the soda jerks who worked for them in the right order was quite a task.
The town has always been a farming community but was also populated by employees for the Northern Natural booster station. In the 40’s 50’s and 60’s; they had 3 shifts with 20 men per shift. Now computers run a lot of the machines so they don’t need as many men each shift to run the plant.
Writing Mullinville, My Hometown made me realize the residents who live there and every former student scattered across the U.S. will always call Mullinville home. To Contact Sandy: [email protected]