Muscatine Magazine, Summer 2021

Page 1

ISSN 2475-7128 Summer 2021

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry

In everything we do, we’re making


live, play, work, and stay.

the best place to

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about our commitment to you @ Bridge photo by Mark Washburn

Editor’s Corner

In this issue The First High Bridge . . . . . . . . . 2 Fallen Spans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Bridge Commission. . . . . . . . . . . 6 Tollbooths & Tokens. . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Demolition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Connecting Community . . . . . 12 Letters from Mr. Beckey. . . . . . 15 Bridge Poster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Bridge of Beauty. . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Let’s Get Technical . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Programming. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Dr. Jim Yong Kim. . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

On the Cover

The original concept for this issue included a “Then and Now” feature on the Muscatine Bridge, touching briefly on its history and lighting. While speaking to Virginia Cooper Rebecca Paulsen, Editor of at the Muscatine Art Muscatine Magazine Center about a possible story, I quickly realized there was no way to do the bridge justice in just a few pages. In my mind there was no choice but to dedicate a full issue to the bridge and its history!

treasure! Thank you to Jenny Howell at the Musser Public Library, another fantastic resource who assisted with the Grossheim photos.

I would like to thank Virginia Cooper and the Muscatine Art Center for contributing the historical text and many of the photographs. Virginia is always willing to share her plethora of knowledge about Muscatine with those around her and is a true Muscatine

I hope you enjoy reading this issue and learn something new about the beautiful Norbert F. Beckey bridge! n

A special thank you goes to John Beckey for allowing me to look through his personal family photo albums and make copies of articles and photographs about his dad, Norbert Beckey. It was a pleasure to learn about such a community minded man. John has obviously followed in his father’s footsteps as a community contributor, leader, and strong advocate for Muscatine.

— Rebecca Paulsen, Editor

Muscatine’s Norbert F. Beckey Bridge. Photo by Rebecca Paulsen.

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ISSN 2475-7128 Editor: Rebecca Paulsen, GMCCI Creative Director: Mike Shield, Shield Design Contributors: Rebecca Paulsen, Mike Shield, Mark Washburn, Jessica Hubbard, Virginia Cooper, P.M. Cantrell

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For advertising info: Contact Rebecca Paulsen at (563) 263-8895 or Muscatine Magazine is a quarterly publication focused on Muscatine, Iowa, and the surrounding area. The publisher reserves the right to refuse and/or edit any materials submitted for publication. Published articles and advertising do not constitute endorsement. ©2021 Minimum opening deposit $25; no minimum balance requirement thereafter, and no monthly fees. See bank for details.

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 1

Muscatine’s Fir High Bridge No other single factor has meant more to Muscatine than the Mississippi River. Explorers used the river to discover the Midwest. The first commerce was river-borne. Muscatine has seen the river both, as benefactor and foe. View from the High Bridge, R. Linton, April 5, 1914, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Earl Bailey

2 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

Muscatine High Bridge, Oscar Grossheim, c1900, Gift of E. Bradford Burns, shows the steamer “Saint Paul” preparing to pass under the bridge.

rst :1891 Initial attempts to transport wagons and carriages across the Mississippi River were made by ferryboats, but the operators were always competing for charter rights. The county licensed and set the rates for the first ferry operators, including The Northern Illinois Steamer, which was employed in 1868. At that time the low-lying river bottoms at the

Photo courtesy of Musser Public Library Grossheim Collection.

Original Muscatine High Bridge Plaque.

ferry landings were a problem. Early Congressional appropriations solved some of the physical problems for smaller ferries on both sides of the river, but the system was plagued with difficulties. By 1872, a bill was introduced in Congress authorizing a bridge across the Mississippi at Muscatine. Early conceptual drawings show a two-level bridge with the top level intended for horse-drawn wagons and lower

level for railroad trains. The railroad promotion failed to materialize, but local leaders pushed on with the need for a river bridge. The Muscatine Bridge Corporation was formed November 29, 1887 to build such a bridge and at a special election in 1889, it was voted that a local “3 per cent tax” be set to aid in financing a bridge. In July 1889, the Youngstown Bridge Company and the Milwaukee Bridge & Iron Company won the contract to build the High Bridge at a cost of $149,000. Local taxation was to raise $58,000 and private subscriptions and bonds were to prove the balance. The original bridge was constructed and opened to traffic May 7, 1891, at 2:30 pm. The wooden bridge was cantilevered — Continued on page 21 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 3

February 4, 1899, Photographer: Clifford & Son, Gift of Theron Thompson

Fallen Spans The original Muscatine High Bridge (built in 1891), began to have structural issues as early as 1899. Over the years, weather conditions, river conditions and normal wear and tear from traffic began to take its toll on the wood constructed bridge, causing one section of the bridge to collapse two times.

On February 4, 1899, heavy ice and a drop in the water level had caused two of the piers to lean. The 160-foot span of the bridge fell, killing two horses that were pulling loads of cardwood from Illinois to Iowa. The drivers were both unharmed. The end of the span came to rest on solid ice and was later raised back in place on the pier. About 2:30 a.m. on June 1, 1956, the same 160-foot span of the Muscatine High Bridge collapsed again. Two truck drivers escaped injury, one driver climbing the trusses at water level to escape. For the first few weeks while the bridge 4 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

February 4, 1899 Photo taken from the frozen river, Gift of Jennifer Fryberger Blair

June 1, 1956

was down, Kent Feed and McKee Feed and Grain Co. offered a free passenger ferry service to maintain limited traffic. A ferryboat service was later utilized to establish a vehicle and cargo ferry, between the two shores for five months, until the bridge span was replaced. The second collapse occurred after the bridge had been damaged earlier that same morning, when a car crashed into a bridge girder. The damage caused the support failure and collapse.

June 1, 1956 Snapshot photos taken by Glen Fryberger from a boat. Gift of Jennifer Fryberger Blair.

“[Duane Allen Chelf ] hit a wooden bridge railing, knocking it loose and then smashed into a girder, forcing his car to land on its side. Traffic was stopped from both directions and a wrecker came to remove the car. As traffic began to move again about 2:25 a.m., the second span from the Illinois side of the bridge gave way and fell into the water below. The scene fell to total blackness in the dead of the night because the span collapse severed the bridge lighting. At the sight, rescuers initially could not figure out what had happened to the truck because it could not be seen.” The High Bridge was repaired but was severely weight restricted for the rest of is life. n Source: Muscatine Journal. Photos and text courtesy of Virginia Cooper and the Muscatine Art Center unless otherwise noted. Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 5

Muscatine Bridge The original, privately-owned, wood constructed Muscatine

High Bridge was built in 1891. With future structural capabilities of the bridge in question (after a section had collapsed for the second time), President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill establishing the Muscatine Bridge Commission on July 26, 1956. The bill authorized the newly formed Commission and its successors the ability to purchase the old High Bridge, which they did in 1958. It also allowed the Commission to maintain and operate the High Bridge and use toll revenue to pay off the mortgage.

This telegram, in John Beckey’s personal photo album, was sent to Norbert Beckey on October 19, 1970 from Senator Harold Hughes apologizing that he was “unable to attend ceremonies marking the historic start of the new Iowa bridge at Muscatine.” He continued, “I have a keen personal interest in this first bridge to begun under the Iowa Toll Authority which was enacted during my administration as Governor and which I strongly supported from the beginning.” 6 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

According to the United States Senate Bill, “in order to facilitate interstate commerce, improve the postal service, and provide for military and other purposes, the Muscatine Bridge Commission is hereby authorized to construct, maintain and operate a bridge or bridge and approaches thereto, across the Mississippi River at Muscatine.” The Senate Bill also stated, “the Commission shall consist of L.R. McKee, E. Boynton, H. Ogilvie, G. Volger and C. Rehwaldt, and a representative from the highway department of each

of the State of Iowa and Illinois. Such commission shall be a public body corporate and politic, but is hereby, declared not to be an agency of the Federal Government. Each member appointed on the commission shall be for a term of five years. Each member shall qualify within thirty days after the

approval of this Act, by filing in the office of the Secretary of Commerce and oath that he will faithfully perform the duties imposed upon him by this Act. The commission shall have no capital stock or shares of interest. Members are entitled to a per diem compensation of $20 for each day, not to exceed $3,000 per year. “

Towboats labor against the current as they maneuver a 500-foot long span of the new Muscatine bridge into position. Large hoisting engines were used to raise the span to bridge level. Photo courtesy of Musser Public library.


Norbert F. Beckey was appointed to the Bridge Commission by the United States Secretary of Commerce on May 3, 1963. In 1969, “the Iowa State Highway Commission assumed ownership and operation, covering all elements of transfer of title and assets, design and right of way acquisitions, financing and maintenance of the existing Muscatine Bridge.” Through the tireless efforts of Beckey, the Commission, and the Iowa State Highway Commission, they purchased the High Bridge from the Muscatine Bridge Co. of Omaha on July 1, 1970, and efforts then began to erect a new structure. It was the Bridge Commission’s intention to finance the construction of the proposed new Mississippi River Bridge by issuing and selling bridge revenue bonds, paying interest and principal with collected traffic tolls. Norbert F. Beckey and the Commission worked tirelessly to ensure that a new, safer bridge could be constructed to replace the wooden High Bridge. However, a change in Iowa law was needed before the Commission could use toll revenue to build a new bridge. While lobbying Iowa Legislators, Beckey and other Commissioners continued to — Continued on page 14

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new bridge. From left: L.R. McKee, first chairman of the Muscatine Bridge Commission; Derby Thompson, chairman of the Iowa Highway Commission; Mayor E.S. Burns; and Norbert F. Beckey, chairman of the Muscatine Bridge Commission.

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 7

Tony Christian & Andrew Fryberger at Muscatine High Bridge Toll Booth, June 15, 1910. The McKibben house is in the background. Gift of Jennifer Fryberger Blair.

Tollbooths & Bridge T ke When the original High Bridge was built in 1891, a tollbooth was erected on the Walnut Street end of the bridge. Bridge tolls had maintained the old bridge and paid off the original mortgage and interest of more than $1 million dollars.

Harry & Wayne Fryberger at Muscatine High Bridge Tollbooth, photograph, c1935, Gift of Jennifer Fryberger Blair. 8 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

There are 17 known varieties of tokens, used on the Muscatine Bridge. The tokens were issued between 1922 and 1930, by the Muscatine Bridge Company and could be purchased by merchants in Muscatine to give to their Illinois customers for trading here. Some tokens were manufactured of aluminum and others were made of brass.

They were issued in values of 20 cents for trucks, 15 cents for automobile, and 2 ½ cents for foot passengers (pedestrians) or extra passengers in a vehicle. Following the discontinuance of the tokens in 1930, the bridge company sold bridge tickets printed on colored paper and later a ‘punch-type’ coupon ticket was issued. From 1958 to 1969, bridge tolls for passenger cars or two-axle trucks was 35 cents. It was realistic to assume that tolls could not meet the cost of a new structure in the future.

Harry Fryberger at Muscatine High Bridge Toll Booth, c1930, Gift of Leonard & Else Paul

The ‘Sweet House’ stand located on the Illinois side of the Mississippi-Muscatine High Bridge operated by Andrew Fryberger and his sons.


As stated in a 1971 Iowa State Highway Commission document, “the Muscatine Bridge Commission employed a toll collection and traffic control staff of eleven employees and two administrators, operating from a toll bridge office located at the First National Bank in Muscatine. Effective in 1971, the Commission will close the local toll bridge office and eliminate the staff, transferring all office functions to the Iowa State Highway Commission, who have operated the Muscatine Toll Bridge since July 1, 1970.”

Andrew Fryberger collected High Bridge tolls for nearly 45 years. For many years, his monkey named JoJo was known to chat with and entertain bridge crossers. 1933. Gifts of Jennifer Fryberger Blair.

The tollbooth was in use during the entire operation of the original bride, finally closing December 8, 1972. n Source: Muscatine Journal. Photos and text courtesy of Virginia Cooper and the Muscatine Art Center unless otherwise noted.

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 9

Dynamiting & Dem Upon completion of the new bridge, the Corps of Engineers required that the old bridge structure and piers be removed from the river. In 1973, the bridge was demolished in a series of dynamite blasts set on specific joints of the bridge. The detonating blast cut the spans off each end of the piers, dividing it into six sections, which fell into the water. The explosions were conducted by Controlled Demolitions, Inc. of Townson, Maryland, and the demolition was done by Dore Wrecking Co., of Kawkawlin, Michigan. The explosion and demolition was viewed by the entire community from every

Photos courtesy of Muscatine Journal.

emolition vantage point. For visual effects, primer cord was used to outline the bridge spans on the upstream side. According to Max Churchill, since dynamite doesn’t smoke, it just flashes, a five pound bag of flour was added to each explosive point to enhance the ‘explosion effects’. Demolition costs were $193,000 in comparison to $149,000, which was the original cost to build the bridge in 1891. Source: Muscatine Journal. Photos and text courtesy of Virginia Cooper and the Muscatine Art Center unless otherwise noted.


Bowie, Queen, & Muscatine? Take a close look at the music video for the Queen/David Bowie 1981 song “Under Pressure”. Among the many images of demolition and destruction, you’ll see footage of the old Muscatine high bridge being dynamited. Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 11

Connecting Community The Norbert F. Beckey Story

By Jessica Hubbard

The bridge leading from Muscatine, Iowa to Illinois City, Illinois

has long been an iconic symbol of this river town community. Known as the Muscatine High Bridge and originally located in what is now Riverside Park, it was constructed in 1891 and served as a gateway for those traveling across the Mississippi River. Over time though, the bridge, like most architecture, suffered wear and tear and some rough and tumble moments. From automobile accidents to ice jams, the original high bridge would eventually be replaced by a more modern and sturdy version. This is where Norbert F. Beckey’s story begins. Born in 1921, Beckey was raised in Muscatine, on the south side of town, known then as the other side of the tracks. Growing up in a family of 4 siblings, Beckey dropped out of high school in 9th grade. “Whether he thought he was too smart or just bored, I’m not sure,” recalls his son, John Beckey. “Back in those days, you didn’t need a high school education to get a good paying job.” Beckey decided to try his hand at a variety of careers. Running a pool hall with his brother Vince, and serving in an infantry unit in World War II was just the beginning of the many jobs and experiences he would have over his lifetime. Upon his return from the war, he began working for the United States Postal Service. Realizing this wasn’t for him he took to managing a shoe store in downtown Muscatine, and was eventually recruited into the insurance world where he would settle. Beckey and his wife Judy raised 5 children together, Michelle, Joe, Marty, Mary, and John. While Beckey worked outside of the home, Judy cared for the children and managed the household, supporting them with love and helping Beckey eventually earn his general education diploma.

Standing on the new bridge at Muscatine, Norbert F. Beckey, former chairman of the Muscatine Bridge Commission and Max Churchhill, chairman of the bridge dedication committee, take one long, last look at the old Muscatine High Bridge, which is a mere quarter mile downstream. Beckey, who had been in the front line of the fight for a new bridge said, “It has aged me so, that I am now the chairman of the Muscatine Commission on Aging.” (Dispatch photo and text by Fred Marzolph) 12 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

In 1980, Muscatine Mayor Evelyn Schauland proclaimed September 15th Norbert Beckey Day in honor of his service to the community, the same day the bridge was named after him. According to a Muscatine Journal Article, Mayor Schauland was almost moved to tears during her presentation, and described Beckey as “a worker ‘behind the scenes,’ a quiet man, who worked for many years for the betterment of the community without asking for much recognition.”

1972 span being built upstream and in the background of the old High Bridge. Gift of the Muscatine Journal.

Not only was Beckey a dedicated father and husband, he was a dedicated community member. Understanding the importance of civic engagement, he became a member of the local chamber of commerce and served on the bridge commission. He was eventually asked to chair the commission where the vision of a new bridge would be born. “Dad was involved in all kinds of activities in the community. He was a progressive thinker, promoting civil rights and realizing the importance of political parties needing to work together to create change,” says John. As a lifelong resident of Muscatine, Beckey understood the need for a new and improved mode of travel from Iowa to the Illinois side of the river, an opportunity to connect people within his community, and encourage those from surrounding areas to see what Muscatine had to offer. In December 1972, after much hard work and dedication, the new bridge finally became a reality. At age 58, Beckey, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Beckey’s friends wanted to find a way to honor him for his dedication and commitment to the town where he had lived all his life. Renaming the bridge after him seemed the perfect way to pay tribute. His good friend and fellow Toastmaster, I.H. Petersen spearheaded the effort, and on September 15, 1980 the bridge spanning across two states would officially become known as the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge. Beckey did live to see the bridge named after him and was able to attend a dinner in his honor. He passed away on December 8, 1981, nine years to the day after the new bridge’s Grand Opening was held on December 8, 1972. John remembers his dad wasn’t about the pomp and circumstance. “He only hoped to inspire others to become civically involved, to support the communities where they lived and worked.” n

Norbert F. Beckey Bamford Collection photo courtesy of the Musser Public Library

Judy Beckey stands with her husband, Norbert, as they read the plaque dedicating the Norbert R. Beckey Bridge in his honor. The plaque is located at the edge of Mark Twain Overlook. Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 13

Bridge Commission Continued from page 9 —

develop plans for the new river crossing. In addition to studying various street sites for the new bridge, the Commission even investigated a tunnel, which was also projected to be used as a bomb shelter. The current location, which is a mile upstream from its predecessor, was chosen based on cost and traffic control. Toll revenue was approved for bridge construction in 1966, following passage of the Iowa Interstate Bridge Act and in 1967 the Muscatine Bridge became the first planned construct in Iowa under the new legislation. Groundbreaking on the replacement bridge was held on October 21, 1970. The new bridge is a ‘steel-truss-throughdeck bridge type’, with a total length of 3018 feet and a width of 32 feet. It is 65 feet above the water and is located at River Mile 455.90. A tollbooth was erected on the Iowa side and later removed, as it was no longer needed. The new bridge, which cost $6 million to construct, was opened on December 8, 1972. On September 15, 1980, the bridge was re-dedicated, and named after Norbert F. Beckey (1921-1981), the last Chairman of the Muscatine Bridge Commission. Between 1972 and 1982, the Norbert F. Beckey Memorial Bridge created $3.6 million in revenue from toll, according to Norm Rutledge, assistant accounting director for the Iowa Department of Transportation Accounting office. Bonds were scheduled to be paid off in 2002. Today, the Norbert F. Beckey Memorial Bridge carries Iowa Highway 92 and Illinois Route 92 across the Mississippi River between Muscatine, Iowa and Rock Island County, Illinois, United States. n Source: Muscatine Journal. Photos and text courtesy of Virginia Cooper and the Muscatine Art Center unless otherwise noted.

14 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

er’s llpay



st the li h g u hro one t cide I’ve g t can’t de ter us bet And j ld be u o w e. h Whic or rid nds m i sw , be Walk, aches re bad, o r p p les a The a ckho our side u h c y And ll on he hi t t u B . is sad p At 20 er jum v e I e, f I , river uys to blam arge e h t ch In ug at you ve yo I’ll ha he tolls th et . ’Caus e to flame m r Start meet a ca , I es n Whe my ey y e s o l c ra I just ope and p h sed And I et surpri g t old ’ I don idge is so , br w too o Your r r a on air, And s hink it’s f t ’t u? I don ally, do yo re oss Now, ll, er cr v e n my to ission g n But I i y omm ut pa Witho ope your c h And i s its goal. he son Reac n Nel g u a V s. 1967 — Mr ston, o B New



, Nelson . s r M s,

In 1976, Mrs. Vaugn Nelson of New Boston wrote Norbert Beckey a poem titled “Taxpayer’s Grief”. Beckey replied with a poem of his own, published in the Daily Dispatch on September 13, 1969 titled “Commissioner’s Reply”. On the day the bridge opened, Beckey read both of the original poems, and concluded with “Yes, Mrs. Nelson, There Is A Santa Claus”. This final poetic response has not been previously published. It is taken from Norbert’s original typed speech, from John Beckey’s personal photo album.


anta C e is a S


oday l open t l i ray. w e g rid eed to p b n e o n i n t a h r wit side, w Musc the rive ing the s p The ne s o m r u c b e. o now feet wid ends, n b o o w t You can n , y s t r e, ck-hole and thi me tru o e c c a f m r No chu a u e s too. his dr smooth gness, made t n y i l l n A very i a w m ame, on and orts of ny to n operati The eff a o c m f o o t e e mpl same. lved ar An exa re invo and the e e w n o o h s a see, Those w ked together tiful to u a r e o b w l d l e fee. But a done an r to reduce th w o n s i togethe The job ll work a ’s t e l key Now ert Bec b e r o N — uscatin M , n a m Chair sion ommis C e g d i Br


Tollpayer’s Grief


Dear To llpayer, Your let ter I rec eived. My hope s are so meday Your toll paying w ill be reli Until tha eved. t time co mes, Your pat ience I b eg — For the work for a bridge Is on its last leg. The cha rges you make I cannot deny. But we’r e really giving it The ‘old college t ry.’ So bear with us p lease, And som eday soo n we’ll s A beaut ee iful new b r idge But ther e will stil l be a fee . — Norbe rt Becke y Chairma n, Musc atine Bridge C ommiss ion

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 15

Photo by Mark Washburn |

Bridge of Beauty Bridge of

Beauty By P.M. Cantrell

If Mark Twain were alive today perhaps

he’d add the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge lights to his memories of Muscatine’s beauty. The American author, one time Muscatine resident who is known for works set along the Mississippi River, once exclaimed that he remembered Muscatine’s summer sunsets and that he never found one that equaled them. Unlike the sunsets, the beauty behind the bridge lights is that they have been a collaborative effort among many citizens, governmental organizations, and companies, resulting in lights that illuminate a sense of community pride and serve as a color changing backdrop for profile pictures, fireworks, and family picnics. The idea to re-light the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge with color changing LEDs or light emitting diodes stemmed

18 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

Berns said. The end result meant reducing the number of fixtures from 500 to 43, considerably reducing the overall cost without reducing the beauty of the color changing technology. Musco’s contributions along with a $100,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation meant no tax dollars were used to illuminate the bridge. Other partners in the project included: Muscatine Power and Water, Stanley Consultants, the Muscatine Chamber of Commerce, and the Iowa/ Illinois Department of Transportation. “The project was a natural fit with Musco’s overall vision and seemed a logical continuation of our commitment to this community,” said Brett Nelson, Musco General Manager.

Photo by Paul Brooks

from a Muscatine Chamber Leadership Muscatine group in 2005. Even though the technology was in its infancy, Musco Sports Lighting of Muscatine was onboard for the challenge. “Initially I thought it was a pretty aggressive and ambitious project given the new technology,” said Jim Berns, Musco International Engineering Manager. Musco, known for lights spanning from the Muscatine Soccer Complex to the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium to the Wembley Stadium in the UK, initially pitched in $250,000 for installation and materials, ordering the light-changing LEDs from an outside vendor. Initial lighting proposals were over $1 million dollars. “We did testing at the dome and came up with the idea to put the lightsource at the base of the pier,”

The bridge, believed to be the only one featuring color-changing LEDs on the Mississippi River at the time, had its inaugural lighting in 2008. Initial response was positive and photographers of all abilities lined up to frame up their snapshots of the colorful bridge. Muscatine Power and Water runs light changing programs according to seasons, holidays, sporting events, and can accommodate special requests by community members.

“ It’s quite breathtaking to head downtown and take the roundabout and see the bridge’s iconic, scenic view in concert with all of the downtown improvements.

Brett Nelson, Musco General Manager

Although painting improvements in 2017 damaged fixtures, color changing technology had the time to catch up and Musco now had its own inventory. “We were able to do a complete swap out with all new fixtures and they tie much better to the infrastructure of the bridge,” Berns said. The Musco engineer of 37 years has been a part of the bridge lighting project since its inception and he says he’s enjoyed seeing all of the different shows that MPW has put together. “I saw the comments when the bridge lights weren’t working, but I also have seen so many that have said, ‘It works great now.’” Nelson added that the new lights are a hit. “The feedback from the community through social media and comments is extremely positive. Many say it looks better than it’s ever looked. It’s quite breathtaking to head downtown and take the roundabout and see the bridge’s iconic, scenic view in concert with all of the downtown improvements.” Musco also provided all repairs and equipment for the updated LEDs along the bridge. Musco has both a history and a presence in Muscatine. In 1976, founders Joe Crookham, a lawyer, and Myron Gordin, an engineer, both of Oskaloosa, purchased the Muscatine Lighting and Manufacturing company in Muscatine with a gentleman’s agreement with First National Bank to keep a company presence and jobs in Muscatine. Although globally known in the sports lighting industry, there are a number of projects that show the Musco’s continued commitment to Muscatine as well, including: the soccer complex, The Keep Muscatine Beautiful Almost Friday Fest, The MiniPitch enclosed soccer field at Musser Park, and the recently decorated Muscatine Power and Water tower, which also features color changing LEDs that will work in tandem with the Norbert F. Beckey Bridge. Nelson points out that Musco’s lighting in Muscatine projects showcases the company’s diversification of its business - architectural lighting, large areas for community fun, and of course sports lighting. n Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 19

Let’s Get Technical By P.M. Cantrell

The Norbert F. Beckey Bridge lighting project was conceived in a Muscatine Chamber’s Leadership Muscatine meeting, but needed some nurturing in order to help it flourish. Key players including: The City of Muscatine, Musco, The Army Corps of Engineers, Iowa and Illinois Departments of Transportation and Muscatine Power and Water were needed for approval, funding, design, and implementation. Muscatine Power and Water’s Damion Shannon, a mapping and drafting technician, was approached by a former co-worker who knew he had a creative background. “I’ve made it my baby,” he laughs. Shannon says one of the first steps was to get approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure that the changes wouldn’t negatively impact barge traffic. He adds that the traditional red and green spotlights are meant to reflect on the buoys and guide water traffic. “We’ve heard that the new lighting actually helps barges see even better. Overall, feedback has been very positive.” Once the proper approval and funding was procured, Shannon created a 3D model to test different light shows. “It’s the staging software that is often used at rock concerts or other shows, which features rotating and focusing lights, but we work around that functionality.” The original lights purchased for the bridge would read the programs set and then “wake-up” at four a.m. to see if there was a new show programmed. Shannon would play around with the program, timing the fading and transition from one color to the next. Early light shows would take a couple of days to create from scratch. Shannon says the programs were quite elaborate and would require his full attention. “This is an extra-curricular project for me and is outside my normal duties, so I might stay late to doctor up the show.” Over 20 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

Damion Shannon, Muscatine Power and Water Light Show Technician

Lights of Love Sometimes light shows have symbolic meanings. For instance years ago Damion made a show for a child named Riley Collier who was going through cancer. In her show you saw the full bridge being lit with bright light. Slowly the lights narrowed down to one little triangle centered in the bridge and that light began to dim…. but just before it went too dim – it goes full bright – then explodes into a rainbow. Damion calls that show “Riley’s Rainbow”. He, like many folks, has lost loved ones to cancer – so it’s one that he put a bit more thought into when creating it, even when he knew no one else would realize the story. n time, a library of shows has been created that can be copied and pasted. “But I still like to put a spin on them.” Shannon adds that Musco’s updated lights mean programs can be updated or tweaked at a moment’s notice. “I can change it literally anytime I want.” Because of the added simplicity, public requests are accepted. Shannon says requests like

A Musco Technician installs one of 43 replacement Musco fixtures near the top of the bridge’s superstructure.

cancer awareness or team colors are common and easy to accommodate. The latest collaboration between Musco and MPW is the colored lights at the newly designed water tower. The software that controls the water tower will play in-synch with the bridge, creating a color coordinated experience. Additionally, Musco’s colored lighting systems have been installed on the riverfront recreation area and at the Muscatine Soccer Complex. Light shows will be coordinated among all sources for special events whenever possible. “I can’t say enough good about Musco or how

awesome they’ve been to work with. They have filled in all of the blanks.” The inaugural water tower lighting ceremony was held on June 22 with Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson at the helm.

Muscatine’s First High Bridge

“It’s the moments that explain why I continue to be the guy who does this (creates the light show). It’s those days when someone sends me a private message that says, “Good job on the show.’ That’s why I I want to hang onto it. I do this for the same reason you might mow your lawn or plant flowers. It’s pride. Personal pride and community pride.” Shannon adds,” The bridge has become its own symbol for Muscatine, like the watermelon or pearl buttons. It makes us - Us.” n

through truss structure with a 16 feet, 8 inch wide roadway and center divider. A four-foot pedestrian sidewalk was cantilevered outside the truss on the downstream side of the bridge. The bridge had a total length of 3,101 feet - its longest span being 442 feet. The bridge was not straight across, but had a significant and visible ‘bend’. Limestone used in the construction of the High Bridge piers came from the Cedar Valley quarries, located ten miles north of West Liberty, Iowa. The City dump was located underneath the bridge.

Want to request a light show? Visit to access the Community Resource Request form.

Continued from page 3 —

Local property owners, in theory, owned about a third of the bridge (the public did not own their full share of the bridge until 1965). In 1944, the bridge was offered to the City of Muscatine for $375,000. The deal did not go through. Sometime before

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1953, the bridge became the property of the Hanna estate of Cedar Rapids, except for ten percent that was said to have belonged to Muscatine engineer and private investor, Charles H. Young. In July, 1953, the bridge was purchased by Muscatine Bridge, Inc. ($650,000) who sold it in 1958 to the federally-appointed Muscatine Bridge Commission. The day the local commission took over operation of the bridge, commercial vehicles with tandem axles were barred as the bridge load capacity was only 30 tons. Because of the limited load capacity and restricted roadway width, the Commission controlled truck traffic with a guard system. This meant that trucks larger than pickups no longer could meet on the bridge. By 1969, the posted speed limit on the bridge was 20 miles per hour, with an even stricter weight limit. n Source: Muscatine Journal. Photos and text courtesy of Virginia Cooper and the Muscatine Art Center unless otherwise noted.

New discoveries await Featured Exhibits: With the Putnam's rotating galleries there is always something new to see including our new World Culture Gallery. Regional History Comes to Life: Explore what life was like for the Quad Cities’ earliest inhabitants along with key milestones that defined the region’s history. Science Center Gateway Galleries: Experience weather, space, the science of art and more with large interactives! From jewelry to puzzles to hands-on science kits and more, the Putnam Museum Store features unique gifts for all ages! More learning and family fun await with Explorers, Summer Camp and Virtual Activities! 1717 West 12th Street Davenport, Iowa 52804 563-324-1933 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 21

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Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2019 23

P R O G R A M M I N G Due to Covid-19, please check with the individual organizations for the most up to date details on programming


Photo by Fadya Azhary on Unsplash

Preserve the Taste of Summer To help Iowans safely preserve foods, ISU Extension and Outreach is hosting several virtual Preserve the Taste of Summer (PTTS) courses through September. The PTTS 101 course is a general overview that highlights the key information Iowans need to know to get started preserving food at home. The PTTS Jam Making Basics and PTTS Salsa Making Basics will provide in-depth information on safely preserving jams, jellies and salsas respectively.

PTTS Totally Tomatoes class is available again this year! Learn how to freeze tomatoes and can tomatoes and tomato products using the boiling water bath and pressure canning methods. Lastly, PTTS All About Apples class provides information on canning applesauce and apple pie filling, plus freezing and drying apples safely at home. Each PTTS virtual course is 1-hour and free to registrants. PTTS classes will be hosted numerous dates and times through September. To register, go to https:// preserve-taste-summer

Gardening Program Come attend out informational meeting on September 13, 2021 to learn more about our NEW gardening program that is being offered through Muscatine County Extension and Outreach. The information meeting will be held at the Extension Office located at 1601 Plaza Place, Muscatine from 5:30pm to 7pm on Monday, the 13th of September. The new gardening program will allow those attending to learn about ALL areas of gardening, from above ground gardens, in ground, container gardening,

ioponics and much much more. The program is for youth who will be in 3rd through 5th grade during the 2021-2022 school year. Should you have any questions and to RSVP please contact Dana at 563-263-5701 or

Spend Smart Eat Smart Iowa State University’s Spend Smart Eat Smart app for iPhone® and iPad® is an easy way to get our latest updates and recipes on the go. Save money. Eat nutritiously. Enjoy great new recipes. Never overpay at the store again! With the Spend Smart Eat Smart app, you’ll save money on groceries using our comparison calculator to find the best bargains. Why pay more when you could get the same products for less, right? While you’re here, make sure to check out our recipes page: a new one is featured weekly, so you’ll never hear, “we’re having that again?” from your family. Also find information on produce so you’ll know what’s in season and how to pick the freshest ingredients. Now that’s smart.


All Programming is Virtual O Baby Lapsit Circle time and social time for the very youngest, ages birth to three plus parent or caregiver. Meet for songs, fingerplays, and stories, then adjourn to the children’s department for play and social time. Sparkplugs Aimed at 4 through 8-year-old’s, but

24 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

everyone in the family is welcome to attend and participate. We start each program with a big, healthy snack. Adult Book Club Join your fellow book lovers for a book discussion of our monthly read. New titles are chosen every



AG E S !

MUSCATINE ART CENTER Summer Kids Workshops Kids going into kindergarten and older can participate in several workshops this summer, from learning about Claude Monet to sculpting with clay. These workshops are supported by Quad City Arts through the Arts Dollars re-granting program. Kids older than 7 can also join Miss Julie in the Kids Saturday Workshops to create something different each month. Visit muscatineartcenter. org to learn about additional kids’ workshops. Registration required.

Booked on Art Kids’ Edition In connection with the Alterations exhibition, the Muscatine Art Center presents its first Booked on Art Kids’ Edition on September 16, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. We will gather in the exhibition to read Begin with a Bee, the story of a rusty-patched bumblebee. Illustrator Claudia McGehee will provide a scratchboard demonstration and an activity for kids. There is no fee to participate, but registration is required.

Adult Studio There are various Adult Studio classes and workshops to join this summer. Explore watercolor with

month ranging from local authors and best- sellers all from different genres. Tai Chi Practiced as a graceful form of exercise involving a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.

We can serve you multiple ways during Covid: In person check outs, curbside pick up, and remote delivery. Study and meeting rooms are gradually reopening, contact library for details. New Extended Hours: • Monday-Thursday 10am-9pm • Friday 10am-6pm, • Saturday 10am-2pm • Sunday 1pm-3pm.

Vada Baker in Red Barn Studio, learn about art journaling and scratchboard through the Living Proof Creative Sessions, get crafty in the Thursday Night Makerspace, and find a creative outlet with acrylic paint and stencils with Kay Flanders. Visit for a full class schedule. Registration required.

Mini Masters Introduce your little ones ages 2 - 7 to the world of art with free art classes. Each class consists of a story and two art projects, and a different theme is offered each month. Classes meet Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. Registration required.

For the most up to date information: Check our Facebook page and message us on Facebook. Call us at (563) 263-3065 to talk to the children’s department or reference desk Visit us on the web at

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 25


Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine 2021 Annual Meeting Featuring Muscatine High School graduate, Founder of Partners in Health, and the 12th President of the World Bank


563.264.3863 26 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

of Greater Muscatine


"I've spent my entire life working to invest in human beings and human communities, to help them move down the path of economic development." Jim Kim

The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine is pleased to announce that Muscatine native and Muscatine High School graduate, Dr. Jim Yong Kim will be the speaker at their 2021 Annual Meeting planned for Friday, October 8, 2021, at 6 pm. More details will be provided in the coming weeks. All are welcome to attend this free event, but reservations will be requested. Dr. Kim has devoted his life to changing global development, health, and education policies in an effort to shift people’s sense of what is possible. Kim was dubbed “the Healer” by Brown University. He was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1959. And moved to Muscatine at the age of 5, with his parents Dr. Nhak Kee and Dr. Oaksook Kim, and siblings Bill and Heidi, when his father began practicing dentistry in our community. Kim's family resided on Colony Drive.

1976 MHS Yearbook - Class Officers: Dave Maeglin, Cara Watson, Jim Kim, and Mack Hubble

He was the 1978 Muscatine High School valedictorian, class president, and participated actively in extracurricular activities including Model UN, basketball, golf, and football. (Jim added that he was quarterback of the football team during the longest losing streak in Muscatine history.) He earned his B.A. in Human Biology from Brown University and his Ph.D. in anthropology and M.D. from Harvard. It was there that he co-founded Partners in Health Dr. Kim has served in strategic national and global life-enhancing roles, including Vice-Chairman, Infrastructure Partners (2019-Present) President, World Bank (2012-2019) - named to the position by Barack Obama President, Dartmouth College (2009-2012) Director, World Health Organization (2003-2006) Professor and Lecturer, Harvard Medical School (1993-2009) Co-Founder and Executive Director, Partners in Health (1987-2003) Dr. Kim’s awards and honors include receiving a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” award, being named as one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, receiving the Carnegie “Greatest Immigrants Award”, and being recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World". He is a sought-after speaker and contributor, presenting to the world’s most powerful leaders, as well as prestigious global health, economic, and student forums. Dr. Kim and his work has been featured in “Mountains beyond Mountains”, Tracy Kidder’s best-selling book; in Ted Talk, “Doesn’t Everyone Deserve a Chance”; and on Netflix in the documentary “Bending the Arc”, produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

of Greater Muscatine

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 27

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UnityPoint Health – Trinity Muscatine is a

2021 Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital Trinity Muscatine has always been committed to providing the best care possible and the best patient experience. We want the Muscatine community to know we are invested in your health and you can always trust in receiving excellent care when you walk through our doors. Learn more at *Compiled by The Chartis Center for Rural Health

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 29

The Community Foundation works with individuals, businesses and organizations to help meet their charitable goals by forming, managing and administering funds. These funds directly impact area residents by addressing important needs and/or enhancing the quality of life in Muscatine County. 30 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Details about programs and exhibitions are posted on Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free of charge.

Alterations: Tailored Solutions to Climate Change May 29 – October 31, 2021 In Alterations, Nancy Judd plays with the juxtaposition between fashion and trash by creating sculptures that appear to be high-fashion couture garments but are made from items thrown in the garbage, the recycling bin, littered on the side of the road, or found in nature. SAVE the DATE: Special events are planned for September 30th & October 1st with artist Nancy Judd as the special guest. Details will be posted at in August.

Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray May 29 – August 22, 2021 Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, an exhibition of photographic portraits of Frida Kahlo, provides an intimate look at Mexico’s most prolific and well-known female artist. This traveling exhibition has been organized by the Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

Special Events

Sculpture Dedication

Ice Cream Social

Thursday, September 9 Ribbon Cutting – 4:15 p.m. Step Afrika! – 4:30 p.m. Business After Hours – 5 to 7 p.m. In partnership with the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, Step Afrika! will perform live at the Muscatine Art Center to celebrate the dedication of the bronze sculpture, Expressive Spirit, in memory of Mary Jo Stanley. Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities; traditional African dances; and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience. The short performance,

Sunday, August 22, 1 to 4 p.m. Enjoy live music by Crusin’ from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., play some games with the family, be entertained by the calliope, meet artist Bruce Walters and sculptor David Zahn, explore the exhibitions, make a recycled treasure with artist Steve Gerberich, join the family bike ride to the event, and purchase some ice cream to support Friends of the Muscatine Art Center. Free Admission. Sponsored by Kent Corporation.

and is circulated through Guest Curator Traveling Exhibitions. Special Event: Celebrating Latinx Arts and Culture presented by LULAC of Muscatine on Thursday, August 12th from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Muscatine Art Center. Details on the LULAC Muscatine Facebook page. n

which Mary Jo Stanley as a lover of dance would have enjoyed, begins after a 4:15 p.m. ribbon cutting. Guests are welcome to bring a blanket or lawn chairs and meet sculptor David Zahn following the performance. n

Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021 31


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DINE • DRINK SHOP 32 Muscatine Magazine • Summer 2021


to Muscatine’s Water & Resource Recovery Facility staff on the award-winning Muscatine Organics Recycling Center (MORC). Stanley Consultants is proud to be the City’s partner on this innovative renewable project.

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Muscatine’s MORC Recycling Superheroes: Front - Director Jon Koch; middle - Supervisor Jim Allen; back (L-to-R) Mechanics Dean Schlapkohl and Kenton Hitchcock.

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Helping a Growing World Do More


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From humble beginnings in 1927, KENT Corporation’s footprint has grown from one small animal feed dealership years ago, into a multinational manufacturer and supplier of today with 40 locations across seven countries and sales worldwide. Recently named a US Best Managed Company, a program sponsored by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal, KENT takes pride in its role in the American supply chain and its deep roots in Muscatine, Iowa. As one of the largest employers in Muscatine, KENT cares about the community, and has generously given back to the city it has called home for generations.

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