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December 17, 1996

Howard Kendle remembers when the remnants of hitching posts still appeared around the square and in some alleys in the Perry business district. They were mementos of another age in this town when horse-drawn conveyances provided the major transportation for shoppers or for those just out for an afternoon or evening ride. "They were not especially decorative," Howard says, "but they were sturdy native stone pieces with heavy metal rings mounted in them." Posts located in alleys were used mostly to hitch wagon teams, but those around the square were used for both riding horses and teams.

He believes the posts were removed in the early 1940s when new concrete sidewalks were built in front of downtown stores and offices. Streets around the square were widened at about the same time. Howard has a vague recollection that the city offered the posts free of charge to any takers who wanted one or more to preserve a bit of early history, but he says few of them were taken.

"Most of them were pulled up by the city when the new sidewalks were built, and I think they were hauled away to a landfill somewhere," Howard says. He thinks that may have been at the old city dump just east of town. At any rate, he believes the posts would still be in good condition and he would like to see them uncovered for display at a museum, or possibly in a special area of the courthouse park. Howard views them as an interesting link with the past and he would like to stir up some interest in recovering the old posts. Perhaps another reader remembers more details about them. If the posts were still there in the 1940s, I should be able to remember them, but I do not. Can anyone help us with this?

Congratulations to Stagecoach Community Theatre for providing us with an excellent Christmas comedy last week. It was their first attempt at dinner theatre in the SCT building at 301 South Eighth street, and things worked out just fine. Dinner was offered at each of the two evening performances, Friday and Saturday, and both were sellouts. The Sunday matinee did not include a dinner, but about two-thirds of the seating capacity was sold out for that show. Cattle Baron's catered the meals and Perry high school student council members were servers. The entire building was brightly and gaily decorated for Christmas, and the play cast did a superb job with a very funny script. Many out of town visitors came to see the play and were amply rewarded with hilarious performances. Thanks to the cast, director Don Irwin, the SCT board and everyone else responsible for pulling this event together. Here's hoping Stagecoach can continue bringing us great entertainment, including dinner theatre. And a Christmas play would be a welcome addition to the holidays in Perry.

Be sure to drive around town while all the Christmas decorations are brightly lighted in the residential area and at businesses both on and off the square. There's an abundance of color, traditional displays and originality, and the kinds of visual delights that help to make this such a wonderful season. The courthouse park again has been transformed into a veritable fairyland of Christmas figures and ornaments with the new additions made possible by those who go on the annual Christmas Tour of Homes. And, as usual, many householders have outdone themselves this year with the scope and beauty of Christmas lights, and we should thank each one of them for adding to our enjoyment this way. That appreciation includes Butch and Sharon Heppler who again are providing the $1,000 prize money that makes the Christmas lighting contest possible. Tell them so, next time you see them, and enjoy the lights in the meantime.

More improvements are being made at businesses around town. Among them, First Bank & Trust has completed a new sloped sidewalk to enable better handicap accessibility at the busy corner in front of their building, northwest corner of the square. The Old South Doughnut Shop has been reopened by Jim Miller at the southeast corner of the square. The shop has been closed the past few months. Mike and Janet Shannon have replaced the worn portions of the canvas awning skirting the front of their buildings at the northeast corner of the square. And major repairs are being made in the parking lot and driveway entrances at Perry Plaza, southwest corner of Fifteenth and Fir. All these contribute to a more prosperous and progressive look for the Perry business community.