August 24, 1999
It's going to take a while for me to become accustomed to not seeing that historic two-story blue stucco building at the corner of Eighth and Cedar. It has been there for what seems like forever, but now its total demolition is almost complete. Wrecking crews are dismantling the old structure, piece by piece, and hauling off the remains to clear the way for a business improvement project. I'm not sure when it was built, but it has been in that location for decades. It hasn't always been blue. For years it was mustard yellow, or a variation of that color. At times it has been a hotel, a rooming house and a private residence. I don't find a reference to it in my 1910 city directory, although "the Honolulu Hotel" is listed at 801 Cedar, diagonally across the street from the old building.
Just across the street from there, at the northeast corner of Eighth and Cedar, more changes soon will be taking place. The city's new municipal court building should be under construction there before long. That means Judge Jack Dorl's office will be relocated from the old highway department building at 301 Seventh street to the new site, adjacent to the city police station. That should make possible a greater convenience for all concerned with municipal court matters. Still other changes are in various stages of planning or development, all destined to give our little city a slightly different look.
Mr. Convenience at Fifteenth and Fir has started an expansion and improvement project which will result in more parking space and a generally larger facility to serve patrons in the near future.
Up Fifteenth street, on the Bill Johnson property near Wakefield, the city's first steel frame residence is well under construction. For the dozens of motorists who traverse that route daily, this is an interesting project to watch. Many others have made a point of driving by just to see the framework take shape. A concrete safe room also has been included for use of the owners. Some veteran homebuilders, including retired lumberman Glenn Yahn, say they've never seen a project quite like this in Perry.
In a matter of just a few weeks, the first dirt will be turned for the important new doctors' medical building, new parking lot and renovation of the existing Perry Memorial Hospital building. This is going to bring our medical facilities into line with the best you can find anywhere, including those in much larger cities.
Yes, the face of Perry is changing for the good of all who have chosen to make their home here. How lucky we are to live in a small city with the kind of values, resources and devotion to tradition offered by this town on the prairie.