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January 4, 2006

The photo that comes with this column should be of historic interest to all of us. It shows the City Council of Perry, the Mayor at that time, the Water & Light Department clerk, the city attorney and all of the eight council members who served at that time. The picture was made in the late 1930s by a photographer at The Perry Daily Journal, located just across the alley from this meeting room. Not all of the subjects are identified. In those days, it was not uncommon for the newspaper to send a photographer but not a reporter to the council meeting. Stories about the meeting were composed from the clerk's minutes.

Times were tough. There was a Great Depression with its dreary implications hanging over everything. New programs were cast aside for lack of funding, and just surviving the time was a terrible chore. But the Mayor and his Council persisted, and Perry was able to persevere.

Around this rectangular table, many important and constructive decisions were made in the late 1930s. The date is uncertain, and many of these men cannot now be identified. Mayor Fred Kretsch, who operated a grocery store with his wife on the west side of the square, is seated in the center. Many of the gentlemen pictured here took part in the building of Perry as a major trade center for this area, and this is where their deliberations were held. This council room was located was on the west end of the ground floor level of the three-story Masonic Temple, which is now owned by Victor Green. The last known rental customer for this room was the Victory Baptist Church, which has moved to a new location. City Hall is now on the south side of the square. The four council members on the left are not identified. After Mr. Wilson and Mayor Kretsch, are Kenneth Reed, city attorney; Floyd Laird, city council member; next one unknown; Harry DeLashmutt, city council member; next one unknown. Can you provide some of the missing names?

This room doubled as the official office of the city clerk, who received collections of water & light bills. Mr. Wilson was still the clerk some ten years later.

If you can identify any of the men shown here, please let me know. All of us should know the names of those who governed this city during its historic growth period.