“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Newtown in Fountain County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

National Corn Husking Contest

National Corn Husking Contest of 1935 brought 110,000 people to Newtown. image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 3, 2007
1. National Corn Husking Contest of 1935 brought 110,000 people to Newtown.
Richland Township
Site of National Corn Husking Contest in 1935.

4 Blocks West - - -
Cobb Farms and L.K. Mitchell and Family Hosts.

Lawrence Pitzer of Fountain County Represented Indiana and later became National Champion in 1939.

(lower tablet): Champion 1935 Elmer Carlson of Iowa
Erected 1976 by Fountain County Historical Society.
Location. 40° 12.244′ N, 87° 8.946′ W. Marker is in Newtown, Indiana, in Fountain County. Marker is on Business State Road 55 near Business State Road 341, on the left when traveling east. On St Rd 55 about 100 feet East on St Rd 341 in Town Park on North side of Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newtown IN 47969, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Council Grove Minute Men (approx. 4 miles away); Birch - Colvert Cemetery (approx. 5.6 miles away); Hillsboro Service Memorial (approx. 6.3 miles away); Boyhood Home of Daniel W. Voorhees
National Corn Husking Contest in 1935 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Wolf, November 3, 2007
2. National Corn Husking Contest in 1935 Marker
In Newtown Town Park - The Bandstand behind: was built in 1929 - having a history of its own. The "Newtown Band" traveled around the United States playing for major events.
(approx. 6 miles away); Osborn Prairie Church - - Built 1892 (approx. 7.4 miles away); In Memory of Heroes 1861 - 1865 (approx. 7 miles away); World War I Memorial (approx. 7 miles away); Ravine Park (approx. 7.6 miles away).
More about this marker. The Marker of Bronze plates is on a Brick base.
Behind marker sits the Newtown Band Stand which was built in 1929.
Regarding National Corn Husking Contest. For farmers and the communities in the 1920's and 1930's the National Corn Husking contest was "The Super Bowl" of events.

Started in 1924 at Polk County, Iowa, by Henry Wallace, only 800 people attended to watch six contestants. By 1935 over 110,000 were in attendance at what was highlighted as an "All Star Show" (by the "Nebraska Farmer Magazine") in Newtown, Indiana—a town that still has Stop signs at its downtown intersection. The event was a farmer–oriented National Fair with all type displays and tents.

The NBC Radio Network sent a portable transmitter to cover the event. Chicago's clear channel radio station WLS had radio personalities present to entertain the public in Newtown and radio listeners at home. The Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace led the list of national dignitaries.

On Oct. 14, 1935 vehicles of all type began to arrive at 4:00 A.M. and had to park a mile away due to all of the parked cars. The Leslie Mitchell 50 acre rectangular farm plot was carefully raised from hybrid seed. (State and County competitions were done with open pollinated corn.)

A warning aerial bomb went off at 11:40 A. M.. Each husker had an assigned by draw six (6) rows of corn. At 12:00 Noon another aerial bomb started the contest lasting eighty (80) minutes. Another aerial bomb and the contest ended for the count and celebration of winners.

Picking and shucking two rows at a time, each cob of corn was sent sailing into the wagon hitting the "bang board" with a rhythmic manner. Gleaners and judges followed. A cash prize were awarded to the first through fourth place. At Newtown the winner was Elmer Carlson of Iowa who shucked approximately 41½ bushels (about 3,744 ears) of corn in 80 minutes.

1941 was the last National Corn Husking contest with W.W. II beginning on Dec. 7, 1941 and the advent of the mechanical corn picker.
Also see . . .
1. “Old Style” Cornpicking. A reprint from the Centennial edition of Nebraska Farmer Magazine, January 17, 1959, by Dwight Howard. (Submitted on November 6, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

2. Battle of the Bang Boards. A video of the National Corn Husking Contest of 1941. Some footage is taken from the Goodyear blimp. (Submitted on November 6, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 
Additional comments.
1. The Band Stand
Built here (see photo 2) with $4,000 donated in 1929 by Civil War Vet. Charles Dagger McClure. His donation paid for the Band Stand building, which cost of $982.75, musical instruments, and uniforms!

The Newtown Community Band was founded in 1885 and lasted till 1960. It was known state-wide and was the lead band for the Indianapolis 500 Parade for many years. Featured at the 1935 Corn Husking Contest.
    — Submitted November 6, 2007.

2. 1941 National Husking contest
My father is Ivyl Carlson, who finished 3rd in the 1941 National Corn Husking contest. I would like to obtain movie clips from that year's contest. My father is still alive at the age of 94. He is living in an assisted living home at this time. He also competed in the 1940 national contest. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted November 17, 2008, by Douglas K Carlson of Madrid, Iowa.

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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 4, 2007, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 3,879 times since then and 52 times this year. Last updated on November 8, 2007, by Christopher Light of Valparaiso, Indiana. This page was the Marker of the Week February 24, 2008. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 4, 2007, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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