A Community of the Arts
Shenandoah residents have a long history in arts and entertainment.
The City Opera House imported traveling theatrical troupes, and the first Chautauqua met in 1886. Interested young men formed a Shakespeare Society and numerous women's clubs emphasized self-improvement through the study of the arts. Through the 1920's, the city's radio stations featured many lecturers and poets who had come through the Chautauqua circuit.
Vaudeville was also part of the local performing arts scene. These events featured local performers such as Monte Montrose, and promised "a first class show presented by people of merit."
In 1957, Maribelle Reed, a professional actress, founded the Southwest Iowa Theater Group (SWITG). Fueled with a ready supply of trained radio talent, the theater group was an immediate success. The first plays were staged in the grand old Mayfair Auditorium. SWITG soon found a permanent home in the historic Rose Garden, a former dance hall at the fairgrounds, and built a new 152-seat theater wing in 1967. Extensively remodeled, the Park Playhouse became one of Iowa's most outstanding and longest-running amateur theaters.
The visual arts flourished in the 1950's when Franz Kriwanek, a Czech artist and potter started the Shenandoah Arts Guild. Kriwanek established a studio and private art school in Shenandoah.
Erected by City of Shenandoah.
Location. 40° 45.951′ N, 95° 22.496′ W. Marker is in Shenandoah, Iowa, in Page County. Marker is at the intersection of Sheridan Avenue and Maple Street, on the right when traveling east on Sheridan Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 722 West Sheridan Avenue, Shenandoah IA 51601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Russell Gerdin (a few steps from this marker); Frederick L. Maytag (a few steps from this marker); Pete Kuyper (within shouting distance of this marker); Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas D. Murphy (within shouting distance of this marker); W. Eugene Lloyd (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles E. Parker (within shouting distance of this marker); Railroads and the Wabash Trace (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shenandoah.
More about this marker. The fiberglass marker has deteriorated.
Also see . . . Southwest Iowa Theater Group. (Submitted on August 24, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 23, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 147 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 23, 2015, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.