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Carrie Lane home visited by Silos and Smokestacks

Carrie Lane home visited by Silos and Smokestacks
Phyllis Meyer, Candy Streed, Susan Jacob, Jori Wade-Booth, Ray Steffens, Joy Frank, Cheryl Erb and Ivadelle Stevenson are pictured at the Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home on Friday. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

Candy Streed and Jori Wade-Booth of Silos and Smokestacks stopped by the Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home for a partnership site visit on Friday.

“We’ve been partnering with this site since 2003, officially, but our relationship began in the late 90s when they acquired this property,” said Streed, who is director of partnerships for Silos and Smokestacks.

Streed said the mission of Silos and Smokestacks is to preserve the story of American agriculture. She and Wade-Booth, the organization’s marketing and communications director, have been traveling the 37-county region of northeast Iowa to check in with how partnerships have been going.

“This site really represents what a rural life upbringing can become, and how it can influence the world,” Streed said.

Wade-Booth said that there are 120 sites that Silos and Smokestacks works with. The group’s website links to all the partner sites throughout the state, as well as upcoming events, at silosandsmokestacks.org.

The local site is the girlhood home of Carrie Lane Chapman Catt, a suffragist, a founder of the League of Women Voters and an activist in the cause for world peace. The site, located on 10 acres, includes a museum and an interpretive education center, two acre prairie and heritage apple orchard.

Chapman Catt grew up on the farm where the home is located, about 3 miles south of Charles City. Charles City’s National 19th Amendment Society is dedicated to preserving the home and Catt’s legacy.

“This site really puts her life into context,” Streed said. “The work they’re doing here is still very relevant — we’ve got more to do.”

Streed said that the group talked about how their relationship has developed over the years, and where it’s headed.

“When we started, the home was yet to be preserved,” Streed said. “Our journey with them has been creating this space so that the public can enjoy her story and her influence.”

Streed said that the current focus will be working in the 2020 celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

“The commitment by the volunteers here is tremendous,” she said.

Local volunteer Phyllis Meyer said Silos and Smokestacks has played a major role in the development of the property. She said the connection with Silos and Smokestacks has given the effort structure and direction.

“It put us in touch with an organization that had resources,” Meyer said. “They are go-to people if we need to know something.”

A grant check from the Charles City Elks Charitable Trust was presented at the event.

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