By Steve Dunn
The 100th Anniversary Celebration of the completion of the Keokuk-Hamilton, Ill., dam and powerhouse is under way.
The Tri-State Area got a sneak peak Thursday with the opening of the Mississippi River Power Museum, Walldog mural painting and a short parade down one side of Main Street from Fourth to 14th streets in Keokuk. Keokuk’s own Nikki Kelly, who was crowned Miss Iowa in the Quad Cities recently, served as parade marshal.
In addition, a dinner theatre sponsored by the Hancock County Historical Society was held Thursday night at Sullivan’s Auctioneers in Hamilton. The event was sold out.
Both the MRP Museum and mural painting are housed in the River City Mall in Keokuk.
Walldogs refers to the people who once traveled from town to town to paint advertising signs on buildings, according to Joyce Glasscock, executive director of Main Street Keokuk, Inc. Glasscock watched Thursday afternoon as artists from Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky started painting a new 10-by-36-foot mural for Estes Park. Once finished on Saturday or Sunday, the mural will be attached to the Heritage Center next to the park at Fifth and Main streets. Nancy Bennett of Centerville is heading up the project with out-of-state artists. So far, the Walldogs have painted more than 300 murals around the world, with the majority in Illinois, according to artist Jay Allen of Rockford, Ill.
On Friday, powerhouse tours will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A luncheon for dignitaries will be held at 11 a.m. at the United Presbyterian Church, 102 Main St.
Opening remarks from visiting dignitaries will be made at 1 p.m. in Victory Park. Music will be provided by Mary Lynn Arms and Brad Culpepper.
There will be entertainment in Victory Park from 2 to 4 p.m.
Chop Suey Cornet will perform at the Rand Park Pavilion at 7 p.m. Food vendors will be on hand.
A fireworks display will cap the first full day of activities.
Hamilton also is holding several activities Friday in conjunction with the celebration and Hamilton Homecoming Days.
Pie and ice cream will be served at 6:30 p.m. in Gordon’s Grove. The Hamilton Community Band will play at 7 p.m. In case of rain, the concert will be held in the Hamilton Community Center.
A youth dance with music by Prime Cuts will be held from 8 to 10 p.m. on the tennis courts. There is no cost for the dance. Soda and bottled water will be sold. In case of rain, the dance will be held in Hamilton Junior High School.
In addition, historical photos of building the dam and powerhouse will be displayed at Gordon’s Grove all weekend.