ORANGE CITY, IA -
This week we've been taking you Down The Road to Orange City, Iowa and its famous tulip festival. Tulips, colorful costumes, and Dutch food are a big part of the three day celebration, but there's another part of the event you'll always remember once you see it and hear it.
It may be the crown jewel of the Tulip Festival. Originally built in France as a dance organ, it was converted to a street organ by a company in the Netherlands, eventually making its way to Philadelphia in 1950 for the Netherlands Trade Fair. Now, except for the tulip festival, home is the local museum.
"The organ is a hundred plus years old. So, when you sit for awhile like some of us you know you don't work so well when you have to get put out for three days of the year," said Mike Hofman with the Orange City Chamber of Commerce.
The organ, which was repaired a few years ago, really needs a climate controlled environment, and deserves more exposure.
"So we're kinda trying to identify where we could put it so that people could see it because it's unique and very interesting for people to see," said Hofman.
That new home will soon be part of a corner once used by Bomgaars before it moved out of the downtown.
"That corner that we've kind of identified as the heart of the Tulip Festival. It's the heart of the downtown and it also is a good place for tourism throughout the year for people to just be kinda just be walking in our downtown and seeing it," Hofman said.
The organ won't be the only beneficiary of the new building. The machinery that was once used to make those famous wooden shoes is now in storage after being removed from The Old Factory building, which is now a coffee shop. The wooden shoe-making machine will have a permanent home there too.
If you ever want to find out more about what makes Orange City, "Orange City", there's a new book out that's a very interesting read.
It's called "Orange City... Images of America." It was written by retiring Northwestern College history professor Doug Anderson, with assistance from some of the college's library staff and a student.
Anderson says he got the idea after seeing a similar book on Chadron, Nebraska that was released through Arcadia Publishing. Not only is the Orange City version full of historical information, but loads of photos, many of them from the various Tulip Festivals held through the years. However, Anderson says people will notice there's one chapter in the book that much shorter than the others.
"The shortest chapter is the Great Depression/World War Two chapter. It was really hard to find much photographic evidence of the Depression years and World War Two. And I'm still trying to figure out all of the reasons why that was the case," said Professor Doug Anderson.
You can find the book at various stores and libraries throughout Northwest Iowa, and you can also get it through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.
A lot of folks have called The Orange City area home for much or all of their life, and they don't have any plans to retire in Florida or Arizona. Recently the community merged two different nursing homes into one: a very unique, $18 million senior care center that just opened last fall.
Just on the north edge of Orange City is the new Prairie Ridge Care Center. You know something is different about this place the minute you walk in.
Not only is there a nice, big water fall, and huge fish in a gigantic aquarium, but there's also the facade of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alton, Granville's iconic baseball field, the front of the Sioux County Courthouse in Orange City, and Maurice's Fire Escape Slide: a little bit of home from the six communities the care center serves.
"And so the whole idea is that when you come in the front of the building then you're in the village. The village has sort of the businesses... it has a community center - chapel... sidewalk café...treat shop....hair salon...those business type of things, Then you leave the village and you come down to the residential area," said Char Ten Clay with the Prairie Ridge Care Center.
The center has four residential wings or "cottages", and to provide a more "personal touch", each cottage has its own host or hostess on duty from 6:30 in the morning until 10 at night. There is a kitchen that delivers meals, but if you don't like it? No problem, just order up something off the menu. It's always available, along with free ice cream at the village center.
"So the idea is just like you and I we go home and we stand in front of the cupboard and go, 'what do I feel like?' To expect a resident to order five hours ahead of time what they're going to have for supper... they don't know how they're going to feel or anything like that. Now they can just say, 'I feel like that or that... or neither one.'," said Ten Clay.
But that's not the only thing that's different about Prairie Ridge.
"So we floated this idea that we're in the country, we're in a rural community... how 'bout we introduce agriculture," said Ten Clay.
Welcome to "agriculture." Each cottage has its own pen of pygmy goats, and the population is growing.
"Staff and residents came out and watched them be born," said Ten Clay, adding that the Center is planning to add some chickens in the near future.