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Fairfield established 175 years ago -- 2014


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 2/27/2014 at 19:53:02

"The Fairfield Ledger"
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Front Page and Page 7

City celebrates 175 years

By Vicki Tillis
Ledger lifestyles editor

Plans are underway for events celebrating the 175th anniversary of the establishment of Jefferson County and Fairfield as the county seat.

The main celebratory event is being planned for the July Fourth weekend, said Fairfield Mayor Ed MALLOY, who is a member of the steering committee.

"It's an art walk weekend, so we'll begin with an art walk with a historic theme of Fairfield," he said.

The Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk is held from about 6-10 p.m. the first Friday of each month on and near the Fairfield square.

The anniversary celebration will continue July 5 with a parade, followed by an afternoon of activities centered around the BONNIFIELD Log House in Old Settlers Park and the adjacent Waterworks Park.

The 175-year-old BONNIFIELD Log House is known as the oldest still-standing dwelling of any white man in Iowa, but the tiny house is probably better known as the place where Fairfield was named.

The BONNIFIELD Log House was built in 1838 by the Rhodam and Nancy BONNIFIELD family to replace the makeshift cabin built the previous year when the family setled in what was to become Jefferson County.

According to Fairfield history as recorded by Susan FULTON WELTY in her book "A Fair Field," in March 1839, when city commissioners were visiting the BONNIFIELDs, they described the "pretty prairie" of the new town, and Mrs. BONNIFIELD suggested the name Fairfield.

WELTY wrote when Winfield FORDYCE bought the BONNIFIELD land years later, he offered the long-deserted cabin to the Old Settlers Association, and the BONNIFIELDs' son, West Benson BONNIFIELD, donated $500 to help relocate it.

WELTY's book says the association bought 10 acres of land on the north edge of Fairfield in January 1908. Seven months later, volunteers dismantled the house marking each log so it could be re-erected correctly in the new Old Settlers Park, about 8 miles west from its original location.

Today, the structure remains a visible link to Fairfield's history and preservation efforts continue.

MALLOY said the main celebration will end with a fireworks display "much larger than the regular fireworks display" at Waterworks Park.

Although the celebration July 4-5 will be the main event, MALLOY said the steering committee members are working to come up with other themed activities to be held throughout 2014. He said those could include an essay contest, special art exhibits, contests and more.

"We'll spread things out and have fun, but we want to make the July Fourth weekend really special," MALLOY said.

According to MALLOY, the steering committee is meeting on a weekly basis and more information and details will be announced.

In addition to MALLOY, the steering committee includes the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield Economic Development Association, Fairfield Community School District, Carnegie Historical Museum, Fairfield Art Association and Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk.

"We hope to engage the service organizations as well," said MALLOY.


"The Fairfield Ledger"
Monday, April 21, 2014
Front Page

Fairfield celebrates 175 years

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of Fairfield, which townspeople will celebrate with three full days of activities from July 4-6.

The festivities will begin with the Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk July 4, featuring Kevin Hart & the Iowa All Stars Band, children's activities and vendors. The party continues the following day with a parade, vintage tractor show at Maasdam Barns and a historic photo display located in the buildings around the square. The farmers' market will host pioneer kids' activities and Waterworks Park will host a family-friendly celebration, capped off with fireworks.

The parade will begin at 2 p.m. and will be open to all businesses, non-profits and organizations with floats. Vintage cars and tractors as well as middle school, high school and community bands are invited, too.

Parade entries will take off from the Fairfield High School parking lot and follow the same route as the Kiwanis Kids' Day parade, which means it will travel west on Broadway past Central Park; turn north on Main Street; east on Grimes Avenue; south on Court Street; then east on Briggs Avenue and back to the high school.. Extra parking will be made available for trailers to be left for items pulled to the school for the parade. The parade lineup will start at noon. Each parade entry will need to register but registration is free. Forms can be found at city hall and Premier Pack & Ship Plus. Questions about the parade can be directed to Joy Messer at 472-6193 (joymesser@hotmail.com); or to Andy Nelson at 641-242-0600 (anelson@hrtldcorp.com).

After the parade, festival-goers can mosey on over to Waterworks Park where activities begin at 4 p.m. Festivities include games, dunk tanks, food and music. The Bonnifield Log Cabin will host live music and country dancers wearing authentic 1840s constumes. Children will have a chance to play old-fashioned games from the early days of Fairfield's history. The house will be furnished with pioneer artifacts and will be open to visitors. A fireworks display courtesy of the Fairfield Fire Department will conclude the day.

Nelson and his Heartland Rod & Custom will host the 175th Celebration Car Show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 6, around the square. Organizers are planning many more activitires for the day including live entertainment. For more information on participating in the event, contact Nelson or Troy Elmore at 919-2122 (troy@rodandcustomshows.com).

Residents won't have to wait till (sic) July to celebrate the 175th anniversary. The committee has planned an event starting one week from today, which involves planting 175 trees in O.B. Nelson Park. Scott Timm will be on site with tools and gloves. Groups of adults and supervised kids are welcome to participate. On Saturday, May 3, the committee will plant 14 trees on the square.

Commemorative T-shirts and other items will be available for sale during art walk, at the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce and at city hall. Proceeds from these sales will go toward funding the festivities and events for the weekend.

For more information, contact Terry Baker at the Fairfield Iowa Convention & Visitors Bureau at 472-2828 or Michael Halley at 233-0445.

*Transcribed for historical purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.

BONNIFIELD Log Cabin webpage

Jefferson Documents maintained by Joey Stark.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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