Three substantial components of the project’s physical form have eluded me: #1) the pair of public spaces at Agincourt’s core—The Commons and The Square—and their respective character, the estrogen and testosterone of civic life; #2) the cemeteries at the east edge of the Original Townsite—The Shades (non-denominational), St Ahab’s (Roman Catholic consecrated space), and the Hebrew Burial Ground; and #3) the Fennimore County Fairgrounds. Of these, the most enticing is the third, because I can at least identify with midway carnival rides, cotton candy, and images of Pope Francis crafted from peas, beans, and pasta.
Two students have approached me about imagining this space at the west edge of town on the far side of the Mighty Muskrat. Understanding this site is not the most user-friendly on the web, I’ve gathered some of the miscellaneous references to the fairgrounds for them—and for you as well.
- The Fennimore County Agricultural Association may have been my first serious consideration of the topic. And Improving the Gene Pool dealt with the fundamental purpose of such cultural institutions in the 19th century.
- The Fennimore County Fair [2017.12.12] was an early observation of the topic. As was Brigg Fair, a romantic reference to a folk song orchestrated by Frederick Delius. See also: American Passtime (which has one too many “s”s but I prefer it that way) and Chautauqua (part 1) and Chautauqua (part 2) about another 19th century cultural institution often linked with fairgrounds but operating independently.
- “Meet me at the Fair” [2018.01.03] was one of several attempts at linking the problem with parallels in my own experience. Here I wrote about William A. Wells, an early Oklahoma architect of my acquaintance who had designed several features at an amusement grounds in suburban Oklahoma City at the time of statehood.
- The Northwest Iowa Traction Co. served the fairgrounds after about 1911 with seasonal service, which required a trestle over the Muskrat for access. And Infrastructure is yet a further inquiry into the fairgrounds’ connectivity with other parts of the community.
- Romantic allusions to the fair brought me to write about Lover’s Leap, while “Sumer is icumen in…” attempted to integrate the fairgrounds with the river that borders its east edge.
Never having considered what all these musings may mean when taken together, I leave it to the two intrepid student volunteers who’ve elected to take this issue head on.