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NITC in good times and bad


the 1920s were the Golden Age of poster art. Whether this travel poster, enticing the British rail traveler to consider a holiday in Wales — a spectacular example of the art of Michael Reilly — or Alfonso Iannelli’s circus promotion, graphic design became a highly respected form of expression. [If the Iannelli has some familiar elements, it’s because he worked with Frank Lloyd Wright on projects like the Midway Gardens. The dog balancing a ball on its head has qualities similar to the “Water Sprites” at the Midway Gardens.] I certainly have an affinity for both styles, though it was the Great Western Railway’s advertising campaign that first came to mind. Oh, and if you’re curious, theses two artists were born in 1898 and 1888, respectively.

I had hoped to incorporate a few “vintage” Agincourt posters in the current exhibit — the exhibit will possibly up through New Year’s — but that, like several other components remain in my mind’s eye. 
Imagine, for example one of two campaigns by the Northwest Iowa Traction Co., promoting ridership on the line, which ran from Fort Dodge to Storm Lake, with the intent to push on the Sioux City and/or Omaha. The first in the 20s, while times were good, suggesting seasonal travel to Sturm & Drang; these might reflect “lake life” in general or one of the resorts, like Smith’s Hotel, in particular. Other NITC-connected travel destinations might include the Fennimore County Fair or the home games of The Archers, our Double-A baseball team.

Then there were the 30s, the Great Depression, and the cheap travel afforded by the NITC. Similar motivation probably underwrote conditions during the war years: free travel to the community’s “Victory Gardens” on weekends, for example, or free travel for military personnel.

We don’t have dramatic landscape to promote. Nor is Corradini’s Menagerie likely to have passed through town. Still, I can dream.

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