Welcome to Agincourt, Iowa

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Welcome to the neighborhood!


Fortune Magazine cover, April 1938, by American illustrator John O’Hara Cosgrave [1930-1970]

Agincourt, Iowa is a pretty easy going community—population just over 17,500 according to the last census—in the northwest corner of the state. Fennimore county formed after the area was opened to settlement through a treaty with the Sac and Fox people; the city of Agincourt established soon after (1853) and incorporated in 1857. This is no place for a comprehensive history of the Muskrat River valley, the county’s primary watershed. That will be outlined elsewhere. But this page serves as an invitation and general orientation to the region—just in case you’d like to stop by and play in our sandbox.

As you may know, the Agincourt Project is an academic exercise [though don’t let that put you off] into the relationship between story-telling and place-making, that is, between narratives and their physical settings. To date, more than a hundred people have contributed to the Agincourt story: creating characters, designing landscapes and buildings, enriching the collective exercise, and (not incidentally) playing in the realm of historical fiction.

For the time being, The Project exists in several forms: this blog (which, up to now, has been written by the project curator, yours truly); a series of sketchbooks (also by me); the scattered remnants of designs produced by students, friends and family; two fabulous musical compositions by Agincourt’s semi-official Composer-not-in-Residence Daron Hagen; and a butt load of oral history shared between and among us at coffee, over a meal, in the elevator, or at an adjacent urinal; any place where two or three are gathered in the Project’s name. Regrettably, your curator (me, again) has done a poor job or recording all this; something that has to change. To this last point, let me invite your participation.

Here are some of the things we need:

  • More participation! This is an open invitation to come play in the sandbox with us. If you have an idea—a building type that interests you; a character you feel needs to be woven into the fabric of our narrative; a period of community history as yet undeveloped—message me at MrPlantagenet@gmail.com and open a conversation.
  • A Digital Presence: My skill set is severely restricted to reading, writing, and making the occasional non-verbal scrawl in a sketchbook. But I’m bold (or vain?) enough to think that Agincourt could be more completely accessible on the web. How can we give this project a presence here which will allow fuller exploration of its history and physical evolution? And carry that development farther? [See: below]
  • A Future? During the eleven years of its existence, Agincourt has existed largely in my mind. But beside greater participation and expanding its audience, Agincourt may last only as long as I do. At seventy-plus, I won’t last forever, but I’d like to think that the project will not simply linger on, but thrive after me.

The unspecified “need” here is clearly money. While I don’t want yours, two exhibits, two musical commissions, model-building, etc. haven’t come cheap. [The musical compositions were outright gifts, and only incidentally commissions.] If you can contribute your skills, your creativity, your enthusiasm and support, the citizens of Agincourt will be grateful—and express their thanks in some modestly effusive way.

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