Celebrating the history of Webster City

Webster City history was on display Saturday at Wilson Brewer Park Museums and Visitor Center during the annual Heritage Day.

The park is home to many of the community’s original historic buildings, including the first Hamilton County Courthouse, Harmony Center School, Mulberry Center Church, Depot museum and the two log cabins. For the first time in several years, all of the facilities were open for the public to view.

Vendors and craftspeople set up booths around the perimeter of the grounds and offered diverse wares as diverse – anything from spray paint art to bird houses. Classic and vintage cars were on display on the grounds. Demonstrations included the workings of antique engines, butter making and herb usage. Master gardener Sharon Helm offered herb seeds to those who stopped. She said she’s working to introduce native herbs near the historic Brewer-Groves log cabin.

“We’re starting a perennial herb garden here,” she said. “It won’t be finished until next year.”

Helm said the herbs will items that were used by pioneer families everyday either in cooking or for medicinal purposes. She’s also creating a drying rack for the cabin.

“I’ll bundle up some of the herbs I brought with me today and hang them on the drying rack,” she said.

Children’s games were held in the middle of the park grounds. Volunteer and former teacher JoAnn Robb lead the activities. Young people had a chance to try out the Virginia Reel and show their strength by taking part in a tug of war. They capped off the activities by seeing how far they could spit a sunflower seed. Bill Robb led group singing and music for children in the Mulberry Center Church.

A hardy band of performers gathered in front of the old courthouse to present a re-enactment of the first murder trial in Hamilton County. John Ross stood trial in the murder of his uncle, John Ross the elder. The costumed characters were joined on the stage by members of the audience who helped form the jury.

Despite the light drizzle, the performance continued. Audience members crowded under umbrellas and under tents to watch the trial. The rain may have shut down some of the vendors, but organizers were pleased with the turn out.

“We’ve had lots of people come through today,” said volunteer Cheryl Patrou.

“We had a huge of number and variety of vendors this year. Boy Scouts cooked up lunch for everyone to enjoy. We were pleased.”