Travel With Sara

A Tale Of Two Cites: Carmel, Indiana And Mason City, Iowa

I was recently introduced to Hamilton County Indiana, which happens to be the home of Carmel, Indiana. While visiting, I had the opportunity to tour the Center for the Performing Arts, which includes this beautiful palladium.

Palladium Carmel

Our tour guide Jeff, was extremely knowledgeable, as he knew the ins and outs of this beautiful building. He shared tips on where to sit for the best experience, as well as how the building came to be. Jeff shared the history of the building, which was completed in January of 2011. I am intrigued, as I see Sheryl Crow is scheduled to perform in July of 2017. Wouldn’t she be fun to see here?

tour guide Jeff

Our tour continued and we were introduced to the Songbook Foundation. Here is where my friend Lisa and I were shown memorabilia from Meredith Willson, who hails from my hometown of Mason City, Iowa. Much to my surprise, I saw boxes and boxes of Meredith Willson’s music and history in Carmel, Indiana.

boxes of Meredith Willson items

It took no more than five minutes to realize that this community embraced music and loved everything about Mason City’s hometown boy, Meredith Willson.

Meredith Willson letter

I will admit that I was taken back, as I honestly thought that Mason City’s Music Man Square was the “only” museum in the world featuring Meredith Willson. It was exciting, yet interesting to hear that Carmel, Indiana will have a display featuring Meredith Willson from November 2017- November 2018. It was also impressive to hear that others care so much about Mason City’s hometown boy, that they also have a vision of building a permanent museum to feature Meredith Willson and his love of music.

The midwest is home to many gems and it’s fun to see that music is one of those gems. Have you visited Music Man Square in Mason City, Iowa?

Meredith Willson Museum Feature Photo

Everyday is 1912, as the River City Street Scape is set to the 1962 film, The Music Man.

Have you visited Hamilton County Indiana? From horseback riding, archery, music and more, this community has it all! They even have round abouts, in fact, so many that they are known as, “Roundabout City, USA.”

Carmel, Indiana reminded me of my hometown of Mason City, Iowa in more ways than one. 20 years ago, their downtown was in shambles and today it is bustling. The people here had a vision and made it happen.

Carmel Main Street

There’s something to be learned when communities work together and see the future. It’s easy to have tunnel vision and not look around us. I have the opportunity to travel and experience what other communities have to offer. It’s all about a quality of life and an opportunity to be a welcoming community to others. Mason City can be a welcoming, bustling community. It does involve people working together and embracing a world wide known icon and owning it! I have quickly learned that a lot of communities would claim Meredith Willson as their hometown boy in a heart beat. Why not take pride in what Mason City owns? It makes sense to me. If the folks in Mason City don’t want to own it, I can guarantee you that someone else will own it. With the beautiful architecture Mason City has, we simply need to get better at sharing our story.

Fact: Did you know that 2017 marks 60 years since the Music Man hit broadway. How will your community celebrate this milestone?

*Thank you to Hamilton County Indiana for hosting me on my visit.

Thanks for the share!
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7 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Cites: Carmel, Indiana And Mason City, Iowa

  1. Elaine Masters

    How sweet. It amazing to think how long it’s been since the Music Man hit Broadway. I loved musicals when I was growing up and this is iconic. Wonderful too that the cities are keeping the spirit alive.

  2. Brianna

    Fun fact, I played Marian the Librarian in the Music Man in 9th grade. I’d love to talk with Jeff, he has such a friendly face and I bet he’s got some stories to tell.

  3. knycx

    Interesting how the seemingly completely unrelated two places on earth could be linked up by a thread just like that, although I have no idea about the background of these two cities, that’s interesting to about a little bit more about these places. Thanks a lot for your introduction. @ knycx.journeying

  4. SaraB Post author

    You will love Hamilton County. Yes, it’s fun to see cities keeping the history alive and flourishing.

  5. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    We are actually planning to go to Hamilton County next month. My mom lives deep in the Ohio countryside so I know what you mean about how these places embrace their heritage. There was a time, not so long ago, that these sleepy little towns where hustling with their own energy. Small scale manufacturing line main street and passenger railroads rolled into town on a regular basis. It seems like Mason City and Carmel are doing their part to keep history alive.

  6. Adelina // PackMeTo

    I haven’t been to Indiana or Iowa, but all these photos and your description makes it sound very quintessentially Midwest. I love anything musical so this sounds like an experience right up my alley.

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