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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. Little did I know that Meredith Willson would be the talk of my visit.

Palladium Carmel


Palladium Offers Passionate Tour Guides

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

Meredith Willson Was Embraced

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.

Meredith Willson’s Hometown is Mason City, Iowa

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


Music Man Square Brings 1912 to Life

You will notice that every day 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 roundabouts, 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

The local people of Carmel informed me that this town was dying several years ago, and the people came together to change things. 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 the 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 worldwide known icon and owning it! I have quickly learned that a lot of communities would claim Meredith Willson as their hometown boy in a heartbeat. 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.

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Sara is a travel enthusiast that resides in North Iowa. You can find her traveling where the plane, train, ship, or car will go. Are you looking to take a road trip? Sara has solutions for you!

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