Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


August 5, 2011

Reminiscing on Rathbun Lake dedication

EXLINE — Here we are, into August already and the last third of summer will begin to wind down. The Iowa State Fair will begin this coming Thursday, Aug. 11. So, that means school will begin before we know it.

The recipe for this week is one, from an Appanoose County Fair award winner that has been selected to go onto to the Iowa State Fair. It was submitted by a local 4-H member named, McKinley Maletta, who is in the Moravia Farm Hands, 4-H Club.


French Bread

2-½ c. warm water

2 Tb. sugar

1 Tb. salt

2 Tb. cooking oil

6 c. sifted flour

2 packages dry yeast



1 Tb. corn meal

1 egg (beaten)

1 Tb. sesame seeds


To  make the bread, pour the warm water that is  105 to 115 degrees into a large mixing bowl.   Add the sugar, salt, oil, half of the flour and the yeast. Beat with a mixer.

Once that is blended, slowly add the remaining flour and mix until all of the dry ingredients are blended together.

Allow the batter to rest 10 minutes. Turn the mixer on for a few seconds and shut it off.   Repeat this five times.

Dump the dough out of the bowl, onto a floured surface. Knead the dough only until it is all coated in flour. Then, divide the dough into two pieces.  

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into two, 9 by 12 inch rectangular pieces. Then roll each piece of dough, like you would for a jelly roll, keeping them separate.   Pinch the seems to seal the dough together.

Take a large sheet pan, grease it and dust with corn meal. Then place the two loaves on the prepared pan.

Let them rise there for 30 minutes at room temperature.  

Using a sharp knife, make three angled cuts on top of each loaf.   

Take the beaten egg and brush it on top of each loaf. Then take half of the sesame seeds and sprinkle them on one loaf of bread. Take the remaining sesame seeds and sprinkle them on the second loaf.

Bake both loaves together on this same pan, in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.


With the 40th anniversary celebration of the dedication of Rathbun Lake that was held last weekend, it reminded me of that big day, all of those years ago. That was when, Pres. Richard Nixon came and gave the dedication speech, for the new Rathbun Lake and dam. It occurred July 31, 1971 which was a beautiful, sunny day.

In 1971, I was a member of the Centerville Boots and Saddle Club.   At the time Gerald Banks was the chief of police in Centerville. He came to some of the saddle club members and asked them if the group would be interested in helping with parking and crowd control on their horses, during this monumental event.

The club leaders asked if anyone would be interested and the majority of the group agreed to do it.   We then all had to submit our names and social security numbers to the local police. We were told at the time that they would be passed onto the Secret Service so they could run background checks on all of us, so we could be approved to participate in the big event.

The day before the dedication was to occur, the saddle club members that were going to participate hauled their campers and horses out to the lake area.

We camped on the northeast corner of the intersection just south of the dam. It was all mowed and cleared off.   By evening, everyone was settled in. Once we were all there, I was told later that no one was allowed to leave, since we were in the secure area.

We all ate supper and later we made popcorn and sat around a camp fire and visited, which was kind of fun.

Real early the next morning, we got up and ate breakfast and took care of our horses. We saddled them and just as it was getting light that morning, a lot of us mounted up and rode over to just north of the Army Corps of Engineers Office. As we rode over to the road that leads to the Island View camping area, there was already a line of cars there at the barricade at the entrance of the road waiting to get in.

We rode down the road that lead to the dedication site entrance, which in those days, was laid out differently than it is today.

Police, sheriffs and deputys were there from all over, to help provide security. We were given some instructions of how to ride into a crowd to help control them, if we were needed for that purpose. Mostly we were instructed on how they wanted the hundreds of vehicles parked in the big fields that were along the road to Island View. Those fields were all mowed, so the cars could park there.

Soon they began to let in the cars that had been waiting out on the road.    We then had to help direct and park all of those cars. The saddle club used to help park the cars at the county fair for years, so everyone knew how to do that. As the morning progressed, the stream of cars seemed unending.

We began to notice the arrival of a lot of Iowa Highway Patrol cars that day. We tried to keep count of those and we figured there were over 90 of their cars there that day and they had three to four officers in each one, besides all of the other law enforcement people that were also there that day.

The crowd swelled to hundreds of people and the field was full of row upon row of vehicles, as far as you could see.

The excitement of the crowd began to increase as the Presidential helicopter was sited coming towards the lake area around noon. It eventually landed nearby and the president and his entourage made it to the Dedication Site podium, that is still there today.

By then, just about everyone that wanted to be there had arrived, so our parking duties kind of subsided.

You could see the law enforcement people really scanning the crowd and watching them. A van load of hippies pulled up in a Volkswagon micro-bus, painted in weird colors with peace signs on it.

The Secret Service with their sunglasses on, pulled that van over and had all of the many people that were inside of it, get out. They all were spread eagled on the side of the van and they were thoroughly searched right in front of everyone, so they were not taking any chances.

We then, rode our horses to right up behind the crowd so we could get a good look at the president from atop of our horses. We had a really clear view over everyone’s heads from our vantage point.

The people standing there that day, were vying for position and craning their necks to see the president. Some of us sitting on our horses kidded that we should charge $5 each and let some of those people up on our horses so they could see good, but we did not do that.

The president gave his speech, surrounded by a lot of dignitaries, including the Iowa governor, Robert Ray, and other politicians and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, who constructed the dam.  

After the president’s speech, he mingled among the crowd briefly and then was whisked away in the helicopter back to the Ottumwa airport where the Presidential plane, Air Force One had landed and was waiting for him.

Soon, the Exline Community Center will be named a Red Cross designated shelter in case of an emergency. They are beginning to get people who are interested in going through the training that will help oversee the center if there is a need to use the facility, in case of some sort of disaster.

Have you noticed the new sidewalk and handicap ramp that was installed last week to the Exline City Hall? From what I understand, the interior of the building is also under going repairs and updates, complete with new carpeting. They are even installing a new heating and air conditioning system there also.

Last weekend Tim Burger and Megan Moore were married at the Exline Church of Christ at 4 p.m. Following the wedding, a reception was held at the Exline Community Center with about 100 people in attendance.

This week, it was quite a site to see men working, painting the water tower in Exline. They were on scaffolding high in the air, overlooking the town as they worked.

Remember tomorrow Saturday, Aug. 6, there is going to be a rummage sale at the community center. It begins at 7 a.m. They would like anyone who would like to sell fresh baked goods and garden produce at the community center to also be there tomorrow.

If you have questions and are still interested in participating, you may call Mary Ann Hurley at (641) 658-2691 or Jean Leach at (641) 658-2623.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the 2014 Appanoose County Fair. It starts Monday and wraps up on Saturday with a demolition derby at 8 p.m. So, the question of the week is, "How many days do you plan to go to the Appanoose County Fair?

A. I plan to attend all six days.
B. I plan to attend five days.
C. I plan to attend four days.
D. I plan to attend three days.
E. I plan to attend two days.
F. I plan to attend one day.
G. I do not plan to go to the fair this year.
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