April 4, 1945: “The Forgotten War” — the front in Italy — was reaching a climax. High in the mountains in the north, the snows were melting. Violets could be seen along the ridges, buttercups among the gun emplacements and the dugouts. The U.S.Army with men from Appanoose County was being infused with replacements: African Americans, Japanese Americans, British East Indians, Brazilians, South Africans, Italians fighting against the Germans. They included the 10th Mountain Division of the 88th U.S. Infantry — the famous Blue Devils, the all-draftee citizen army. Mountain peaks were captured, one was Mount Capello where Capt. Charles Radosevich of Centerville’s Dewey Road, transferred into the Blue Devils, armed those men with six grenades apiece and they pitched their way to the top. Waves of bombers of the 15th USAAF — Centerville’s Phil Brunow among the crews — came over the mountains from the south to prepare the path ahead. The soldiers on the ground, the fliers in the air could see the prize: The River Po Valley now tantalizingly close. They could see the clusters of neat houses, the fruit trees, the vineyards, the green pastures interlocked by white roads, villages — and the city of Bologna. (500-501)

April 5 1870: For passengers arriving at Centerville’s train stations there was a problem. Both main stations were one mile from Centerville square. Arriving passengers found no sidewalk connecting them to the center of town. In wet weather, they searched along hedgerows for firm footing. Twenty-nine year old Scotsman David Dinning stepped off the Chicago and Southwestern into an April blizzard and walked the mile uptown through snowdrifts, a howling gale and blinding snow. Predictably, around the depots a separate community developed. Tents and shacks clustered close to the tracks for the transient workers. Coal mines were dug to fuel the trains. Ponds were dug for water. There were machine shops, an iron foundry supplying parts, a round house to reverse a train’s direction. There were lumberyards, stores, hotels and houses. And there were saloons of descending reputation. There was noise, drunkenness, violence, beatings, knifings, prostitution, shootings and murders. The alias “Beatrice” covered the real identity of a woman living in the area. She wrote to the newspaper that she witnessed young men “whose parents are pious and respectable” and town married men involved in “nocturnal debauches and beastly carousels.” George Armour, a tailor from Keokuk, said the place there where men went to “indulge in various vices” was known as “the Levee.” The word stuck. (87-89)

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