Book Report: Historic Midwest Houses by John Drury (1947)

This is an awesome idea book. You know, a book that’s chock full of ideas for essays one could write about historical personages or whatnot.

This book collects, by state, a number of historic homes you can visit in each state and details why they’re historical. As the book covers the Midwest region, you get some rather old homes in Ohio and Kentucky, but some nondescript and only regionally important homes in the Dakotas.

The book is 63 years old at this time, so it’s a historical document of its own, describing people who the author thought was important enough to commemorate the homes at that time. In many cases, the historical figures died only a decade or so before the book was written and the historical personage or his or her family lived in the house to press time.

At any rate, I enjoyed the book as a bedstand book (marked as one that one can read in short segments, stories, or columns and put down for a couple of days without having to remember where you are) over the course of several months. I’d recommend it for aspiring writers and people interested in random history trivia.

Of the homes mentioned, I have been to two: the Mark Twain House in Hannibal, Missouri, and the Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, Missouri.

As a final note, most of the states came up with pretty relevant people, but poor Iowa only came up with people who visited for a while, like Antonin Dvorak, and people who were born there or lived there but moved away and got famous. Or who ended up mostly known in Iowa. Sadly, not many of these personages serve as fodder for essays targeted to national magazines.

Books mentioned in this review: