Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday night + Creston, Iowa + Elks' Lodge = !!!

A personal goal during my term as president of the Northwest Alumni Association is to visit as many of our chapters as possible. So Friday afternoon I drove up to Creston, Iowa, for a big event with the Southern Iowa Alumni & Friends Chapter.

They had 70 people — including three current Northwest football players from the area — for a catered dinner, featured guest Coach Tjeerdsma along with the national championship trophy and the season's highlight video, Northwest's athletic director and alumni relations director, door prizes, a slew of raffle items, a live auction, and The Student Body selling merchandise. (Note the disco ball on the ceiling, in case the Creston Elks really wanna tear it up.)

I loved how their chapter banner at the front of the room was hung from the actual elk, itself.

Afterward, I was intrigued by some of Creston's historic architecture as I drove back home to KC. On the frieze above these columns is engraved "VNITED STATES POST OFFICE AND COVRT HOVSE".

The old train depot certainly caught my eye when I first drove by it in the daylight, so I stopped to take a picture before leaving.

Then the craziest thing happened when a car pulled up and a familiar-looking woman got out. I said hi and asked if she happened to be at the Northwest alumni event.

She replied, "Yeah. I was just across the street (at the bar) having a drink and saw you over here taking pictures. I have a key to the building and thought you might like to see inside. C'mon." How crazy is that!?!

Unfortunately, she said, they don't give out keys to the light switch. But she explained Creston's long railroad history, how it's a stop on the BNSF Railway, still offers daily Amtrak service and that the depot — built in 1899 — also now serves as city hall. She also gave me a tour of its unique Presidential Doll Collection and this original waiting room, with a working train display by the Creston Model Railroad Club. It was surreal!

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