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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Oct 15, 2009

A piece of Estherville’s history returned recently when the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce bought a slice of the famed Estherville meteorite at auction in Edinburgh, Scotland.

No, the chamber didn’t take a golfing junket or distillery tour to Scotland to buy the meteorite – although that sounds rather entertaining. The bidding was done over phone in the wee hours of the morning since it was already daylight in Europe.

At the price of L6,800, around $11,000, the purchase was a relative bargain. The rock was expected to possibly bring more than three times that amount. However, times are tough in Scotland as well as in the U.S.

It’s hard to put a price on one’s heritage. But that’s exactly what the chamber bought along with the meteorite which took a prominent role when it was displayed at Tuesday night’s annual meeting of the chamber of the chamber and EIDC. The chamber is now thinking up ways of how to use the meteorite to aggressively market Estherville. It all fits in well with the efforts of Excel! Estherville.

The fact that the money to buy the meteorite came from the hotel-motel tax was a great idea too. Visitors who come to ESTHERVILLE to see the ESTHERVILLE meteorite will stay at ESTHERVILLE motels, eat at ESTHERVILLE restaurants and patronize ESTHERVILLE attractions.

It all makes a whole lot of sense.

It all fits in well with Estherville’s unique sales position which is its history. Where else can you go in northwest Iowa where names such as Esther Ridley, the town’s namesake, and Fort Defiance State Park, named for the frontier fort that once stood on what is now South Sixth Street, are household words. Both Esther Ridley and Fort Defiance offer intriguing possibilities for promoting Estherville.

Nicholis Ibsen, brother of famed Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, is buried in the Norwegian Cemetery with the epitaph, “By strangers honored and by strangers mourned.” Perhaps a yearly one-act play competition could be held in Nicholis’ honor.

Apparently, a man was hanged in Estherville for making disparaging remarks about President Lincoln shortly after Lincoln was assassinated. We haven’t been able to learn very much about that incident, and if anyone has more information, we would welcome it.

The melodramatic production, The Trial of Jack McCall, pulls thousands to Deadwood, S.D., every summer, even though McCall was found innocent of the shooting of James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok because McCall made up a story about Hickok gunning down his brother Elmer. After he was into his cups one day, though, McCall said he didn’t even have a brother Elmer. McCall was summarily tried and hanged in Yankton, S.D. (which for some strange reason doesn’t have a play about the REAL hanging).

Maybe we could find out who the heck this guy who said all those nasty things about Lincoln really was and hang him again and again, every night from Memorial Day through Labor Day, right in Library Square (which could very well be where the guy was actually hanged).

Anyway, just some ideas…