Genealogy group meets Nov. 19 at museum

Monday, November 14, 2022

LE MARS ó The Northwest Iowa Genealogical Society will meet at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19, in the first-floor music room of the Plymouth County Historical Museum, 335 First Ave. S.W., in Le Mars.

Following a brief business meeting, guest speaker Le Mars photographer Curt Strathman will give a slide show on renowned sprint car driver Emory Collins and his Offenhauser No. 7 race car. Refreshments will be served. The event is free, and the public is welcome to attend.

Le Mars resident Emory Collins captured four national racecar championships during his 30-year career. He won the last two driving the red Offenhauser No. 7 in 1947 and 1948. In 2019, the museum initiated its successful campaign to acquire that winning car for its collection.

Collins passed away in 1982 and is buried at Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars. His wife Irene died in 2004, and she bequeathed Emoryís scrapbooks and memorabilia to her cousin, Curt Strathmanís wife. To honor Emory, Curt used the material to build the slide show that he will present at the museum.

A photo from one of the cherished scrapbooks shows an exuberant Emory Collins at the Iowa State Fair Races. Seated in the No. 7, he hoists the winnerís trophy for the camera. A familiar face seen on the far right in that image is then-sportscaster and future U. S. President, Ronald Reagan. One need not be a racing fan to appreciate the history.

For those who fancy race cars, the Offenhauser No. 7 can now be viewed at the far end of the museumís basement. Volunteers are currently working on a permanent display which will incorporate a mural painted by esteemed Le Mars artist Harry Gray. Strathmanís program will undoubtedly generate renewed interest in Emory Collins, as well as his red No. 7.

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