There was a bit of a light frost downtown when I arrived early this morning. Yes, the cold finds its lowest points first, and as I’ve mentioned, most of Mason City lies at the bottom of a bowl. I’m sure everyone wonders why so many cities across the United States are located on bodies of water. Inland we find large cities located on larger and smaller lakes, as well as larger rivers and lesser sized streams. The main reason these older cities were founded on natural water sources is that in their beginnings, the water provided both drinking water for the settlers as well as their livestock. Many Old West land barons battled over who had the rights to the more limited water supplies. One of the first commercial structures built here in Mason City was a grist mill that was built over Willow Creek where it supplied the water power to turn the mill wheel. Some years ago I had the opportunity to visit a mill on the Winnebago River in the town of Fertile. It was very interesting at the time because most of the mill components were still intact to the point where it was as if it would all start working once you pulled the lever. Keep in mind, when those mills were built, there was no electricity, no natural gas, no running water, and certainly no engines. To imagine how far we’ve progressed in our technology in just 150 years is a bit mind boggling. And to think forward, one likely can’t even consider what life will be like 150 years from now with the more fast paced discoveries of newer and better products to make our lives easier. As I’ve been reading of late, the big concern for environmentalists is to protect our dwindling potable water supplies. And to think, after over 150 years, we’re back to the great importance of water sources. It appears were on the return side of the full circle.
My public open house at 718 E. State Street didn’t have as many people as last time, but the one’s that were there were showing far more interest than the past. I’m certain it’s because the home is now nearly completely cleaned out. I’m falling more and more in “like” with that home each time I’m there. One of the people there mentioned she’d visited many historic homes over the years and never found one with three massive pocket doors coming together in the center as this home has. Everyone seems to be very impressed by that feature along with the detail work done with the woodwork. Of course my favorite is the setting. Where can you find a ¾ acre parcel in the City that is on a body of water with a Victorian home on it for a price as low as $142,500? Here we go again. It’s all about water. Think how many lives were saved over tough times when people would turn to catching fish in the lakes and rivers to keep their families from growing hungry. Many fishermen today are more into fishing for sport where in generations past, it was the fishermen that kept their families from starving. This brings to mind something I used to hear quite often when I was young but haven’t heard it for some time. I remember when a teacher, parent, or elder would say, “I’ll not give you a fish, but rather a pole so you can teach yourself to fish.” Perhaps the many people we have now with their hands out waiting for their monthly “fish”, should be given poles so they can fish for themselves. See, it’s all about water.