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Friday, January 6, 2012

Along the Iowa Computer Trail - Marengo.

When John Atanasoff was designing the equipment that earned him the title "Father of the Computer" (see previous post) it was physics graduate student, Clifford Berry, that was holding the soldering iron and doing the heavy lifting.

Cliff Berry was born in Gladbrook Iowa in 1918.  We visited that town last year.  When Cliff was eleven years old, the family moved the 56 miles south and east to Marengo.  My goal for the morning was to see what information I could find about Berry's life in Marengo.

Fortunately, Marengo proudly claims Berry as one of their own and a book celebrating the 150th anniversary of the the town in 2009 devotes several pages to the Berry family.  We stopped in at the Marengo Library and found some very helpful staff.  While we were in town, I took a picture of the former Berry home located just a couple of blocks from the library.

The Berry family suffered a major tragedy in March of 1932 when Cliff's father was shot by a former employee who then committed suicide.  I was able to fill in a few more details from the Marengo 1859-2009 Families book but still have some unanswered questions.

Marengo is an attractive town located about six miles West of the Amana Colonies.  When we drove East after leaving Marengo, I noticed that the Colonies sign has been improved and modernized a bit:
IowaDay2-1-1 IowaDay2-08

Marengo has a nice sign welcoming visitors and noting  "Marengo, Our Town,  Make It Yours."

The local branch of the Natioanl Farmers Organization (NRO) has a livestock marketing facility near town.  The NFO was originally founded in Iowa in 1955.

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