BROOKLYN, Iowa — A new historical marker unveiled here May 28 pays homage to a movie star who lived in the community as a child.
John Wayne, who was born Marion Morrison, moved with his family in 1909 to a privately owned home at 717 Jackson St. in Brooklyn.
His father, a pharmacist, moved the family to Earlham that year, but they returned to the Brooklyn home in 1913.
Wayne attended first grade in the community before his family moved to California in May 1914, according to the 1995 biography “John Wayne: American.”
Over the past year and a half, four people from the Brooklyn Historical Society raised more than $10,000 for a commemorative plaque, John Wayne silhouette and a rock with the saying “Howdy Pilgrim!” to place outside Wayne’s former home.
Waukee resident Carol Carpenter Hanson, a Brooklyn native, helped raise the money, primarily through private donations.
“It’s really to honor him as a person — the fact he was influenced by his Iowa roots, and to honor Brooklyn and its role in his early childhood years,” she said.
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Steve Rhoads, the president of the Brooklyn Historical Society said other features will be added to the memorial site such as a hitching post leading to a vintage-brick sidewalk. A flagpole with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol — a gift from U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa — also will be erected.
Wayne, known for his leading roles in several films, such as “Stagecoach,” “They Were Expendable,” “Red River,” “Fort Apache” and “The Searchers,” died at age 72 from stomach cancer in 1979.
A museum dedicated to Wayne opened in 2015 in Winterset. The building is opposite the home where Wayne was born on May 26, 1907.