Ever since the James Grimes statue went up in the Grimes Sports Complex last year, there has been a mix of emotions - including confusion and fright - among citizens. But, a group of teenagers has worked to change that.
With the help of history teacher Joel Rankin, a capstone class at Dallas Center-Grimes Meadows researched James W. Grimes to make a plaque for the statue.
Meadows introduced a capstone class to the 8th and 9th graders. The class met every Friday to work on a service-learning project, according to Rankin.
“The theme was the growth of Grimes,” Rankin said. “So the kids had to take a piece of, whether it be the restaurants coming in or the parks and recreation, something that they try to learn more about and hopefully get something done. Since I teach history, I said I’ll do one including the history or Grimes preservation.”
The 10-student class took a trip to the Grimes Heritage Museum and ended up wondering why their town was named Grimes. Knowing there was confusion about the James Grimes statue, the students decided on their project for the semester.
“There was a lot of complaining on social media,” Rankin said. “‘What is this?’ ‘Who is this?’ ‘Why is he here?’ ‘It’s scary.’
After seeing these comments, the class started researching information about Grimes.
“There was a new statue that came up and it looked kind of creepy from afar,” said Bella Bauman, Meadows student. “We knew that not a lot of people knew about the statue, so we wanted to have people be more informed. So we made the plaque.”
Rankin and Bauman addressed the Grimes City Council on April 10 about the plaque. The city council members thought the students had a good idea and that it would be “helpful for citizens to read something” about Grimes. The city later paid for the plaque to be made and installed on the statue.
While James Grimes never lived in the City of Grimes, he was Iowa’s third governor and later on became a U.S. senator. He was a member of a peace convention to try and prevent the Civil War. Grimes was also instrumental in the passage of the 14th amendment, which helped give ex-slaves civil rights.
This and more information can be found on the plaque on the James W. Grimes statue at the Grimes Sports Complex.
Members of the capstone class included: Bella Bauman, Trinity Godfrey, Cyrus Hunter, Alex Jordan, Amelia Johnston, Mark Lillebo, Logan MacCannell, Harrison Stallman and Logan Ward.