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Author Topic: Clear Lake, IA  (Read 10704 times)
Jerry@CHP
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« on: February 01, 2007, 06:26:15 PM »

Started out this morning for Dell Rapids, SD from Clear Lake, IA.  Was -12 degrees when I left this morning.  Too cold to be doing these Camaro inspections.   High of zero for Friday and Sat.

Burrrrr..........

Jerry
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3Zs
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2007, 06:35:20 PM »

Jerry, you better get out of there.  You know what happened to Charles Hardin Holley in Clear Lake exactly 48 years ago tomorrow.  Tex Timberlake
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Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2007, 09:36:48 AM »

Tex,

That's why we come out here every year.  There is a Winter Dance Party event at the Surf Ballroom where Charles Harden Holly played his last gig.  Been happeneing since 1979.  I worked in a Camaro road trip while my wife and I are here.  About 225 miles to Dell Rapids from CL.

Highlight so far was having dinner with Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs last night.  Anyone who bought one of these Camaros new will know exactly who they are!

Jerry
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ccargo
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2007, 09:49:16 AM »

I was born and raised in Clear Lake, IA. and graduated H.S. there in 1981. I worked at the gas station beside the Surf ballroom that at the time was a full service old fashioend Standard Oil. Parked my first 68 L35 RS/SS out front in the late 70's! Buddy Holly crashed on my grandfathers property. He was the first at the crash scene. Brutal weather there but a great place to grow up.
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Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2007, 10:26:06 AM »

Plane crashed on the Albert Juhl farm.  There is a crash site marked in the field but Jerry Dwyer, owner of the flying service said it's not marked in the actual spot.  Told us that the field sizes and fence lines were changed in the 1960's and the fence where it is marked is not right.  Jerry D was at the Surf last night.  I would like to get more details from him about the site.  Too damn cold to go out there this weekend,

Jerry 
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3Zs
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2007, 10:33:59 AM »

Jerry, Lubbock reminds me of the pictures of Clear Lake from 1959.  It is 20* and snowing like crazy.  Looks like the Zs will have to stay hooked up to the Battery Tenders a while longer.  Tex T.
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ccargo
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2007, 02:46:32 PM »

The crash site is nowhere near the terist (IA. for tourist) location and memorial. The plane crashed 3 miles from the airport and the memorial is about 6 miles away! Very true about the area being rural and even more so during the 50's. You need to also understand that in a farming community, land is owned by one person, leased by another, and sometimes planted and harvested by yet someone else. If you look at the black and white photos of the wreckage and recovery you will see a tall man in a long black coat wearing a western hat. That's my grandpa "Buck". I played in the hole in the cornfield where the recovery crews tore things up. It made a neat little retreat in the middle of a corn field for a 10 year old boyk! Buck was never too happy about the whole situation as he was not Rock and Roll but a little bit Country Smiley If anyone is interested I can tell more about the long standing mystery of the whereabouts of personal belongings?
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Ed Bertrand
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2007, 02:52:26 PM »

I'm VERY interested. Give me more!!!

Ed
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lakeholme
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2007, 03:37:25 PM »

Me, too.  I'd already dusted off my "Peggy Sue" 45  to remember Buddy.  But tonight, I'm going to search for "Sugar Shack" and "Bottle of Wine" --thanks to Jerry.

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/cab.htm
http://www.globegazette.com/northiowatoday/buddyholly/pages/crashsite.php
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Phillip
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"Charlotte AutoFair, presented by the Hornets Nest Region, AACA, is the largest and greatest Collector Vehicle Event in the Southeast USA."
Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2007, 03:54:48 PM »

Jerry Dwyer, owner of Dywer's Flying Service was the first person to spot the plane in the search the next day.  He has taken visitors from the UK (England) up in one of his planes to show where the actual plane did crash.  It gets back to the fence lines being changed back in the 1960's. 

My buddy and I talked with him last year about this.  Jerry is very guarded about the whole situation as many blame him for the crash and both he and his wife told us about death threats he's received over the years.  Its only been in the past few years that the British people who come over every year reached out to him trying to get him to attend this event.  Now things are better.  It was through my buddy Glenn, who just retired from from flying Air Force One last year, that Jerry Dwyer opened up to us a bit.  Glenn didn't come this year so I didn't want to push anything with Jerry.  He warmed right up to Glenn because of his Air Force One duties.

Of special note, Tommy Allsup, Buddy's lead guitarist from the famous "last tour" has been playing at this event and just played at the British luncheon today.  He's about 75 years old but still can play that Stratocaster.  Also played last night at the Surf.  That place was rockin'.  Ricky Nelson's boys closed the show last night.  They are excellent too!

More later, only one computer here at the hotel courtesy desk.

Jerry

Jerry
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Jerry@CHP
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2007, 04:00:04 PM »

Ed,

Come on out and I'll introduce you to Jerry Dywer.  Much better weather here than in Ca.

Jerry
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Ed Bertrand
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2007, 04:04:49 PM »

Jerry,

Supposed to be in the high 70's today, 80's this weekend!

But I would love to be there.

Sounds like you're all having a ball.

Ed

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ccargo
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2007, 11:56:18 PM »

Jerry, can you get a couple photos of the Surf to post when you get home? This place is really special! My parents met there in the big band era. I was attending during the 70's to the likes of Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, and Head East among others. I had hair down to my shoulders a pair of bell bottom jeans with red white a blue patches that were held up by a thick leather belt with an attached buck knife, no shirt, just a deep tan and a three inch thick leather watch band around my wrist. Jeez I have three teenage daughters now and threw the last guy to visit out the door because of a tatoo LOL! The Surf Ballroom has a huge wooden dance floor with several levels of cozy booths surrounding it and a full service bar in each corner Smiley Its the perfect size to get that party feeling and dancing instead of jumping up and down shoulder to shoulder is what it was built for. It would make a sweet location for a summer car show. They do have a nice show in Clear Lake every summer that I attended a couple of years ago but the Surf is'nt part of it Sad What I like'd about it was that it included a cruise around the lake and the road was lined with partying spectators over the entire 24 mile route. They also had a party and band at the city park band shell after the show. If you're close I'd recommend it but bring a set of rear tires to burn as the locals sauce the streets and hang banners and offer beers to entice a smoke show! Jerry, if you are staying near I65 at the Best Western part of my families farm was across the road where the small motels, and fast food joints are now. The Interstate came in and cut the farm in half. It was bitter sweet for the family but I had a great time running that unfinished Interstate in the 68 L35 untill I went to the airport and fueled up with aviation octane to run against a Cuda from the next county over.

  Back to the buddy Holley story. Clear Lake lived with the inigma of killing Buddy, the Bopper, and Richie for many quiet years. In the mid 70's a new disck jockey, "The Mad Hatter", moved to town and learning of the local history decided to spin the bad into a positive experience. Many locals just wanted to lay low and let the music die. My brother worked for the radio station helping with local promotion of the first reunion. It took a couple years for the locals to jump on board. No one imagined then that it would become the rock n roll  mecca it has become for people world wide who appreciate the short but important impact of cutting edge music that these three artists created. Does anyone know who gave up his seat on the plane for Richie that cold night? Hint, country music would have felt his loss as well. Part of the black eye Clear Lake endured in the early years was that the personal belongings of Buddy vanished including his signature black thick rimmed glasses. My grandfather was badgered by authorities and fans for many years as he was one of just a few non officials at the site. The Kemmer family who was also at the site suffered the same finger pointing. This was always a thorn in the side of my grandfather who did'nt understand the fuss and yes he was threatened at times as well. I think it was in the mid 80's when by some mysterious fortune the court house found these items in storage having been "miss filed". It was obvious to us that an "official" feeling the pressure most likely made them re-appear. Buddies widow was then reunited with the items at one of the reunions. I'm going to give my mother a call in the morning and get the story straight on a few wierd things that were found in the wreckage. It's been a bunch of years and she knows more of the what who and where than I recall. Jerry if you run into any of the locals in their 40's shoot them my name. I'd love to hear who you might run into that I know. You might also throw out my grandfathers name to the pilot and see what he recalls? Enough for now.

Pat Railsback
Buck Bisgrove (grandfather)
Donna Bisgrove (my mother)
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1968RSZ28
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2007, 01:05:22 AM »

Hi Pat -

  It's a small world!  My wife (maiden name Barbara Rickman) and I live in the Bay Area of California, but she was born and raised in Clear Lake, Iowa.  Her Great Uncle and Aunt Julius and Josie Heng owned the farm next door to Albert Juhl, and the plane crashed right over the fence line from the Hengs.  Her dad, Duane Rickman, was a friend of the plane pilot, Roger Peterson, who also died in the crash.  Roger Peterson was Jerry Dwyer's boss at the time.  Duane had a television and radio repair shop called Rick's Radio & TV Repairs on Main Street (now I think they call it "Buddy Holly Boulevard") from the mid 1950s through the 1960s.  Duane also knows your grandfather and Jerry Dwyer too.  He said to say hello.  He made tv repair service calls at many peoples' houses back then, including to Mr. Juhl.  We called my in-laws tonight in response to your question, and Duane said it was Waylon Jennings who was bumped off the flight the night of the crash.  All this happened back in February 1959 before my wife was born.  But when she saw your name, she remembered that she went to school with a Steve Railsback.  Is he a relative of yours?  She left Clear Lake after sixth grade, but she would have been in the high school graduating class of 1980.  She has older siblings (three) who all went through high school in Clear Lake too.

Paul
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ccargo
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2007, 01:55:22 AM »

Well it is a small world! I'll have to run all these names by my mother in the morning. Steve is my older brother by one year. I just pulled out the H.S. yearbook and found a photo of Jerry Dwyer chaperoning the Christmas dance in 1979 wearing a Santa suit Smiley His daughter Dawn was a Senior when I was a Freshman. One gorgeous red head! Paul and Barbara win the trivia question although calling home is cheating a bit Smiley
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