History of the Butterfly, Part 103: Where are the Oarisma Poweshiek Type Specimens?

Or:  What happens to a butterfly in a tornado?

Presumably most of the specimens of Oarisma poweshiek (then called Hesperia powesheik) that Henry and Helen Parker collected were deposited in a major museum, specifically the largest museum west of the Mississippi River at the time.  That was the museum that Henry Parker built at what is now called Grinnell College.

This is what the primary college building looked like:

Then, on June 17, 1882 there was a tornado. 

The tornado blew off the top two stories of the building.  A few hours after the storm the building caught fire–it was suspected that sodium or phosphorus from the chemistry lab started the fire.

There is no record of who is in the photograph, but I suspect that the gentleman seated may be Josiah B. Grinnell.  Grinnell noted in his autobiography that the only person in town who had tornado insurance was Henry W. Parker.  Some 130 people died in Grinnell and across Iowa.

The photographs are from a collection of stereo photos available online here.  They are from the New York City Library collections,  Robert E. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views, and the original photos were taken by Everett E. James of Des Moines.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in Helen Fitch Parker, Henry W. Parker, Iowa History, oarisma poweshiek, The History of the Butterfly and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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