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Montgomery County “WOW” Gallery

The Montgomery County WOW Gallery serves as a “Hall of Fame” for people, places, and things from Montgomery County.

Maurine Watkins

Maurine Watkins

Maurine Dallas Watkins (July 27, 1896 — August 10, 1969) was born in Kentucky but moved Crawfordsville as a child and later attended Crawfordsville High School. She went on to become a journalist and playwright. In the late 1920s she wrote the play “Chicago, which ran on Broadway. A 1927 silent film version was produced by Cecil B. DeMille; it was remade as “Roxie Hart” in 1942 with Ginger Rogers in the title role. After Watkins’ death, “Chicago” was adapted as a musical for stage and eventually as a 2002 film starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere.

View the trailer from the 1942 “Roxie Hart” film

Wilbur and Sydney De Paris

Wilbur De Paris (January 11, 1900 – January 3, 1973) played the trombone; he was especially known for mixing New Orleans jazz style with Swing. His brother, Sydney (May 30, 1905 – September 13, 1967) was a jazz trumpeter. Both boys were born in Crawfordsville and attended Crawfordsville High School. In the late 1940s, Wilbur and Sidney worked together in a band called New New Orleans Jazz, which featured many legendary jazzmen.

Listen to some selections from Marchin’ and Swingin’ — Wilbur de Paris and his New Orleans Jazz

Recorded in New York in September 1952

Wilbur de Paris, trombone; Sidney de Paris, cornet; Omer Simeon, clarinet; Don Kirkpatrick, piano; Eddie Gibbs, banjo; Harold Jackson, bass; Freddie Moore, drums.

When the Saints Go Marching In (5:56) — Vocal on this arrangement by Sidney de Paris and the ensemble
Martinique (5:12)

Dick van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke
Van Dyke (center, back row), 1940 Crawfordsville Yearbook (Art Appreciation Club)

Dick Van Dyke was born in Danville, IL, but spent a year in Crawfordsville (1939-1940) when he was 15. He lived on Grant Avenue, just across from Wabash College.

Read a 2-page excerpt from Dick van Dyke: My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business (.pdf)

Will Shortz

Will Shortz (born 26 August 1952 in Crawfordsville) is an American puzzle creator and editor. Shortz is currently the crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times. He is the only person to hold a college degree in enigmatology (the study of puzzles), which he received from Indiana University in 1974. Visit the Will Shortz website for more information.

View a Will Shortz video “On How a Crossword Is Made

Joe Allen

Joe Allen (born June 27, 1937) is a former NASA astronaut. In addition to his long NASA experience as a scientist-astronaut, he served as mission specialist on STS-5, the first fully operational flight of the Shuttle, in 1982. Allen was born in Crawfordsville and attended Mills elementary school. He graduated from Crawfordsville High School in 1955.

View A Sense of Place from Space: Joseph P. Allen at TEDxSonomaCounty