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Chapter Four: 
Ahead of their Time

“Ahead of Their Time” presents unforgettable local history stories… from the Hopewell Native American culture who lived here over 2,000 years ago to the unstoppable spirit of Fairfield’s earliest entrepreneurs, who helped this small midwestern town both survive and thrive. 

Using rarely seen pictures and clips and the award-winning narrations of filmmaker Dick DeAngelis, stories include Fairfield’s groundbreaking inventors and entrepreneurs, as well as people who crossed the cultural boundaries of the time.

Behind the Scenes

Take a glimpse behind the scenes of "Ahead of Their Time". See some of our favorite moments researching and filming this movie.
This "teaser trailer" was released six months before the premiere of "Heroes of Fairfield" to promote local interest.

Dr. Rebecca J. Keck (1838–1904)

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  • 19th-century woman physician and patent medicine entrepreneur

  • One of the wealthiest independent businesswomen in the Midwest--a self-made millionaire.

  •  Moved with her parents to Fairfield, Iowa in 1851.

Charter Oak Wagon Factory

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In 1887, Joel Turney, a blacksmith turned wagon maker from Trenton, Iowa, moved his operations to Fairfield, Iowa.  Within a few years, The Charter Oak factory in Fairfield measured nearly 100,000 square feet under roof with a capacity for 6,000 wagons produced each year.

Louden Machine Company

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William Louden (1841-1931) was an inventive genius and put his creativity to work with the sole purpose of making farming life a little easier. He devised a hay carrier which moved hay from the wagon into the barn using a system of pulleys that were both strong and lightweight. When he died at age 90, Louden machinery held 118 patents!
It has been said that William Louden did for barns what Cyrus McCormick did for reapers and John Deere did for plows. His rail system patents were applied to industry and during WW1 and were eventually used by factories all over the country.

Historical Contributors

Lawrence Eyre

Bill Green

Dale Essick

Dave Metz

Dorothy Gilbert

David McCoid

David Sneed

Greta Nettleton

John Doershuk

Lance Foster

Larry Nash

Leo Landis

Mark Shafer

Pat White

Pete Nelson

Peter Saltzman

Roland Peaslee

Steve Weeber

Tina Turney-Thomann

Tom Louden




Fairfield Media Center

Fairfield Public Library

Carnegie Historical Museum

Edison Tech Center

University of Iowa

Hay Trolley Heaven

Midwest Old Threshers Heritage Museums

Neal Cunningham and Central Park Furnishings

Everybody's Whole Foods

Cafe Paradiso

John & Kirstin DeAngelis

Bob Ferguson

Steve and Sally Johnston

Martha Rasmussen

The Sterling Foundation

Fairfield Iowa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Edith Jordan

Pat and Barb McMahon

Larry Nash

Fred Reiter

Charles and Karen Ruby

Greater Jefferson County Foundation

City of Fairfield - LOST Fund

Humanities Iowa Major Grant

American Rescue Plan Arts Grant

IAC Humanities Project Grant

Wal-Mart Grant

Sterling Foundation

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