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Museum to unveil new salute to Bicycle Band October 1

September 30, 2022

The Clinton County Historical Museum, Paine-Gillam-Scott House is pleased to announce an unveiling ceremony of “The Drummer”

The ceremony will take place on the grounds of the museum located on the west side of the Courthouse Square in St Johns, MI. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, October 1 at 11:00 a.m. on the grounds of the museum; and some seating will be available.

Designed and created by well-known, local artist, Ivan Iler, “The Drummer” pays homage to the St. Johns Bicycle Band that performed in parades and shows from 1886 to 1891. The thirteen young men all from St Johns and the surrounding area, played their band instruments while riding high wheeled bicycles. At the time, the band was thought to be the only one of its kind in the world.

Bill McCarthy, a long-time volunteer at the museum, had spent several years in pursuit of an authentic high wheel bicycle to display at the museum but discovered that the bicycles are in high demand and difficult to find. After the death of his wife Rosemary in May 2021, Bill decided to use donations made to the museum in his wife’s memory to create a reproduction of a high wheeled bike. He approached Iler to design and create the sculpture and as they say, “the rest is history.”

Iler was immediately intrigued about the project. “I had no idea that the SJ Bicycle Band even existed and was honored that Bill included me on this project. Its exciting to create art that represents history and I am so pleased I am able to be a part of this.”

Although Bill passed away unexpectedly in June, his family and museum volunteers were determined to see the project through to completion. Local St Johns company, Smith Lawnscaping is creating the concrete base as well as the landscaping around the sculpture to complete the project.

Refreshments will be available. For those interested in more information about the SJBB, the Museum will also be open to the public from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1.

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