Popular culture

Historical treasure: a painting souvenir comes from the collection of Moench | Valley life

In 1904, St. Louis hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, or better known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. It was an international exhibition showcasing the achievements of more than 60 nations and 43 states that held exhibitions at the Fair, which was attended by 19.7 million people. The Fair promoted new and different forms of entertainment, popular culture, art, history, food and drink, technology, science, medicine and transportation.

The World’s Fair sold souvenirs such as decorative spoons, mugs, metal and ceramic plates, and paintings. This week’s historical treasure is one such memorabilia, a small framed painting of the World’s Fair Waterfall Gardens and Festival Hall. Festival Hall was the main building and the most photographed structure. This building housed the largest pipe organ in the world, which was played at concerts held in a 3,500-seat auditorium.

The Cascade Gardens were located across from the Festival Hall. 45,000 gallons of water per minute would flow over the Cascades and into the Great Basin below, which was part of a lagoon system flowing south of the basin. The Cascades were so stunning that the fair directors made sure it was clean, clear water flowing through them, instead of the muddy water found in St. Louis water systems.

This painting was donated as part of the Herman Moench collection by the family of the late Herman Moench. Herman was born in Terre Haute on August 11, 1908, and graduated from Wiley High School in 1925. Herman received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rose Polytechnic Institute in 1929, then became a member of the Rose faculty in 1930.

Moench has served as a teacher, department chair, academic dean, vice president, and president. He has accumulated many honors over the years from the school and various other organizations. Moench has been a faculty member at Rose-Hulman longer than any other teacher in the school’s history.

He has also made significant contributions to higher education through his work with the Engineers Council for Professional Development, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. In recognition and appreciation of Herman Moench’s services to the school, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology dedicated the main classroom building to him, naming it “Moench Hall” on November 20, 1977.

Herman was also active in the Terre Haute community serving on the board of the Terre Haute Rotary Club, Goodwill Industries, and United Way of the Wabash Valley. Moench died on May 22, 1990, at the age of 81. Given his contributions to engineering, it’s no surprise that Moench’s possessions contain the painting of an event that held so much to innovation, engineering, and technology.