The Sioux City Celebrity Tour visits homes of famous and infamous
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Sioux City prides itself on being the hometown of celebrities from Ann and Abby to Fred Grandy. Some notorious figures also have spent time here. Now, there's a special tour that takes groups to see the old stompin' grounds of these familiar names. It's like one of those "See the Homes of the Stars" trips in Hollywood, done Sioux City-style.
"We talk about the various, who we think are celebrities in the city," said Phil Karpuk, owner of TravelPlus Limousines.
On a recent day, The Farmers Bank Heritage Club from Spencer, Iowa was getting the grand tour.
"This is where MacDonald Carey went to school and graduated," Karpuk pointed out as the trolley passed the Castle on the Hill, formerly Central High School.
The idea for the Sioux City Celebrity Tour was born a couple years ago when the public museum asked him to take a trolley full of folks to see some of Sioux City's homes and haunts of the famous and infamous.
As the trolley passed the former Warrior Hotel, Karpuk mentioned that notorious gangster Al Capone had stayed there.
"It's just an opportunity to talk about kind of all at once a number of people who have made contributions on a national setting," said Karpuk.
You'll see the places you'd expect, like the home of the Lederer Twins, aka. Ann Landers and Dear Abby. Rocker Tommy Bolin's house is on the tour, as is that of our most famous home-grown architect, William Steele. The tour passes several of the local homes and buildings Steele designed, including Steele's own home and the Woodbury Courthouse. "He was a major architectural contributor," Karpuk tells the Spencer group.
There are also a few surprises on the tour like the neighborhood of the spy who passed on nuclear secrets to Russia in the 1940s, and a house where Richard Nixon once slept, which was the home of former Representative Wiley Mayne. As the trolley passes the Cathedral of the Epiphany, Karpuk tells the crowd that the late bandleader Lawrence Welk was married there at 2:00am after a local gig and before leaving town for another one.
"It was great fun. There were so many people, I had no idea they were born and raised in Sioux City," said Denize Tolzmann of the Heritage Club.
"It was fantastic. I really did enjoy it," added Marietta Smith-Kruse, also with the group.
"In a way, it's kind of impressive for Sioux City to be able to make that kind of a contribution," said Karpuk.
"MacDonald Carey, I used to watch 'Day of Our Lives' with my dad," raved Tolzmann, "and I had no idea he was born here."
Carey's childhood home at 2711 Jackson Street is just one of the many that are included on the Sioux City Celebrity Tour.
The tour is by appointment and it is for groups. It is one of several local tours put on by TravelPlus Limousines. The company also does a history tour and a ghost tour.
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