City celebrates 175 years with Tarnished Brass Band

Tarnished Brass commemorates 175 years of Leando.

Keith and Marilyn Rose Smith are celebrating nearly 65 years of marriage.

â??We were neighbors,â?? Marilyn-Rose Smith said. â??We went to the same church, so we met and they had dances in the Legion Hall and we were going to the dances, and I learned to square dance for the first time, Keith taught me how and we've been happily married all these years.â??

But on Sunday, the natives of Leando, Iowa are also commemorating their hometownâ??s 175th anniversary at the Christ United Methodist Church.

â??Keithâ??s been around the world several times in the navy, and he says this is the best place in the world to live,â?? Smith said.

â??This is the third year that the Douds Historic Preservation Association has sponsored a concert in Leando by the Tarnished Brass Band, and it seems like every year or the last couple years anyway, the rain has forced us inside,â?? Jon Finney said.

Tarnished Brass Director Ken Burns says the band is a full orchestra of about 20 people including high school kids and several members who are retired.

â??Well Tarnished Brass has been together since 2005,â?? Burns said. â??When they first began, they started pulling some of their instruments out of the closets they hadn't looked at for years because there are several retired people from Van Buren County that started, and when they pulled them out they noticed that those instruments that had been in the closet for a few years were tarnished, hence the name Tarnished Brass.â??

As the music speaks for itself, the story of how Leando got its name is a bit of a mystery.

Douds and Leando are opposite of each other. Separated only by the Des Moines River, and it's always affectionately been called the twin cities.

"Leando was founded in 1838, and Douds was founded in 1866, so it's the newer of the two cities,â?? Finney said.

â??Well it used to be a pretty thriving community and still is but there were businesses and Finney Store was one of the big businesses in the town,â?? Smith said.

A newspaper article written in November 1911 states the original name of the town was Portland and was changed to Leando after the town's first postmaster's father named Leander. That change was approved by the Van Buren County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 12, 1883.