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Peggy Lee family visiting VC

May 23, 2012

Friday Valley City will be playing host to the family of singer Peggy Lee, in the area to attend the grand opening of the Midland Continental Depot Transportation Museum Saturday in Wimbledon, said Wes Anderson, curator of the Barnes County Historical Society Museum.

Anderson said he had heard from Lee’s family and some guests they would like to see some of the places in Valley City that their grandmother would have remembered from her time here.

Anderson said, Lee “would have known Vangstad I am sure for plays and stuff, Becky Heise suggested the old cafeteria FMC with the murals though I think those are more V-12 era.

“We’d need to get into the City Auditorium for where she performed in 1950 and maybe 1937 too while she was still here. Also above Unique Antiques to the old Eagles club.”

Anderson said the Rosebud Visitor Center and “maybe museum if we have time” would also be good stops.

As of Tuesday, Anderson said he was not certain of the family’s timeline for their visit to Valley City. “They have a concert in Fargo that evening so I am sure not too much time. Maybe three hours in Valley City.”

All three of Peggy Lee’s grandchildren and their families will attend the weekend activities. This will be the first North Dakota visit for Peggy Lee’s granddaughter Holly Foster Wells the Vice-president of Peggy Lee Associates LLC, of Los Angeles.

According to an email from a granddaughter, Norma Egstrom (Peggy Lee’s original name) participated in Barnes County play competitions in Valley City, sang for dances and performed there again in 1950 in addition to her radio work for (the radio station). Most of the buildings Lee knew in Valley City are still standing.

The granddaughter wrote that In Jamestown, “we will be more like archaeologists looking at traces of many places: we will see where the Gladstone, the Opera House, the MCRR train lines, etc. used to be! The hospital where she was born is still here, though it has been changed into elderly housing, and I will be able to take you to the church where she was confirmed -- back in Norma’s day, all that was finished of the new church was the basement, where the congregation met from 1930-1940.”

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