Tours of the Harlan-Lincoln House with current and former Mount Pleasant residents often lead to conversations about the visitor’s previous interactions with the house and their personal connections to its history. Sometimes, these discussions lead to unique stories. In 2019, the Mount Pleasant Community High School Class of 1969 toured the museum as part of their fifty-year class reunion weekend. “Did you know that there was once a pet bobcat in the Harlan House?” This comment stopped us in our tracks. A bobcat in one of the oldest buildings on campus? It was unbelievable until pictures of “Bobbie” were discovered earlier this year. The Winter 1958 edition of the Purple & White publication highlights this unbelievable tale with the article “Bobbie-An All American Bobcat”. When Dr. Carlo Ignoffo, Assistant Professor of Biology joined the faculty at Iowa Wesleyan, Bobbie the bobcat came with the family; “Bobbie was reared by us primarily as a study of growth and behavior patterns of a bobcat in captivity, however, she rapidly became quite a devoted house pet.” The article includes images of the cat throughout the Iowa Wesleyan Presidential Residence at 611 East Washington Street but no direct comments about connections to the Harlan-Lincoln House.
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