Carl Henning

The Place the Music Died

On February 3, 1959 an airplane crashed in a snow-covered Iowa cornfield. The pilot and three singers perished in the crash. Today, a gravel road north of Clear Lake has a place to pull over at an oversized pair of black-rim glasses. A quarter mile path through the cornfield ends at the spot where the plane crashed. A small memorial reminds us that Buddy Holley, Rickie Valens, and the Big Bopper died here with pilot Roger Peterson.

The Winter Dance Party zigzagged across the Midwest. The weather was terrible and the bus was cold. The drummer had to leave the tour with frostbite. Buddy Holley chartered a plane to take a few folks from Clear Lake to Moorhead, MN. They didn’t get far. You can read more at Wikipedia’s The Day the Music Died.

Here’s a video showing the lonely spot. It was so quiet I could hear The Crickets.

Credit the Roadtrippers app for alerting me to this stop and Google Maps for getting me there (Apple Maps was wrong).

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