Waukee, Iowa – History, or Her-Story has come under attack again, in the name of “economic development”. It has been proposed that well-known road in Waukee, Iowa undergo a name change.
Alice’s Road, named after Alice Nizzi, a woman who was ahead of her time by being a female business owner in 1947, is at risk of losing her namesake, a road that carried her name, before Waukee became a suburban town of Des Moines, Iowa.
As local history hears, Alice opened Alice’s Spaghetti Land after her husband died in a coal-mining accident, as a way to support her family. Many immigrants worked in the Shuler mines as a part of the American dream. They raised their children in Waukee, with Alice’s Spaghetti Land being a point of a special dinner out, or a lunch spot for those who worked in the mines.
“Through the years, Alice’s Spaghetti Land provided employment for many women who lived in the local coal mining camps,” said Mary Ladurini, Alice’s niece who also worked as a waitress.
It is no surprise that the Waukee Historical Society holds their annual fundraiser, held at St. Boniface Church, highlights Alice’s spaghetti, cooked by Alice’s descendants. The City of Waukee’s Historical Society’s Mission Statement reads, “To preserve, honor, and recognize the City of Waukee’s proud history as it continues to build the foundation and values for good living for future generations.”
Sadly, Alice died in 1998 at the age of 91. “Alice loved children and always liked to cook”, said Ladurini. It is great that there is an elementary school named after the mines, Shuler Elementry, but Alice’s Road should continue to Interstate 80.
Family, friends and residents of Waukee have created a Facebook page and signed a petition to keep the name.
Alice’s Road does not just represent the memory of Alice. It is a memory of a woman, who blazed the trails for women everywhere. Alice isn’t just Alice. She’s Susan B. Anthony. She’s Abigail Adams. She’s Queen Elizabeth. She’s Cleopatra. A woman who was a strong woman in a male dominated world. If it was not for Alice, Waukee would not be what it is today. Abigail Adams once said, “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.”
I’m sure all of the men on the Waukee City Council have had a strong mother, wife, sister, aunt, cousin or daughter.
Alice’s Road should go to I-80. The City of Waukee owes her at least that much. Once we lose our history, we lose a part of ourselves.