The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

February 1, 2014

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Michelle Perino

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Born and raised in Clinton, Michelle Perino hopes to allow people a glimpse into the past and gain a sense of pride for the community.

And she will have a great opportunity to do that with her new position with the Clinton Women’s Club and Curtis Mansion Historical Foundation.

“I feel that Clinton often gets a bad rap but there are so many things Clinton has to be proud of that I feel often go unnoticed...Eagle Point Park, Riverview Drive and the Curtis Mansion to name a few,” Michelle said. “People always think the grass is greener somewhere else but everyone has the opportunity to bloom where they are planted.”

Recently, Michelle has taken upon the role of public relations and marketing coordinator for the Clinton Women’s  Club and the Curtis Mansion Historical Foundation, with the goal of promoting the historic building. She first became involved with the club 15 years ago, when her mother and sister gave her a membership as a gift.

She fell in love with the old mansion and the friendships she cultivated in the club.

While Michelle does not consider herself a “history buff,” she does have a deep appreciation for it. Her interest in something is peaked the more she can relate to it.

“While I cannot relate to living in a mansion, the fact that I am a lifelong resident of Clinton and that the lumber industry is such a core piece of our history makes the mansion and the Curtis family very interesting to me,” Michelle said. “The mansion is the remaining single family jewel of Fifth Avenue and I want it to stay that way.”

Throughout the years, Michelle has held many offices in the club, even serving as the chairwoman of the Chocolate Lovers Delight program for several years. The event was even featured on “Paula Sands Live” one year.

“As I walked through the rooms refilling beverages I saw children sitting on the floor enjoying their chocolate selections and I thought to myself, ‘This is what this mansion is all about, enjoying life.’ It doesn’t matter what type of event you hold there, the mansion comes to life,” Michelle said.

For more than 10 years, Michelle has served on the decorating committee, something she has enjoyed. Her father, Gene Eisenbeis, was an interior decorator. Michelle credits her creative talent to him.

“My decorating is a way for me to feel connected to him as I know he is smiling down and very much a part of it,” Michelle said.

As the new public relations and marketing coordinator, Michelle hopes to educate the community about the Curtis mansion. Built in 1883, it showcases ornate craftsmanship featuring the woods of cherry, maple, walnut and oak. This Victorian-period home features 11 fire places, with five located on the first floor. The main floor of the 20-room mansion can be rented for private receptions, business meetings, retreats, weddings or holiday parties.

“I want Clinton to know in essence that this is their mansion too and that it is available to them,” Michelle said. “Where else can you entertain in your own Victorian Mansion?”

An open house will be held at a later date to introduce Michelle to the public. She is available between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m., Monday trough Friday at the Curtis Mansion, 420 Fifth Ave. South. She can be reached at 242-8556.