A Trip to Dysart, Iowa – Travel Tips for a North Central Iowa Visit!

Dysart, Iowa – Home of “Dysart Illusions: Art in Public Places”

 

Recently, my family and I made a trip to my childhood home in Dysart, Iowa, a town located about twenty miles south of Waterloo and fifty miles to the west of Cedar Rapids. Dysart is a small town of about 1,200 people but unlike some of its counterparts; it’s an active place with a lot of civic pride. Their Facebook page shows several fun and interesting annual activities which other Iowans won’t want to miss including 4th of July, Old Iron Days and the Backroads Market, to name of few. Next year, they will celebrate 150 years and plans are underway to make this a special celebration.  I am a very fortunate person. My mother who is 94 years old, is still living on her own, in the same house I grew up in there and she was the reason we made the trip. People have a lot of a reasons to want to travel to the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. This article hopefully, will provide those travelers with some of the resources we found for their own trip to the area.

We drove to Iowa from our home in Michigan and speculated that we have made this trip at least 100 times over the years of our marriage. This time, there were five of us in our party; my husband and I, our son and his two boys aged 7 and 2. The trip crosses Illinois and Iowa on I-80 which has several very nice rest areas ideal for travelers wanting to avoid fast food restaurant stops and needing room for kids to move about a bit. Many offers small play areas as well as picnic tables as well as clean restrooms and vending machines.

My brother was also planning to be there; traveling from the West Coast. This meant more pre-planning than before. Seven people in a one-bathroom house is a few too many so first we needed to look at lodging options. The previous Thanksgiving our entire family made the trip and we stayed at a house in Cedar Falls we found on airbnb.com which was a very good experience. If you look on their website or VRBP.com, you will find several nice places available for small and large groups. We initially thought we would use one of the sites again but really wanted something closer to home if we could find it.

For our first night’s stay who chose The Cobblestone Inn & Suites in nearby Vinton. We were pleasantly surprised with our choice. This two-story hotel on Hi-Way 218 was easy to find and conveniently located. The rooms were clean and the staff able to accommodate our request for two rooms next to each other. A quick check-in and deposit of our belongings and were were off to Dysart for an evening visit with my mom and brother. We did not get to spend much time in Vinton but I would have loved to visited The Old Hospital Pub which is located directly across the street from the Inn at the former Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School where my Aunt Helen spent her childhood in the 1930s. If time had allowed, we would have returned to the Pizza Ranch where we have eaten in the past.  I love Vinton’s downtown and courthouse square and certainly would have taken that in had time allowed.

That evening, we made the fifteen mile trip to Dysart for a visit with family and dinner at the Harper’s Public House. These brave folks opened their restaurant about a year ago in the middle of a pandemic and appear to be doing well. We were able to find a table big enough to accommodate our now large group and by the time we left every table in the place was full. The menu had a lot of variety, and we were all able to get something we wanted. I personally had a gigantic tenderloin sandwich which is my go-to when in Iowa along with some very yummy onion rings! I’ve been following Harper House on Facebook since before they opened and see that they have a lot of special meals and special events throughout the year.

After a good night’s rest in Vinton, we awoke to a complementary breakfast at the hotel which is both a money saver and time saver, especially with small children. The Inn is located on the edge of a bean field where someone was nice enough to leave a tractor for my youngest grandson and I to explore which is always a hit for a two-year old. On the way to Dysart that morning we stopped at Rodgers Park, located just outside of Vinton, where the kids could get some exercise for their seemingly boundless energy. After touring the park, we spent some time on the playground before heading to Dysart again. If you were traveling to the area in a camper, this looked like a nice place to stay. The campground was quiet and situated nicely by the small lake.

Our planned activity for the day was swimming and the Dysart Family Aquatic Center did not disappoint. This is not the same pool we had growing up. With its gradual grade entry, it is perfectly designed for small children and older swimmers who like to make a slow entry into the water. Our two-year-old loved going down the frog slide and the seven-year-old found plenty to do including the big slide, the driving board and a dad who was invested in playing with his boys. The pool had swim toys available which is a bonus when you are from out of town. The pool is heated and unlike when we were kids, there are chairs and umbrellas where you can take a break from the sun if you wish and tables for snacking and gathering. If you go, please note that updates about pool hours are posted on the city’s Facebook page not the aquatic center’s page. The second day of our visit the pool was closed due to a lack of staff, and we were caught unaware.

 

After a day of swimming, we moved on to our lodging for the next three nights at  Hickory Hills Park where we had rented a cabin. Located just a few miles out of town, this was one of the best decisions we made during the whole trip. The cabins are simple but quite nice. With two separate bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and large bathroom it was more than adequate for our needs. There was a large porch with a picnic table and a view of the lake. The cabins do not come with linens which is a little bit of a challenge if you are coming from out of town. The cabins also do not have any dishes although pans and utensils for cooking were available along with a stove and refrigerator. Because we were traveling by car, we were able to bring everything we needed. While staying at the park we took advantage of the playgrounds and fishing off the dock. They continue to have the buffalo and elk enclosure for viewing the animals. My mom who does not travel outside of Dysart’s city limits much anymore enjoyed coming out to the lake and watching the waterfowl. We had access to a firepit and were able to have a nice fire.

If you go, you should be aware that the park has more than one type of cabin and not all of them have the same set up so make sure you review the website carefully before choosing your spot. They also offer all types of camping sites. The price is extremely reasonable at just $100 per night. The cabins are not designed to hold events but there is a lodge building for rent if you wanted to have some type of reunion. Cell service was a little spotty for us and streaming anything on a phone or other devise was out of the question. The cabin had a TV with limited stations and a DVD player. If you are traveling with kids, bringing some DVDs with you would be a great idea. We were able to purchase some inexpensive ones at the new Dollar General in town. There is Wi-Fi available by the bathhouse in the campground and our son who works remotely spent a couple of mornings parked by the building so he could get some work done. Lastly, we were traveling during the week and so were lucky enough to find quite a few options. Weekend travelers might need to plan further in advance to secure a cabin. The cabin we rented was both air conditioned and heated and available year-round. The ladies in the cabin next to us looked like they were having a crafting party which looked like a lot of fun.

As mentioned, the Dysart pool was closed our second day so we drove the nine miles west to the Traer pool which was also very enjoyable. We were also informed there is a nice pool available in LaPorte City which is close to the campground. The two pools are very similar in terms of what is offered with an important difference being that the Traer pool is not heated which I noticed right away but seemed lost on the kids. Entrance fees at both were very reasonable at $3.00-$4.00 per person. Both pools were beautifully maintained and enviable resources for these small towns to possess.

That evening, my brother went to the Traer Pizza Palace and delivered dinner for the rest of us at the campground. We have had this pizza before and found it was very good, especially the supreme.

On Thursday, our group split up in the morning with the guys going to the Traer Golf & Country Club for eighteen holes. My brother, who golfs every time he goes to the area likes this golf course as well as the ones in Reinbeck and Dysart. Meanwhile, the kids and I spent the morning at the Norma Anders Public Library. This library is very impressive and rivals any of the branch libraries we have in our area of nearly a half-million people. The boys were busy for two hours with the many problem-solving games and building materials here. My oldest grandson used the computer station for a bit, and I enjoyed the comfortable chairs and much appreciated air-conditioning.

Normally, we would have had an outdoor lunch at KE Black with it’s daily specials but it was a hot day and the youngest among us looked like he could use a nap. So, we stopped by Bobby’s Grocery & BBQ for the ingredients for a home-cooked supper and another tenderloin for lunch (when in Rome…).  Bobby’s is also fairly new in town, and we hear their BBQ is quite good. We are looking forward to trying that on our next trip! After the guys returned from their golf outing my son took the boys to the pool again while mom and I had a chance to visit and catch up.

That evening, we treated ourselves to dinner at the Dysart Drive In (sign says Dysart Drive In, Facebook says Dysart Drive Inn) which has been a staple in the community for as long as I can remember. The drive-in is under new management this year but it does not seem like much has changed. The menu was what you would expect from a drive in and although many friends swear by the pizza burger we went with the burgers, hot dogs and fries plus ice cream, of course, all of which was good. My mom had suggested we get our food and take it to the city park and as is so often true, mom was right. We should have done that. The available seating area at the drive in was not ideal for our group, and we would recommend the park option to other visitors. The city park offers so much more in terms of playground, shade trees and tables and they have a new art installation which I am sorry we missed. This is their third illusion artwork called Magic Cylinder Koi Pond. Check the others out here.

 

 

Our trip to Iowa concluded the following day with a stop at the Field of Dreams which was quite special for us. Last time we were there our son was the same age as his son is now. They were busy getting ready for the upcoming game between the Reds and the Cubs on August 11, 2022. There are big upgrades and expansions planned for the movie site. It’s a wonderfully nostalgic place to visit.

We had a wonderful time in Dysart and hope to return soon. We did not get a chance to do everything we would have liked to have done. Here’s some things from our bucket list that other travelers might enjoy!

Local Museums and Historical Societies including the Dysart Historical Center. Most small communities (and large) have groups of dedicated volunteers keeping the history of their place alive. This one is exceptionally nice particularly if you ever lived here. It’s a great trip down memory lane to places and people you have likely forgotten. Housed in three separate buildings, make sure you plan on spending some time here taking it all in!

 

 

Hansen’s Dairy Farm Tour located near Hudson. Agri-tourism location where kids can feed and milk the cows and families can sample their ice cream and cheeses.

 

 

 

 

Lost Island Waterpark located south of Waterloo which looked like it would be great fun when the kids are a little older.

 

 

 

 

Matchstick Marvels in Gladbrook. An amazing place full of structures you will not believe are made from matchsticks. Although it sounds a little hokey, it’s really very impressive and you will be glad you went.

 

 

 

 

Taylor’s Maid-Rite in Marshalltown. My Michigan family does not understand Maid-rites but it’s one of those things “if you know, you know”. It’s the nearest place to get an authentic Maid-rite sandwich. For those of you unable to travel to Iowa, did you know you can get these shipped to your house????? Check this out! https://www.maidrite.com/send-a-maid-rite

 

 

 

 

Hurts Donut in Cedar Falls. My son and his girlfriend stopped there when we were there in November and claim “it’s the best donut ever”.

 

 

 

 

Cedar Falls Brown Bottle an old favorite from back in the day. This, along with Nino’s Steakhouse which is no longer open were the go-to places for date night when I lived in the area. We drove by last November and I longed to go back in for their famous lasagna.

The News From Dysart and North Central Iowa – Mid-June to Mid-July 1914

The News From Dysart
Last Week of Mid-June to Mid-July 1914

The thirty days between the middle of June and the middle of July in 1914 was very active in the Dysart area. The citizens were busy promoting their upcoming Fourth of July celebration and first ever Chautauqua both of which were held the first week of July. The The Great Booster Parade to promote themselves in the area was a success and a wonderful July 4, 1914 celebration  was nearly perfect except for the tragic death of Earl Emery. Join me today as we find out what else happened that mid-summer in 1914.


George Hix Death 

On Friday June 19, thirty year old local businessman, George P. Hix drove over to Traer, a town nine miles to the west to visit a friend. He arrived back in town about 12:30 in the morning. Although he had a successful career as an implement dealer, the young bachelor still lived with his parents George and Lena and saw no reason to head home. While driving by the electric light plant he noticed his friend, T.E. Sackett was working late so he stopped for a visit. He decided to drive a block over to the train depot where he knew his cousin, Nate Burhenn, was waiting to leave on the train. Ray Rhyner, another friend, was working at the depot that night where he was both a depot assistant and telegraph operator. Both men were musicians and so they took some time to play the mandolin and guitar while waiting for the train to come in and Ray's anticipated release from his work duties. Sackett may have heard the music so he  walked over, inviting the men to come back to the power plant after the train left where he would join them on the violin. Their jam session lasted about an hour an a half. At about 4 a.m. both Sackett and Rhyner expressed their fatigue and thought it time to head home but George was restless and not ready for bed so he suggested they take his car and go for a cruise. Those of us who grew up in small towns remember doing the same.

At about 5 a.m the men found themselves out by the Catholic Church and turned south onto what is now Highway 21. At that time it was a dirt road lined with a grove of trees. The newspaper suggested they were headed for a "southern loop" which had "good roads" (unsure if they meant road or the oval race track that was located south of town). Traveling at about 25-30 miles per hour they had gone about a half a mile when for reasons that were never made clear, George lost control of the car and it rolled over. At that time, car rollovers were quite common. The roads were rough and the cars traveled about on skinny tires which provided little stability. Newspaper articles from then almost always refer to it as "turning turtle". All three men were ejected from the car and after it had made a full rotation, Sackett was under the car; Rhyner and George Hix had been thrown away from the vehicle. Ray was able to help Sackett get out from under the car and both men then went to check on George who by their description was "standing erect on his knees facing the west but unconscious". The men tried to help him to stand but he soon collapsed. One or both of the "boys" as they were referred to in the newspapers articles ran to find a telephone and summoned Dr. Redmond who arrived within ten minutes. They transported George to Redmond's office where he died from a skull fracture, never regaining consciousness.

George's body was moved to the undertaker's at about 7 a.m. where it was held until an coroner's inquest could convene at 4 p.m. Sackett and Rhyner both testified that George appeared to have control of the car and they had no idea why the accident had occurred. John Lindeman, Ervin Krebs and Ross Taylor served as jurors and after listening to the testimony of the two witnesses determined that "George Hix met his death in an automobile accident the cause of which was unknown to the jury." George's body was released to his family and moved to their home where it remained from Saturday night until Monday afternoon. At 1:30 p.m. a prayer was offered at the home and the family followed George's body to the Evangelical Peace Church (now the Dysart Historical Center) of which the Hix's were founding members. George's service was offered in both German and English by Rev. Hild of the Peace Church and Rev. Lorenz from the German Evangelical Church. It was one of the largest funerals held in that church up until that time. The Dysart Reporter stated "Special music was rendered by a number of Dysart's best singers. The floral decorations were beautiful and beyond description."

By way of eulogy, the paper reported, "George was one of the biggest hearted fellows we ever knew. His circle of friendship was unbounded. In business matters he was the kind of an honest square fellow that one likes to deal with. In social activities he strived to be the best. He was a member of the Helping Hand Sunday School at the Evangelical church and was quite regular in attendance. He was always pleasant to meet, always having a smile and probably some witticism for an answer. We cannot recall more pleasant evenings than those spent at the Hix home with George and several other friends passing jokes and enjoying music. He will long be remembered by all his acquaintances and relatives." George was survived by his parents: George and Lena and his sisters Mary, Nettie, Louise, Amanda and Katie. It appears that Mr. Sackett and Mr. Rhyner were both temporary residents of the town of Dysart. Not much could be found on them past 1914.

Driving around with friends is likely a familiar theme for many of us who grew up in small towns such as these. Long after all the businesses were closed and not wanting to go home we would often drive around town. Sometimes, you might congregated uptown or some other parking lot to sit on hoods or tailgates with others unwilling to go home. You and your friends might stop in the park which was suppo0se to be closed or drive out to the cemetery and try to scare each other to death. Thankfully for most of us these are sweet and happy memories.


 

Farm Auctions 

 

The Krambeck Farm was sold by auction on June 20th. This was an eighty acres farm located adjacent to the town of Dysart. It fetched the highest price ever offered for Tama County farm land up  until that time at $277.50 per acre. The winning bidder was Ed. Thomas of Geneseo. Other bidders included: Theo. Matthisen, George Kersten, L.C. Knupp and Chris Nelson. Bidding started at $250 per acre. Mr. Krambeck had purchased the land six years before at a price of $100 per acre. The local paper in describing the land stated; "The price is the highest ever paid for Tama County land, yet the eighty has a ditch through it, has considerable low land and although well improved has a house thirty years old. But it is a delightful home, adjoining the incorporation of Dysart, and a very tempting place." Shortly thereafter, John H. Lichty, offered property which adjoined Mr. Krambeck's for auction. This land was sold in four different auctions totaling 440 acres within the yellow area in the photo. This land sold for between $200.75 to $222.50 per acre and was purchased by Theodore Heckt, Peter Wieben, Joe Thierer and Emil Benesh of Cedar Rapids. 

 


 

Chautauqua A Big Success

Dysart's first Chautauqua which ran from Saturday, July, 4, until Thursday, July 9, was both an entertainment and financial success. Approximately $900 worth of season tickets were sold and after all expenses were paid the Commercial Club netted $300.00. Several interesting lectures and musical performances were enjoyed throughout the week. 


 

Dysart Reporter Changes Hands 

After two years of publishing the Dysart Reporter, R.E. Lee Aldrich, sold the paper to E. E. Roland who came to Dysart from Ocheyedan, Iowa. The following week, Mr. Aldrich, received a serious electric shock and survived. Mr. Aldrich, his brother and the new owner of the paper were on their way to the office. The main street had been roped off to protect the surface which had just been oiled. Aldrich grabbed a rope in an attempt to allow a car to pass under it. This caused the rope to come loose from the light pole so he reached around the post to retie the rope. Unfortunately, due to some faulty wiring the pole had become charged and Aldrich was shocked. He fell to the ground unconscious but regained consciousness quickly and fully recovered. 


 

Chinese Dragon Appears On July 4th

D.E. Cone created some extra excitement during Fourth of July celebration when he sent away for a "Chinese Dragon" to be displayed. He stated before the event that "people who have read about dragons in myths and legends will be greatly surprised..." This was later described as a five foot creature and was likely an iguana or other lizard but was something new and unseen to the people at the celebration.


Traer Bootlegger Narrowly Misses Arrest on the Fourth 

According to the local papers a Traer bootlegger brought bottles of alcohol into Dysart in a suitcase or valise on the 4th for the purpose of selling them. The papers describe Dysart as a more "temperate sister city" than neighboring Traer. One of the bootlegger's fellow Traerites saw him and reported him to a Dysart police officer who was not fond of the alcohol trade. The citizen and officer searched for the bootlegger without success. A second police officer, more sympathetic to the drink, did find the the bootlegger and warned him that leaving town would be in his best interest. He escaped without charg


The colors of 1914 

Two paint colors regularly advertised as available during 1914 were Paris Green and Venetian Red Ground, both very familiar colors. Venetian red was a popular choice for barns and farm buildings. The paint got it's name because historically this pigment was produced from natural clays found near Venice, Italy. The clays contained an iron oxide compound that produced this red color. By the 1920s, these clays were being mined  throughout the US including in Iowa making the paint readily available and affordable. . The paint was non-toxic.

 

 

Paris Green as a color was used on everything from cabinet doors and shelving to furniture and was incorporate into much of the glass and ceramics of the time. Developed by two chemists in 1814, the compound was used as both an insecticide and paint pigment. Because of it's make-up the substance was highly toxic and required care in handling. That summer in Iowa, a farm wife living northeast of Clutier was found dead in her home. Her death was ruled a suicide as the result of taking a dose of Paris green. She was not alone. Over the  counter poisons were often the chosen method of suicide in the early 1900s.


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July 4, 1914 – Glorious Day Ends in Tragedy

July 4, 1914 – Glorious Day Ends in Tragedy

Depot

Dysart Train Depot

It is after 11 p.m. and the platform of the Dysart train station is crowded with people and packages all waiting for the #420 Rock Island train which will take them east. Most are headed to the town of Vinton. With a population of about 3,300 people, Vinton is three times larger than Dysart. No Fourth of July celebration was offered there, so Vinton residents came here earlier today to enjoy the excitement of Dysart’s celebration. That train was late too.

Most are not disappointed with their decision. They have had a fun and exciting day full of interesting sights and sounds and smells. They have been entertained by Vaudeville acts performed live and for free. They have played games of chance, and some hold a souvenir of their victory. Their beloved baseball team, the Vinton Cinders with the popular Lynch and Miller brothers have emerged victorious from the two games they played today. Some of the young people met someone at the dance who they are now thinking about and hoping they will see again.

It has been a glorious day-long break from the work that normally consumes their lives but now they are growing tired and maybe a little antsy. There are no benches at the train depot, and everyone waits outside in the night air. They jockey for space where they can. No one wants to be the last to board. Standing in a moving train for fifteen miles seems like a bit too much after the day they have had.

Earl Emery

Among those standing on the platform are two young men from the Vinton area, Earl Emery, and his friend Lafe Miller. Earl is just seventeen, but he has seen a lot of life already. Three years ago, he stole $75.00 from his father and left alone on a train for Alliance, Nebraska, where his mother is buried. Apprehended, he was sent to the reform school for boys in Iowa and has been recently released. He now lives near his dad who got him a job at the S. Robinson Company where he worked in the manure spreader department. Within the past few weeks, he traded that position for one as farm hand. After a rocky adolescence, he appears to be headed in the right direction. His friend, Lafe, is originally from Indiana but came to the Vinton area two years ago to work as a farm hand on the Oxtel Bostrom Farm.

The headlight of the railroad locomotive appears to the west and the crowd starts collecting their things in anticipation of going home. What happens when the train reaches the platform will be disputed, misreported, and sensationalized to sell newspapers in the days ahead. But the result will be the same. In a few short minutes, Earl Emery will be dead, and Lafe Miller will be maimed for the remainder of his life.

The Aftermath

The local paper, The Dysart Reporter, was a weekly publication, so they were not able to report the incident until five days later. However, starting on July 6 several other papers around the state picked up the story and started to report their versions of what happened. One of the first papers to break the story was the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette which immediately sensationalized the tragedy. On July 6, 1914, their headline read:

Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette

 

That same day, the Des Moines Register in a brief article reported that eleven deaths were reported across the state on the 4th. It reads “Sunday’s toll of deaths from accidental causes was sixteen, eleven being the result of automobile accidents, four were drowned and one Iowan being killed by a train when shoved off the station platform in Dysart, Iowa. The Waterloo Courier also placed the blame an unruly and selfish crowd. The Evening Times Republican out of Marshalltown proposed the cause of the accident was Earl and Lafe’s position on the platform not the crowd.

Evening Times Republican

In truth, Lafe Miller did not lose a leg. On July 7th the boy’s hometown paper, the Vinton Eagle proposed yet another explanation of what happened on the platform that night. Because most of the people were from Vinton, it might be assumed this version is more accurate as the editor likely interviewed witnesses who experienced what happened. Speaking of Earl, they wrote:

 

Vinton Eagle

They reported Lafe’s injuries in more graphic detail but also noted that a woman had most of her clothes torn off by the suction of the train. This detail is not repeated in any other paper that could be found.

Vinton Eagle

 

The Cedar Rapids Republican’s coverage combines the hypothesis that because of the crowded conditions, Earl was standing too close to the train when it entered the station and was struck by some protruding part. It does also note that “he was hurled many feet into the air alighting beside the platform.”

The local paper, the Dysart Reporter, carried the story on July 9, 1914. Their tone is less sensational and more factual. In their version, Earl and Lafe were killed and injured by a train, not by the people waiting for the train.

Dysart Reporter

 

In whatever way the accident occurred, one can only imagine the horror and shock the boy’s fellow passengers and friends experienced that night. Surprisingly, the extensive reporting that followed in all the papers has a lack of eyewitness accounts. The Reporter went on to speculate the details as follows:

Dysart Reporter

Crowd Accused of Murder

The Waterloo Courier on July 9 took everything up a notch by accusing the crowd of murder in the death of young Earl.

Waterloo Courier

 

The story continued to be reported across the state for a few days after July 9 on which date the Vinton Review published this account which seems like the most likely explanation. It combines the notion that the crowd was pushing and that the boys were too close to the tracks. It also reiterates that although hundreds of people were present, very little could be seen on that dark night when outdoor lighting was just starting to be installed in towns across Iowa.

Vinton Review

 

The Traer Star Clipper concluded their coverage in this way:

Traer Star Clipper

Later in the month, the editor of the Keokuk Daily Gate used the Courier’s indictment of murder as the basis for an editorial on the selfishness of man and unruly crowds.

All the papers were able to agree that Earl lived for a brief few seconds after being hit but the train because witnesses heard his rattled breathing. They were also able to agree that Lafe was horribly injured and in need of medical attention. We know that one of the towns’ doctors, F.W. Gessner, was called to attend to his injuries because he would later testify to the same. In the hopes of saving his foot, Lafe was loaded on to that same train and taken to Cedar Rapids’ St. Luke’s Hospital. He was hospitalized for several weeks but the foot was saved.

These events happened on a Saturday. Earl’s body was taken to the Kranbuehl undertaker’s parlor. The following Monday, his father arrived in town and took Earl’s body to Vinton. A funeral service was held at the Presbyterian Church, and he was interred somewhere near Vinton although where is not clear.

Starting in September, a few different lawsuits were filed against the Rock Island Railroad and the engineer, George Godden. George McElroy, administrator for Earl’s estate and Earl’s father both filed suits which were settled in December for a total of $1,250.00. J.W.Agers who was listed as guardian for Lafe also filed a suit asking for $7,500. A settlement may have been reached but that information is lost to time.

Lizzie Emery 1877-1908

 

Earl Martin Emery was born in Clinton, Iowa, on Valentine’s Day in 1896 to George and Lizzie Emery. His mother, Lizzie Marie Clark Emery died, at the age of 31 on January 13, 1908, when Earl was just twelve years old. After her death, his father, George, moved the family to the Vinton area. He was remarried in 1909 and apparently divorced the following year which is the year that Earl took off for Nebraska.  He was married a third time to Myrtle Mae Fisher. George died in 1952 and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton.

William Lafe Miller was originally from Bristow, Indiana, and had been working in Vinton over the summer along with his two brothers. Lafe became a mechanic and either owned or worked at shops in Garrison, Dysart and Clutier. In 1928, he and Olin Smith purchased a garage business from John Helm in Dysart. He became the sole owner of that business in 1930. He and his family (wife Marie Peterson Miller) lived on the main street. During the 1930s he drove cars out to California and sometimes advertised that he would take riders with him. By 1940, he and his family moved to the Phoenix, Arizona, area although he returned to Iowa several times over the years. He was living in Arizona in 1950 when the census taker came but his location after that is unknown at this time. Lafe appears to have either been unlucky or lucky sort of guy depending on your perspective. In 1916 he was involved in an auto accident and in 1922 he was injured when a battery exploded in his eyes.

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July 4, 1914 – Small Town Holds a Great Celebration

July 4, 1914, Small Town Holds a Great Celebration

Celebration

At 4 a.m. the sound of a light artillery brigade reverberated through this small and peaceful, but not entirely silent town. The canning factory on the northern edge of town and the adjoining cement factory produce a steady amount of noise, sometimes late into the night. Occasionally, one of the newly purchased automobiles is heard rumbling by long past the time when decent folks are asleep or it's rambunctious driver breaks the silence with the horn. But generally, 4. a.m. is a quiet, restful time reserved for dairymen and the train station manager. This Independence Day, however, the organizers of the day's event have determined that a cannon blast at 4:00 a.m. is the best way to begin a celebration of the nation's 138th birthday. There are eleven surviving civil war veterans living in town today, July 4, 1914, and for them being awoken by live artillery likely produces a different reaction than other residents, but no one considers that. These folks are three years away from the great war and all that it will teach the world about the long-term trauma of war.

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones in Time

A glorious day full of promise and excitement awaits the people here. To say they are enthusiastic would be a complete understatement. Just one week ago 150 resident boosters spent an entire day traveling in 29 cars to many towns in the area promoting their event. Flyers have been handed out, welcoming invitations have been extended and large advertisements have been placed in local papers. Although they have hosted big celebrations in the past, this year is different. This year, July 4th is also the kick-off of their first week-long Chautauqua. A giant multi-colored tent is set up in the park in anticipation.

There are only 1000 people living here and yet they are expecting thousands of celebrants to arrive in the next few hours. The world they live in is experiencing tremendous change and they seem ready to embrace it. Their guests will arrive by horse and buggy, trains, and automobiles. Some will walk into town from their homes in the country. They will come with picnic baskets full of food and blankets to sit upon. There are two passenger trains scheduled to arrive from the east today at 9:45 a.m. and 1:21 p.m. and two from the west which will not arrive until 4:45 p.m. and 10:52 p.m. Many people arrived yesterday and found lodging where they could. There are no hotel rooms available and all through the community homes are full of out-of-town guests. The town has invited people to bring their hammocks and tents and feel free to camp overnight in the city park for the night or all week long if they wish to attend the Chautauqua. Tents are available for rent. They have promised there will be plenty of food and beverages available for sale. A special water pump station has been added to the park.

The train coming from the east arrives late and pushes events back a bit but not to the determent of the day. Among those arriving on this train is Earl Emery, a 17-year-old boy. Earl has grown into quite the young man and repaired his relationship with his father. Just three years ago he impulsively stole $75 and bought a train ticket to Alliance, Nebraska, where he was apprehended and returned home. Now he is a employed as a farmhand and is looking forward to spending some of his hard earned cash and watching his hometown team play baseball.

Parade

People flood into the main street before 9 a.m. where the M.B.A. Band is already playing. They have come, the local paper states, "to publicly express their appreciation of the liberties the Declaration of Independence has brought to America and Americans". Forty automobiles line up, ready to start the parade at 9:15. There are cash prizes at stake for the best decorated car. This along with the pride of being among the first in the area to own an automobile has spurred the participants to go all out.

The town was created to accommodate the westward expansion of the railroad. Built in the middle of a prairie; there were no rivers or creeks to be consider, no hills and even significant elevations to contend with. As a result, the whole town is a grid with every street coming to a ninety degree angle with the next. There are no curves or bends in the road except through the park and even this is slight. The distance from the main street to the park is only four blocks, so running the parade directly from the corner of Wilson and Main to the City Park would leave little room for the large crowds to get a good look. Therefore, a route has been planned that includes several streets within the city's boundaries. On their last pass through the main street the attendees are encouraged to follow along to the park for the scheduled baseball game between the Vinton Cinders and the Hiteman teams.

Baseball Team

The crowd does not know it now, but they are witnessing the beginning of a life-long baseball career. A standout player for the Vinton Cinders, twenty-year-old Edmund John "Bing" Miller will enjoy a long career playing major league ball. He will be part of teams that win two World Series titles between 1921-1936 and then coach for another 17 years. But today, he is an ordinary guy playing minor league ball with his brother and friends in the central part of of Iowa.

Motion Pictures

Dysart Reporter

The day is hot with no sign of rain. The beverage vendors will do well. The park is crowded and will stay that way. A merry-go-round has been set up with the promise to run all day. The smell of freshly roasted nuts wafts from the peanut stand, filling the senses. Carnival games called baby and cane racks and striking machines allow an opportunity for men and women to try their luck and hopefully win a memento to take home. There is even a fortune teller set up who will most likely provide you a favorable look at your future. Those who wish to stroll back to the main street business district will find that Jessen and Clemen is offering three moving picture shows featuring nine reels playing all day starting at 10 o'clock.

Clown

Source: Bretzel Liquide

At one o'clock a large crowd gathers on the main street to enjoy the free street performances by Vaudevillian entertainers. The crowd is treated to the fascinations of the Smilette Brothers and Mora, a comedy triple bar act which combines acrobatic troupe stunts along with a clown. Murdos and Novelty Dogs follows with a group of seven acrobatic fox terriers performing amazing feats. Last is the Zeno and Zoa Comedy Act, a European contortionist group performing a hand balancing and foot juggling act. They are a marvel who have traveled extensively through the Americas and Europe.

Returning to the park, crowds gather to witness the Montana Kid who it has been advertised will ride the famous bucking broncho, Steamboat. The crowd will be disappointed when the horse refuses to buck after the first few jumps. It will be revealed later that the real Steamboat has been dead for several years, but the Montana Kid will continue to make the circuit as a cowboy, at least for a while longer.

At 2:30 the big Chautauqua tent will be thrown open and a large crowd will first hear six young men who perform under the name "The American Collegian Orchestra" play several different instruments and sing. This will be followed by a lecture from a Methodist minister named Dr. Frank E. Day who will travel throughout the Midwest giving lectures under such titles as 'Does the Hour Hand Move' and 'The Worn-Out Preacher: What is he Good For Anyway'. Eventually he will become a well-known minister in Indiana and one hundred years from now, people will still be reading his writings.

Dancers

Dysart is not the only community hosting a celebration today. There are also events in Waterloo and Urbana. These have drawn so many people that the editor of the Vinton newspaper reported their town looked like it had been abandoned at midday. As the heat continues to climb, a second ballgame is played in the late afternoon where a $100 purse is won by the Vinton team. Finally, as the day begins to cool down at 6:45 p.m. the street show is repeated. and at 7:45 p.m. the orchestra provides a grand concert in the tent. The day wraps up with a much-anticipated dance at the Opera House.

Train Depot

Dysart Train Depot

When everything is over it will be reported that an estimated 5,000 people spent that Fourth of July day in Dysart arriving in between 250 and 300 automobiles, meaning the majority must have come by train. As it starts to grow dim, tired but happy people start leaving town at various times. About 10:00 p.m. many people leave the well-lit Opera House heading for the depot so they can catch the last train heading east which is scheduled for 10:52 p.m. For most, they are a bit less animated than they were this morning however some of the young women are almost giddy from the excitement of the day and the dancing. There is a sense of happy exhaustion among them. Tired event organizers are breathing a satisfied sigh of contended relief that the day turned out so well. Their planning has not gone unappreciated. Some are already mulling over improvements for 1915. The clear night sky helps create a feeling that the day is wonderfully complete.

As the headlight of the railroad locomotive appears to the west, the crowd of approximately 500 people start collecting their things in anticipation of boarding the train. As it draws nearer, the whistle breaks the silence of the town just as it was broken this morning by the artillery fire. It is then, at approximately 11:20 p.m. that an unimaginable tragedy strikes which will spread a pallor over this magnificent celebration and send ripples across the state for many days to come.

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The Great Booster Parade – A Small Town Promotes Themselves

The Great Booster Parade – A Small Town Promotes Themselves

Booster Parade

Six months ago, I started a personal challenge to write and publish something every week for a year. Since that time, I have learned a lot about a great many things. I chose as my primary subject the place where I was raised; a small town in the central part of Iowa, called Dysart. Through reading countless newspaper articles and books and a trip to the local museum, I have had a chance to imagine what Dysart must have looked, felt and smelled like in those early days before there was electricity and modern plumbing and streets. I've grown in my appreciation for the fact that nothing truly worth having comes along by accident. It takes dreams that are followed by careful planning and hard work. In the case of a community, it takes the dogged dedication of a group of people who will themselves to make it work. I've learned that my teenage belief that nothing interesting ever happened in a small town like mine was a lie. I've remembered a lot of people who I had known and forgotten about, both living and dead. I've reconnected with folks I once knew and have enjoyed hearing other people's memories which are different than my own. Memories have filled my days and the pages I have written.

Nothing I have read about or written so far has created more longing within me to have a time machine than what happened in Dysart in the weeks before and after July 4, 1914. I wish I could have been a part of it all. In that short period of time this tiny town of 1,000 people accomplished amazing things, became the object of ridicule for people across the state, and emerged with the strength to continue to work together to build up their town. Dysart has long hosted one of the largest and finest July Fourth celebrations in the area. Today, as the people of Dysart work hard to once again offer a great opportunity for Fourth of July fun and fellowship, allow me to tell you about a packed few days of community spirit 108 years ago.

In the spring of 1914, the businessmen of Dysart formed a Commercial Club. These types of organizations were being formed throughout the country to promote the growth and development of towns and cities. The group that formed in Dysart grew quickly and within a few weeks their membership was up over 70. Not bad for a town of less than 1000. The group went straight to work funding and overseeing improvements which would bring both businesses and new residents to the area. Although the community had hosted July 4th events in the past, this one would be bigger. The celebration would coincide with a newly acquired week- long Chautauqua. In early June, the club members decided to take their message about the upcoming events on the road.

In the Dysart Reporter of June 18, 1914, the details of this road trip were announced, and an open invitation was extended to anyone wishing to participate. The date of the road trip was only one week later, on June 25. One week with no social media to help spread the word; just the newspaper and word of mouth.

Everyone was invited to bring an automobile if they had one and pack a lunch for a planned stop in a "grove where it will be pleasant to eat." Those not possessing a automobile of their own were encouraged to see C.L. Wareham at his store or Charles Vaubel or Lee Aldrich at the Dysart Reporter. Drivers were promised that the outing would not cost them anything as the occupants of the car would pay the running expense. Drivers were also told there would be mechanics in the group but that each driver should bring his own accessories. On a weekly basis, the owners of newly purchased cars had been listed in local papers and one must believe that many of these men were anxious to join the parade and show off their purchases. The local band was engaged to join the procession.

On the morning of Thursday, June 25, 1914, at 7:30 a.m. a total of 29 cars lined up on Main Street with the goal of "by the time Traer is properly awakened we will be there to distribute our advertising matter and the M.B.A. band will play a few pieces that will make them feel good the rest of the day." By the time the cars were assembled into a parade formation there was a total of about 150 men and women. The first car out of town was carrying the officers of the Commercial Club followed by the car carrying the M.B.A. band and then the participating drivers whose order had been selected by lots.

I can picture them now as they head west out of Dysart. Everyone dressed in their Sunday best, crammed into their open aired cars. The men are wearing hats but have allowed themselves the luxury of rolling up their sleeves in the hot June sun. Some of these men have purchased riding outfits specifically for motoring as was popular at the time. The young women are laughing and chattering. They are likely calling out to the cars ahead and behind of them. Everyone is excited to see how the day will go. Perhaps the band is already playing, or they are singing popular songs from that day. It has only been recently that private ownership of cars has been made possible and an extended road trip is probably a novelty to most. The newspaper articles report that they found mostly good roads but in 1914, that means dirt or gravel roads and with the small wheels the cars have the ride is bumpy.

Map

Map from 1917 showing local roads

The group made a number of stops in the following order: Traer to Clutier, where Mr. Jensen broke a spring and apparently had to quit the parade. Then on to Elberon and Keystone. At noon they stopped in a grove near Keystone and at the invitation of the owner occupied the yard for a picnic ground. Finally, friends who had been settled into different vehicles had a chance to get out and visit and have some fun together. From there they went to Van Horne and then Vinton. While in Vinton a storm blew up but it was over quickly. They then went to Garrison, La Porte and then back to Dysart. At each stop along the way it was said that the townspeople gave them a hearty welcome. The band played, flyers were distributed and visiting with the locals was initiated. Dave Wilson and John Christiansen gave speeches at each stop along the way. They "extended a cordial invitation to our sister cities to spend the Fourth with us and also to attend the Chautauqua which opens on that date."

 

The Vinton Eagle described the visit this way:

"Vinton was serenaded in royal style last Friday by the Dysart Boosters - men and women - 150 strong. They arrived in the middle of the afternoon in twenty-nine autos. They were accompanied by the local band which discoursed sweet music for fully half an hour. The 'tourists' mingled with the businessmen of the city and made their mission known. This was also made known in an eloquent address by John Christiansen....The mission of the Boosters was to advertise the fact that there is to be a great Fourth of July celebration at Dysart to which everybody is invited...Mr. Christiansen said they expect 3,000 people from Vinton during the week (of Chautauqua) so it is up to the Vinton people to justify Mr. Christiansen's expectations. There is no question, but a large crowd will go to Dysart on the Fourth to witness the game of ball between the Vinton Cinders and the Hiteman team."

I love this story. I can see myself in it and as I have said wish I could go back in time and live the day with them. It reminds me that when I lived in a small town, I experienced a sense of community that has not happened to me living in a city. It reminds me of happy days from my teenage years riding in cars and buses to music competitions, sports tournaments and school trips or just around town; singing and laughing with sweet friends. It also makes me remember how wonderful it is to drive around the Dysart countryside on dirt and paved roads and to soak up the colors and sounds of summer; to see the wide-open sky; and inhale the open-air smells. I wonder if other former Dysartites have the same feeling that I have always had, that you can leave the town, but the town does not leave you.

News articles state that two photographers were among the traveler and in the weeks after the 25th, postcards were advertised as for sale at Wareham's store. If anyone has any of these postcards, they would be willing to share, please contact me. I'd love to share them with my readers.

Stay tuned for next week's post when I will share with you the tremendous turnout this trip produced and the dramatic event that happened in Dysart on July 4, 1914.

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The News From Dysart and North Central Iowa – Last Week of May-Mid June 1914

The News From Dysart
Last Week of May-Mid June 1914

Citizens Continue to Promote a Growing Town
Proudly Show Their Patriotism & Civic Pride

Decoration Day

City Celebrates Decoration Day (Just a reminder: what is described here happened before either world war.)

The annual celebration of Decoration Day was held on Saturday. Events were planned by the Dysart Cemetery Association. Main street businesses and banks which were closed in honor of the day were all decorated giving the street a patriotic appearance. Farmers had been asked to halt their work for half a day to honor the fallen. The gateway entrance to the park was arched and decorated as was the park stand.

Under the direction of Marshall for the Day, Dave Wilson, the festivities started on Main Street at 1:00 p.m. with band music. A gun drill was presented by several of the small schoolboys. The schoolgirl’s presented a wreath drill. From there a parade including local dignitaries, the M.B.A band, teachers and students marched to the park. Twelve old soldiers and several soldiers' widows were taken to the park in cars. The sons and daughters of veterans followed. The flower girls were the last entry in the parade.

At the park the program was started with music by the band. Rev. Christiansen offered a short prayer. The chorus under the direction of C. B. Reed, rendered the anthem. The Gettysburg Address was recited by Miss Anetta Clough. Mayor Sewall gave a short talk followed by another anthem from the chorus. Mr. Ed Minkle, president of the event, spoke to the veterans and introduced the speaker, Rev. L.A. Swisher of Vinton who praised the efforts of the civil war veterans present. The band closed the program and the crowed moved to the cemetery where the graves of departed soldiers were decorated by the flower girls.

After all of the scheduled activities were complete, a baseball game was started. The high school team was challenged by a team composed of Clare Wilson, Abe Lincoln, Will Matthiesen, John Matthiesen, Glenn Riddlesbarger, Ben Marquardt, Clarence Casey, Paul Marquardt and Ray Hawbaker. As a result of this game, a team is being formed for those interested. They will practice at the park on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

GAR marker South Berwick Maine

GAR marker South Berwick Maine

The local G.A.R. ordered 40 grave markers with a plan to mark all the old soldier's graves in the following cemeteries: Dysart, Gnagy, Yankee Grove and Waller in Homer Township (note: there are four cemeteries in Homer Township none of which are currently named Waller).

Commercial Club Names Winner in Slogan Contest

"Boost For Dysart, She Boosts For You"

Twenty-one slogans were filled with Ervin Moeller, secretary of the Commercial Club. The slogans were written down and each member got to vote. The winning slogan was entered by Mrs. R. Clynton Hall.

Commercial Club and City Work Together to Oil Streets

The Improvement Committee of the Commercial Club met with the Town Council and a plan has been agreed upon to oil Main Street from Wilson to the park. The city will prepare the streets for the oiling including adding drains to the main block for drainage. The the Commercial Club will pay for the tanker and actual oil application. Several of the towns around Dysart have already completed this project and visits there have influenced town and commercial leaders that this is needed. Oiling will keep the dust down and make for a more pleasant environment for all. It is anticipated that residence districts will also be oiled with homeowners paying for that expense.

 

Park Improvements Approved

The Commercial Club and Town Council have also agreed on improvements to be made to the City Park. An electric line will be run into the park and furnish lights for public occasions. Payment for these lines will be provided by the club. Water will also be added to the park. A water line will be run across the street from Mrs. Smith's corner and the club will pay for the expense of carrying water to where it is needed for events. The town will make sure the park is mowed and trimmed.

 

Commercial Club's Plans for a Great Fourth of July Continue

Dysart Reporter May 1914

Dysart Reporter May 1914

 

The Commercial Club has grown to 72 members. Excitement is growing over the plans being made by the Entertainment Committee for a fabulous 4th of July and Chautauqua.

"The day will start at 4 a.m. when a cannon salute will sound to awaken the citizens. "

At 9:15 a.m. the automobile parade will line up and get started. The parade route will include several streets and culminate at the park where the baseball game will start. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated cars.

The Waterloo Amusement Company has been engaged to furnish three companies and each company is to give two entertainments during the day. The club is putting up a purse of $100 for the winning team in the baseball tournament between the Vinton Cinders and the Hiteman Iowa team.

A subcommittee comprised of W.D. Brandt, Art Keidel, and E.E. Weiben have been appointed to work with the town council and decide what concessions should be made for the week. C.L. Wareham, Dr. Porter and George Schreiber are deciding with some organization to produce meals in the park on the Fourth.

Advertisements for the special day are now starting to run in local papers.

Celebration

The Publicity Committee comprised of C.L. Wareham, Lee Aldrich, Charles Vaubel, Dan Lally, Abe Lincoln, Otto Cold, James Lally, George Schrieber, Homer Gardner, W.D.. Brandt and John Meggers have designated June 25 as "Booster Day". Members of the Commercial Clubs will make a day's circuit of surrounding towns and do advertising for the celebration and Chautauqua. Anyone is welcome to participate. Cars will line up on Main Street about 7:30 a.m. and will head west to distribute advertising materials. The MBA band will provide musical entertainment at each stop. Stay tuned for next week's post to learn how the day turned out!

Business

OK Restaurant

OK Restaurant on West Side of Main -looking north

The O.K. Restaurant has been leased to C.C. Horstman for one year starting on June 25. Owner, Will Kessler, plans to take a year off with his wife for some much-needed rest. The Kessler's have been running the restaurant for 12 years. Mrs. Kessler has not been feeling well which has prompted this decision. They plan to spend most of their time with relatives in Canada. It is expected that the Horstman family will live in the Kessler's home south of the Methodist church. Mr. Horstman was a previous owner of the O.K. Restaurant so townspeople will be in good hands under his management.

Entertainment News

Upcoming Entertainment Course Set

Schildkret Hungarian Orchestra

Schildkret Hungarian Orchestra

A subcommittee of the Commercial Club has set the entertainment course for the coming season. The subcommittee members are B.E. Barkdoll, C.A. Keidel and Lee Aldrich. They have met with the representative of the Redpath-Vawter System and purchased an entertainment course. The numbers secured are:Schildkret's Hungarian Orchestra, Killarney Girls, Laurant the magician andWeatherwax Male Quartet.

Laurant

 

Farm News

Farm To Be Sold To Highest Bidder

Map

Property as described in the sale bill

Andrew Krambeck has announced that he will sell his farm at public auction on June 20th. Many people are interested in this sale and plan to bid. According to the Dysart Reporter, "whoever puts the high bid will have a home that many people will envy". (Editor's note: I remember there being a house on this piece of property when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s but always thought of it as abandoned. A newer home is there now.)

Grand Public Auction

Sale Bill Dysart Reporter

 

Several Barns Going Up Around Dysart

Map

Maps like these can be found at https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/islandora/object/ui%3Aatlases_1342

New barns are being erected at the C. Seebach farm a mile north of town. The building will be 30x50x24. More than a dozen friends helped raise the barn and the finish carpentry will be done by Myers and Jessen.

Map

Gust Weiben is also building a new barn on his property six miles south of town. The building will be 48x56x24. Ed Nordon is having a new house building on his farm five miles south of Dysart. It will be 30x30 and two stories tall. He has also just had a new barn finished which is 40x56 with a gambrel roof. Meanwhile John Brandau is having a 30x30 two story house in town.

Farmer Injured

Henry Hupfeldt received serious injuries recently when his clothes became caught in the governor of an eight horse power engine. He was shelling corn when the accident happened and was alone at the engine. The governor broke and the engine stopped. Sam Sturtz found Hupfeldt unconscious. He was taken in to the house and for some time it was feared that his injuries would be fatal. He was bruised about the head and needed stitches. He also has several broken ribs but he is getting along nicely now and a good recovery is expected.

School News

Dysart High School Graduation

Commencement Services for the Class of 1914 were held on May 23rd. The class consists of ten members; six girls and four boys: Anna Marquardt, Gertrude Schreiber, Alma Sturtz, Fern Gnagy, Inez Creps, Amanda Hix, Ed Hix, Kenneth von Lackum, Cecil Sturtz and Freeman Pippert. Each member has completed the work described for the course in Dysart Schools except for Ed Hix. Owing to the automobile accident in which Ed was seriously injured last fall he was unable to continue his work with the class. He was determined to do the work some way even with his sister, Miss Eva, tutoring him, but his physicians held that the work would do more harm than the diploma would good. Therefore, he has been continuing with his treatments. He will receive a certificate of the work he has completed thus far.

The No. 5 school in Clark Township, two miles west of Dysart, closed their term with a picnic. Eleven pupils achieved the honor roll or were neither absent or tardy. Those students were Alma, Lorena and Linda Jansen; Myrtle, Frank and Raymond Heckroth; Thurza Kinderman; Bertha Nelson and Helga Dengler.

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The Big Brick Building on the Corner

The Big Brick Building on the Corner

From 1890's Hardware Store to Present Day Business Hub

Dysart, Iowa 1973

Dysart, Iowa 1973

Growing up in 1960's small town Iowa, "going uptown" to Main Street was something we looked forward to. The city park, school, Community Building, and uptown were the main hubs for community activities. My parents owned a business on Main and so, I think I spent more time there than most of my contemporaries. I was sent off to other businesses for supplies or errands. I was a frequent visitor to the post office which at that time was on Main Street and also the bank where I would bring the pennies from our tavern's peanut machine to be counted by the magical mechanical coin sorter. I can still hear the sound of that machine vibrating the coins down to the correct position to be rolled in dull colored paper rolls. Fascinating stuff when you are ten.

Store

Most of the time, though I was a wanderer. An aimless kid passing the time by exploring that one block long section of Main Street between Wilson and Clark streets. My favorites haunts were the two hardware stores; Hix's and Barnes & Brinkmeyer's and of course, our dime store with its alluring displays of wonderful items and oh so much candy.

Hix Hardware

Hix Hardware

My parents were friends of the Hix's. We spent time with their families and so I felt very at home in their store. I could always count on Lindsay for a teasing and welcoming smile. Ed, his brother, always seemed a bit more reserved but my family had lived close to his at one time and so they were also friends. A trip to Hix's meant tight aisles filled with all kinds of items, some of which I understood and many of which were a complete mystery. In the front of the store they kept the household items and some toys. I spent most of my time up towards the front, but whenever Lindsay and Ed would get busy with a customer, I loved to sneak off and explore the rest of the store. In the back, it was dark with creaking floors and seemed like a big adventure to me. I liked to catch a glimpse of the back room where I was sure the best stuff must be hidden.

I felt less at home at Barnes & Brinkmeyer's. They were not friends of my parents, did not attend the same church as us, and I had no context for them other than at their store. There was no banter or visiting to be done there. I don't mean to imply they were not friendly but, as a child you don't kid around with adults you don't know. In that situation, invisibility is the goal. In addition, there were a lot more things that a clumsy child could break in their store, so caution was always on my mind. My trips to their store were a quiet affair but no less loved than the ones I made to Hix's. The store was very large and whereas the Hix store seemed to have everything crowded altogether, items here were much more separate making them easier to see. The north part of the building contained the hardware. Old wooden bins with nails and screws; all the stuff needed to build or repair just about anything. The floor creaked and squeaked and provided it's own sense of adventure. The building smelled of old wood and metal.

Frankoma Pottery

Frankoma Pottery

The south side of the store was where the real magic happened for me. In this room were the beautiful Frankoma pottery pieces with their lovely glazes in blue, greens, browns and oranges. As I recall this room also had some toys to drool over but for me the draw was always the pottery. They don't make this pottery anymore and I only own one piece; a small orange and brown pitcher with a chip but it stands on my shelf as a reminder of those days and the place where I think I first noticed the beauty of an object.

Dysart Main Street at Wilson: Hardware Store on the left center of photo Circa 1989-1907

Dysart Main Street at Wilson: Hardware Store on the left center of photo Circa 1989-1907

By the time, I was at the height of my childhood in about 1968, the Barnes and Brinkmeyer building had been in continuous use as a hardware store for 77 years. The north portion of the building was built in 1891 by J. C. Walters. It was described in the local paper as being 94 feet deep with a 21-foot frontage and was "the first building in the town furnished with a handsome plate glass front." It was two stories tall and sported an attached covered staircase on the exterior. It was designed for retail on the lower level and offices upstairs. According to newspaper accounts the upstairs has been used over the years for both business and residential purposes.

Originally from Cedar Falls, J. C. Walters first became a merchant in Dysart when he purchased the hardware business of Harrison and Freise in February of 1889. That business appears to have been housed in a small building at the corner of Wilson and Main, where the current building still stands. For a time, that building was moved to the middle of Wilson Street while the new building was built. It was then moved somewhere in town and served as a residence. At some point, Walters added the selling of implements to his hardware business.

In 1895, a 32 x 42-foot addition was added to the building. His brother-in-law, Mr. Beale, joined the business in 1896 and it was then known as J.C. Walters & Co. Hardware. In 1897, the paper noted that he was building a "big, fine home in town" for which he had red rock from Pipestone, Minnesota, shipped in for the foundation.

In the spring of 1900, the nearby town of Clutier was begun and J.C. built a second store there which was to be managed by his sons G.F. and Benjamin Walters. This building was described as a two-story brick building next to the bank. That same summer, there was excitement in the Dysart store described in this article from the Traer Star Clipper:

August 31, 1900

August 31, 1900

In January of 1901, it was announced that J.C.'s sons, G.F. and Ben suddenly quit the store in Clutier and the stock from that store was sold to either John Parizek or Andy Ryan. The building was sold to John Horstman although a conflicting report shows it being sold to a Mr. Maine.

The Dysart store was expanded again in 1902 when an addition to the storeroom was added and remodeling of the upstairs was done to add two sleeping rooms and an office space for the Farmer's Telephone exchange. Mr. Beale left the business in 1904. J.C. got out of the implement business, selling a half interest in this business to A.H. Schuhart of Pipestone, Minn., who along with his family moved to town and bought the Beale's home. Another addition to the store was announced at that time as well as the addition of a cement sidewalk on the north side of the building.

In the late fall of 1904, it was announced that Mr. Walters had reached a deal to trade his store in Dysart for a farm in Minnesota. At that time, he was noted in the paper as having "done more for the improvement of Dysart than any other businessman here. His extensive business interests require the attention of from five to seven clerks and they are always busy." That deal fell through and then in January of 1905, J.C. sold one-half of the business to Arthur Schuhart.

In the summer of 1905, J.C. Walters sold his business in Dysart to his brothers, George and Harvey and the name was changed from J.C. Walters & Co. to Walters Hardware Company. A new corner entrance was added to the south building as well as a large plate glass window. After the change of ownership, the business started selling furniture in addition to hardware and implements.

J.C. & Mrs. Walters home

J.C. & Mrs. Walters home

J.C. and his wife sold the property they owned in Dysart. The house pictured above was sold to Rudolph Cold. Two residential lots on Main Street near the park were sold to Charles Thiele. In 1907, J.C. purchased a fruit ranch in Covina, California, where they planned to grow walnuts, figs, peaches, pears, plums and oranges. This venture only lasted about two years. The family were regular visitors to Dysart throughout the 1910's and appear to have divided their time between Covina, California; Pipestone, Minnesota; Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Dysart.

Hardware Bill

In the fall of 1909, the wheels were set in motion for the Walters brothers to sell their building and business to three young men; Eugene Braden, Ed. Heineman and Walter Schmidt. They took ownership on January 1, 1910. At this time, the store's name changed again to B.H.S. Hardware Company. According to the Dysart Reporter all three men were well known in the community; Heineman and Schmidt having been reared there and Braden having worked at the Klemme Hardware store (located directly across the street from the Walter's building where the current Dysart State Bank sits) for many years.

May 1914

May 1914

This business appears to have been quite prosperous. This article from May of 1914, shows that not only did they sell hardware and furniture, they also served as a Ford dealer.

B.H.S Hardware Company Hosts Events on Saturday

"The free entertainment and smoker (according to Merriam-Webster "an informal gathering for men") given by B.H.S. Hardware Co. on Saturday, May 23, was a great success. A man from the American Fence Factory gave a very interesting and instructive lecture about fencing and the theater was packed with interested men. That day, the hardware store sold 1,200 fence posts. The Ford exhibition was also very successful. Never before were so many Fords lined up together on Main Street. A little over 30 Fords are shown in the picture above. More than 40 men registered for picture. John Pippert Sr., John Pippert Jr., and George Stewart all purchased Fords that week. So far this year, B.H.S. has sold 23 Ford cars." Dysart Reporter May 1914

The three men operated the store together until Mr. Heineman's death in January 1920. It was known after that as Braden and Smith Hardware.

Ed Heineman was born on December 13, 1886, in Monroe Township, Benton County, Iowa. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. William Heineman. He received his education in Dysart High School and later the Tilford Academy in Vinton. In 1905, Ed, his mother and sisters moved into Dysart. He worked for Walters Hardware and Klemme Hardware before buying the hardware store with Braden and Schmidt. On May 20, 1919, he married Dorothy Murty in Webster City. The following January, the people of Dysart were shocked to learn that Mr. Heineman had committed suicide by hanging himself from the rafters in the upstairs room of the hardware store. His body was found by Mr. Braden and Ed Wurtzel after his wife requested they go and look for him as he had not arrived home after work. By all accounts he had shown no signs of depression. He was only 32 years old, recently married, had just purchased a home and was co-owner of a 270 acre farm near Mt. Auburn. He was a member of the Dysart Evangelical Church. He is buried in the Dysart Cemetery.

From 1920 to 1940, the store continued operations. In August of 1940, due to Mr. Schmidt's declining health, Mr. Braden became the sole owner of the business thenceforth known as Braden Hardware.

C. Walter Schmidt was born April 16, 1883, in Waterloo. At some point he moved to Dysart along with his family and was raised there. He was married to Miss Elma Biexrud of Caledonia, Minnesota, on June 15, 1910. They had one son, Christian. C. Walter was an avid hunter and his trips to Minnesota and Canada for hunting trips were frequently documented in the Dysart Reporter. In addition to the hardware business, he was elected as a director of the Dysart National bank. Starting in about 1939, Mr. Schmidt's decline in health was documented in the local paper including a February 1939 operation to remove his spleen and the amputation of his right arm in June 1940. He died in 1943 at his home after a lingering illness. He was a member of the Zion Lutheran and the Masonic Lodge. H was survived by his son and his brothers Frank H, Ed J. of Dysart and Chris R, of Red Lodge, Montana. He and his wife are buried in the Dysart Cemetery.

Barnes Hardware

Due to poor health, Mr. Braden sold the two buildings to Howard Barnes on December 1, 1944.

Eugene Braden came to Dysart in 1900 and was employed at Klemme Hardware (located at the northwest corner of Main Street where the Dysart State Bank is located). He had been born on 8/16/1881 in Dows, Iowa. He was married to Ellen Redmond on June 19, 1907. The couple had seven children none of whom stayed in the Dysart area. He died in 1945 and at the time of his death he had been in the hardware business for 44 years, first in Dows and then Dysart. Mr. & Mrs. Braden are buried in the St. Joseph's Cemetery in Dysart.

According to a news article in the Waterloo Courier on July 27, 2009, Howard Barnes was joined in the business by his son, Bill Barnes, after Bill completed his military service and schooling in about 1947. They operated the business together for ten years until Howard's death in 1957.

Norma Anders Library Dysart

Norma Anders Library Dysart

Kermit Brinkmeyer, Bill's brother-in-law, took over Howard's portion of the business in 1959. Together, they expanded the business to include appliances and on the advice of their wives, Margaret Brinkmeyer and Joan Barnes, added "things women use in the home" including the Frankoma. They expanded the walkway between the two buildings. Bill and Kermit retired and sold the building in 1994.

The Brick-a-Brack

Between 1994 and 2006, the building was used by several different businesses and then starting in 2006, it was purchased by Deb Roettger who transformed it into the "Brick-a-Brack Building" which has served as a business incubator for several small businesses over the years. Deb's Blacksmith Boutique where she welds old and rusty metal into highly sought after sculptures has been the constant through the years.
The old building looks much different now than it did in my childhood both inside and out but it has served the community well for almost 130 years. It is hard to imagine how many people have entered and existed the building in that time or how many friendly conversations have been had within its walls. Here's wishing the building a long and useful future for the people of Dysart, Iowa.

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa – Second & Third Week of May 1914

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa
Second & Third Week of May 1914

National News

Typhoid Serum

Typhoid Serum for Militia

"Despite the fact that peace mediators have been holding up war moves for several weeks and may possibly continue to do so for several months longer, the war department at Washington is taking every precautionary measure in an effort to place troops on the Mexican border at once if necessary.

The department is sending out typhoid serum to the heads of the state militia all over the country with orders that every member of the militia be given the treatment. Every member of the Iowa militia will be given the typhoid treatment at once. Adjutant General Guy E. Logan has ordered a sufficient amount of serum to treat every one of the 3,300 Iowa militiamen. The serum will be sent out to each of the 54 companies of the state.

The typhoid treatment requires twenty days' time and is said to make a person immune from the disease for a period of three years. Typhoid is one of the worst things the army has to deal with and as a result the war department is requiring every soldier to take the treatment. Des Moines surgeons will be sent to towns where local physicians are unable to administer the shots.

Progress in the Fight Against TB

Dr. Victor Vaughn, president-elect of the American Medical Association recently made the statement that since the tubercle bacillus was discovered in 1882, there has been a decrease in tuberculosis in the US of 54 percent. The improvements in Iowa are attributed to the intelligence of her citizens who recognize and utilize safe practices to decrease transmission. Improvements are also realized due to the state sanatorium at Oakdale (previously discussed here). The State Sanatorium has provided tremendous education and has dispersed throughout the state a number of trained workers in the area of prevention. The Oakdale Sanitorium is one of the leading faculties in the country for the treatment of tuberculosis.

State News

Taken from website for the Walcott Historical Society

Taken from website for the Walcott Historical Society

Walcott, Iowa - Fame and Fortune

"Walcott, which is located 12 miles west of Davenport, is famous. It has a population of 467; bank deposits totaling $1,287,000; has 101 homes; 87 high priced automobiles, and not a Ford in town; one saloon; pays no taxes as the saloon pays all; has no church; no lawsuits; and no criminals; and is surrounded by land worth from $200 to $250 per acre."

Mrs. A.F. Acres Is Safe

In our last post, we reported that B.E. Ives of Cedar Falls was concerned about his sister, Mrs. A.F. Acres, who had not been heard from since the beginning of the Mexican War. "We're safe on American soil at last", comes her message from El Paso, Texas. The Acres who have lived in Torreon for the past twenty years were able to have a letter smuggled out of Mexico by a Spaniard who had been exiled by Poncho Villa before their escape from. Mexico. The Acres had amassed a significant fortune as a result of Mr. Acres business dealing in lumber and supplies. All of this was seized by the rebel forces and their villa which had been used as an arsenal was subsequently blown up as the rebels retreated the city.

New Motor Car Route Proposed - The Amana Short Route

Map drawn in 1964

Map drawn in 1964

"An enthusiastic meeting was held at Williamsburg in the interest of an auto road from Cedar Rapids to Ottumwa along the line of the Milwaukee (railroad). It is to be known as the Amana Short Route and will connect with the main line to the gulf at Milton." The need for roads which could accommodate cars did not exist before about 1910. Ever wonder how the state went from wagon trails to dirt roads to what exists today? Check out this article from PBS.

Swedish-American League Formed at Ottumwa

 

Swedish American Immigrant Monument Munterville, Iowa

Swedish American Immigrant Monument Munterville, Iowa

More than 200 persons of Swedish birth and decent formed a Swedish-American league at Ottumwa recently and opened their charter for the enrollment of all Swedish people and decedents of Swedes in the city. A huge picnic will be held by the league June 24 with noted Swedish speakers from Illinois and Minnesota."

Lutherans Donate Portrait of Martin Luther to State of Iowa

"A portrait painting of Martin Luther, the gift of the 150,000 Lutherans in Iowa, was presented to the Iowa historical department with appropriate ceremonies Sunday afternoon. Chief Justice Scott M. Ladd presided, and Governor Clarke accepted the portrait for the state. The Rev. Charles Voss, president of the Lutheran Pastor's Association, made the presentation address." The painting was done by Olof Frithiof Grafstrom and is in the State Historical Society's possession.

Whiskey Seized In Ottumwa

Whiskey Seized In Ottumwa
The seizure at Ottumwa of 840 gallons of whisky consigned to a number of persons in Ottumwa is believed to be one of the biggest ever made in the state under the Webb-Kenyon law. The consignment consisted of seventy crates of three boxes each and two large moving vans were needed to move the liquor from the Burlington freight house to the court house.

Ten Year Old Jumps From Moving Train
Ten Year Jumps From Moving Train
Vera Mayfield, aged 10, of Fort Madison jumped from the K-line train running 30 miles per hour near Burlington. A passenger on the observation platform in the rear of the train saw the body lying beside the track and stopped the train. She was picked up for dead but on being conveyed to the hospital she recovered sufficiently to tell the nurse she became frightened and confused when she thought she was locked in the car. She had gone to Burlington to visit a little friend and was returning alone. By mistake she boarded an empty baggage car. After the train started, thinking someone had locked her in, she forced open a side door and sprang out. She was transported to the hospital where she survived her injuries.


Farm News
Alfalfa
"Alfalfa On Every Farm and a Silo With Every Barn"

"The greatest campaign ever put on for the fostering of any single crop will be undertaken in Black Hawk County on June 4, 5 and 6. Alfalfa will be the crop considered." In conjunction with the Crop Improvement Association from the Agricultural College at Ames, dozens of speakers will be present for four meetings in each township with additional meetings each evening in every city and town. This is planned as the first of many campaigns to be conducted throughout the state. Learn more about how alfalfa became the leading hay crop in Iowa here.

Slogan Contest

The Commercial Club of Dysart will offer a prize of $5.00 in gold to any person naming the best slogan as decided by the club at their first meeting in June. Slogan should be signed, sealed in an envelop and handed or mailed to the secretary not later than June 2nd. The envelops will be opened at the regular meeting of the club on Tuesday night, June 2nd and the prize awarded. This is a good chance for former Dysartites to show their interest in the welfare of their former home by picking out some good slogan for the use of the Commercial Club. If subscribers to the Reporter wish to send in a slogan with their subscription and offer a few words to the pubic we will see that the slogan is entered in the contest. After a slogan is chosen some booster buttons will be made and everyone in the vicinity will be advertising their Dysart spirit by wearing one of these buttons. Editor's Note: Stay tuned: The winning entry will be revealed in a few weeks.

Dysart to Celebrate Fourth
4th of July
The celebration of the fourth of July in connection with the opening day of the Chautauqua (previously discussed here) was heartily endorsed by the Commercial Club at their meeting. The chairman of the finance committee, Charles Creps (1880-1920), and Herman Schroder (1875-1941) were appointed by the club to see what could be done to finance the celebration. Some of the members at the meeting thought the money to pay for the celebration should be taken from the treasury without further subscriptions and others that there were enough businessmen and citizens outside of the Commercial Club who would be willing to donate for the celebration. The entertainment committee was also directed to get in touch with people to give street performances on the 4th free to the public. The national holiday will be filled with good entertainment for the multitude of people who will be in Dysart. The Fourth of July Celebration in Dysart in 1914 would become one of the most dramatic days in the town's history. Stay tuned for details coming in July.

Summer Bank Concerts

Another discussion at the Commercial Club was the location of the band stand for the concerts this summer. The idea of having the concerts in the park was raised and the discussion followed. Last summer there was not room enough on the main business block for all the cars and this year there will be a great many more cars parked in front of the stores. Last year this proved a great inconvenience to the people bringing in produce and buying groceries. The discussion was closed by the club deciding to have the band stand located in the center of the block south of the main business block. The block is longer than the other and with the electroliers lighted there will be plenty of light and the cars can park on both sides of the street. The idea will be tried out and it is hoped that win that same day. Dysart would eventually add a band stand to the city park but this did not happen until after 1916.

Electrical Service Hours Expanded
The Chairman of the Electric Light Committee has announced that electric light service will be furnished from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. except on Sunday when the plant will be started as soon in the evening as necessary for light. Mr. Sackett, who has been working for the town for several weeks, has been hired at $90 per month as engineer and electrician.

Fred Luze Badly Injured
Fred Luze

Fred Luze (1888-1937) was quite badly injured last Friday when his team ran away and trampled on him. The team was hitched to a buggy and he had gone in the house and left a little girl to watch the team. The wind waved the girl's apron and the team became frightened. Fred was on the porch and caught one of the horses but he was knocked down and one of the horses stepped on his side. No other damage was done but Fred was pretty badly hurt. He received a bad bruise on his head and two ribs were broken. He is able to be around now. Henry Luze (1891-1917) did his work for him while he was unable to be around.

Popcorn Wagon

Generic photo of a popcorn wagon

E.E Yarrington has rented the Lena Kersten house and his family expects to move here from LaPorte in a few weeks. He is running the peanut and popcorn wagon here.

The B.H.S. Hardware Co. sold and delivered five Ford cars last week to Nick Jurgens, Will Robbins, George Lamprecht, Ed Gleim and Dave Wilson. They have sold fourteen cars so far this season.

Business

Likely 53rd Regiment Band from Cedar Rapids

Likely 53rd Regiment Band from Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Businessmen Coming

The wholesalers, jobbers, manufacturers, bankers and other businessmen of the Cedar Rapids Commercial Club will be in Dysart on Friday, May 27th. They will call upon the businessmen of this city interested in their respective lines of business and hope to find our businessmen at their places of business during the time of the visit. These booster trips are for the purpose of forming a better acquaintance and understanding between the jobbing houses and manufacturers and other institutions and their customers throughout the state, and the history of past excursions proves that great benefits result from these trips. The train will bring to our city about 100 representatives of Cedar Rapids' instituations, including the 53rd Regiment Band, which will furnish music during their stay with us. Cedar Rapids was one of the first cities in Iowa to make these trips and have been conducting them successfully for over 16 years.

McDevitt and Smythe Sell

McDevitt and Smythe, who have been running a general store here for the past sevearl months (actually only since February), sold out Monday to Mr. McDonald, of Adair, Iowa. The stores has been closed all week and the stock has been invoiced. It is understood that Mr. McDonald is shipping the stock out and wishes to sell the fixtures. Mr. McDevitt expects to again take up salesmanship on the road. Mr. Smythe has not yet decided just what he will do. Mr. Smythe is selling all new household goods for fifty cents on the dollar including furniture, a stove, rugs, curtains, driving horse, buggy and harness.

Church News

Statement of Committee First Evangelical Church. In view of the rumors which have been in circulation about our pastor, Rev. H.O. Lorenz (pastor from 1911-1915), we wish to make this public statement, "We have traced these rumors to their sources and failed to find any evidence to prove them.


Entertainment News

British Movie Poster

British Movie Poster

The Star of Bethlehem, Thanhouser's 3 reel feature, will be shown at the Electric Theater Friday evening, May 15. This is a masterpiece in motion pictures. Prices 10 and 20 cents. The Electric Theater was opened in January of 1913 by Herman Jessen and William Clemann of Gladbrook in the Sorrell building which had formerly been a bowling alley.

School News

Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm near Ames

Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm near Ames

Summer School at Ames

"For the six weeks from June 15th to July 24th, the entire equipment of Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts at Ames will be turned over to the public school teachers of Iowa who want to fit themselves to teach agriculture, home economics and manual training. The state board of education will grant free tuition for the term. The instruction offered is planned especially to help teachers meet the requirements of the new state law which says that agriculture, home economics and manual training must be taught in all public schools after July 1st, 1915. Grade and rural teachers who come to Ames for vocational work will also be given opportunity for preparation in other common school and first grade certificate subjects. Special instructors having been secured for the purpose. To help the teaching of methods, model school rooms will be maintained, with teachers and pupils and full equipment. The director of the summer session, Professor G.M. Wilson, will send a complete catalog of the summer season on request.


Advertising
Ruthenbergs Munsing Union Suits Bakery Horse Shoeing Cultivation Commencement Dr. Pierce Free Entertainment

 

The News From Tama County & North Central Iowa – First Week of May 1914

The News From Tama County & North Central Iowa
First Week of May 1914

State News

War in Mexico Impacts Iowa Citizens

As reported last week, the United States has invaded Mexico, and already the effects of that decision are being felt here at home. George Dain, a Traer boy, who has been stationed in Cuba, came back recently on a furlough. He was visiting his mother in Bellevue, Iowa, when he received a telegram from the war department calling him to Mexico to take a hand in the trouble down there.

B. S. Ives, of Cedar Ralls, is much concerned over the fate of his sister, Mrs. A. F. Acres. She and her husband live in Torreon, Mexico. For more than a month, he has not heard from her and there is no means of communication with Torreon. The telegraph service has been at a standstill there since Pancho Villa captured the city.

Cedar Rapids has gotten a new Company of the 53rd Regiment Iowa National Guard. The company will begin training immediately to be in readiness for the war with Mexico. Other towns vying for the company were Dubuque and Manchester.

Portland Cement Plant

Mexican employees in the cement plants in Mason City are said to have almost to a man asked for their paychecks and headed for Mexico to join Huerta to fight against the invaders. Some of them are buying tickets but others are beating their way southward, where they expect to sneak through the American lines. At the same time, many Greeks and Montengrins are offering their services to the United States. Many of these have seen service in the Balkan war and are well trained.

Skunk Farming

Skunk Fur Coat

Skunk Fur Coat

A.C. MacFarlane tells the St. Louis Weekly Globe that he has determined he can make more money using his ten acres of land for raising skunks than a thousand acres growing cotton. Ten acres gives him room for the raising and care of 2,000 pole cats. Although it would be expected that his neighbors would vigorously protest, Mr. MacFarlane has perfected a method for removing the musk bags. The skins range in value between $1.50 and $8.00. These skins are sold under the name Russian Sable or Alaskan Sable and according to Mr. MacFarlane, "Many a wearer of beautiful Russian Sable furs does so in profound ignorance of the fact that Russian Sable is only another way of saying skunk."

Iowa farmers are also exploring skunk farming on their properties. In 1914, a new skunk farm was planned for Lovilla in Monroe County. A farm called "Skunk Hollow" was begun in Atlantic by F.M. Neebe and in Emmet County, Mr. Ferguson also started a ranch. One of the more successful skunk farmers appears to be the father and son team of Paul and Albert Bobst near Iowa Falls, in Franklin County.

Crystal Ice & Fuel Co. Waterloo Iowa

Fire, believed of incendiary origin, destroyed the hay storage barns of the Crystal Ice and Fuel company in Waterloo, consuming 4,500 tons of ice and causing a loss to the buildings of $2,000. An investigation is being made.

A Terrible Sight

Train

People at train stations and in fields who witnessed the North-Western train as it traveled between Mt. Vernon and Boone were subjected to a gruesome sight recently. After the train struck a horse on the tracks the animal became wedged so tightly into the engine pilot that it could not be removed without the use of a dredge. Therefore the poor creature traveled 150 miles for all to see.

Salaries Revealed

On Iowa

The salaries for the presidents of the state university and the state teacher's college were recently released. The President of the University of Iowa will be paid $144 a week or $7500 per year while the President of the State Teacher's College will be paid $6,000 per year.

Melon Farming

Melon Farm

This postcard is currently available on ebay.com

A thousand acres in the vicinity of Fredonia, in Louisa county, will be planted in melons this year, the new acreage being south and east of the town and will be in addition to the large acreage north of the town where the farmers have been engaged extensively for a number of years in melon culture. The acreage near Fredonia this year will be almost equal to that at Conesville or Muscatine Island.

Button, Button, Iowa's Got The Buttons!

Button Factory

Seventeen and eight-tenths of the buttons manufactured in the entire United States are made in Iowa.

Local News

Traer Fair Grounds To Be Sold

The directors of the Traer Fair Grounds have voted to turn the property over to the city of Traer to help fund their new library and ladies’ federation. The twenty-four-acre area formerly used by the agricultural fair has not been used for several years. It had been hoped that the agricultural society would reorganize but that does not appear to be a possibility. It is now felt that the proceeds should be used for some community good. It is felt that the library, rest room and social center provide that opportunity. It is anticipated that the land will yield $200.00 per acre.

Traer Marshal Resigns

"Marshal David Ward Jr. no longer wears the star." Tuesday evening the mayor was walking down the street and saw a small bunch of men who usually imbibe booze when they get together and observed that they appeared to be drunk. He sought the marshal and told him to arrest two of the three of them. The officer refused, claiming the men were going home, and said he would resign rather than do it. The mayor stated he would have to quit if he would not comply with the order. "The marshal turned over his shooter and star and immediately became a private citizen after a month or so of official life. The mayor then sought Will Scott and offered him the appointment and Scott immediately accepted. "The boozers escaped a healthy fine. The lid is on."

News of Dysart's Developing Commercial Club Spreads Through the State

"Dysart has a new commercial club. And here again are a lot of people banded together who know what they want what their town wants, and whet can possibly be gotten for them. And so they are not trying to move the capital of the United States to Dysart, but are content to do the things that are feasible and practical. They propose to give Dysart a Chautauqua, to arrange for band music and baseball and to have the streets oiled. It is in thus doing for their town that they will get results. Of course, they would get more publicity if they started out to capture the south pole and the north pole, but if they got them both, of what possible benefit would that be to Dysart? Working along in a practical way, for the benefit of their town, the members of the organization will never be at a loss for things to do that are feasible and that will eventually prove profitable." Burlington Hawk-Eye.

Crime Watch

Man Arrested Selling Acid Proof Ink And Escaping

Toledo, Iowa: Jack Low was recently arrested after making his way through small local towns of Lipscomb, Ellsworth, Union, Gladbrook and Marshalltown selling "acid proof ink". Marshal Schodt received notice from Marshalltown that Low was in the area visiting friends and made the arrest. The Marshal took Low to the State Bank to await the arrival of the Marshalltown officials and Low, "looked into the dark and distant future and could see things that looked quite unpleasant to him, so he took up the street north and disappeared into the darkness at a speed that would drive a jackrabbit to shame." He was captured a few hours later by a posse of town boys led by Marshal Schodt. After his second capture, Marshal Schodt placed him in chains and kept him in the bank until he was turned over to the Sheriff. Sheriff Edgar and Deputy Sheriff Goodale took the prisoner to Marshalltown in an auto where he was changed with obtaining money by false pretenses. The complaint was filed by S. Dickerson, cashier of the Liscomb State Bank, who bought $2.00 worth of the "acid proof ink". The ink having been claimed by Low to be erasable which has proved to not be true. J. W. Nuzum of Toledo posted a $200 bond and unfortunately when his trial began on Monday, Low was nowhere to be found. He was spotted walking between Gladbrook and Garwin that same day.

Business

A.C. Ryan has made plans for the erection of a large implement house for Dysart and Lou Fuoss is looking forward to its erection with a certainty. The railroad company has not yet made the lease of the ground, but will in time. The plans are for a steel building about 42 x 100 feet across the track from the east of the freight depot. A smaller building will be erected to be used for an office. Part of the material for the building has already been shipped.

Entertainment News

Announcement

Poluhni, the Mystic

Poluhni, the Mystic, showed in Gladbrook four years ago, two nights to well filled houses. HIs mind-reading, his street drives, his organ chimes, his Swiss Bell Ringers, etc. will all be remembered as first class. His show is one that can come back to the Opera House, May 8th and 9th.

Advertising

Lost

 

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa – Last Two Weeks of April 1914

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa
Last Two Weeks of April 1914

National News

General Victoriano Huerta

General Victoriano Huerta

War with Mexico Likely

Whole Navy Headed for Tampico to Force Huerta to Apology

(Traer Star Clipper April 17, 1914)

"War with Mexico seems certain. The patience of the President and his cabinet is exhausted. The other day several American sailors were arrested and imprisoned in Tampico without cause." The commander of the ship demanded (an) apology and the firing of (a) twenty-one gun salute to the American flag. President Wilson backs him up in the demand. Huerta refuses to salute. This insult, added to many others heaped upon this government in the weeks past, has been the last straw. Huerta will salute or war will follow inside of ten days. Tampico and Vera Cruz will be taken. Then in all probability intervention will follow. Huerta has secured sixty million in cash, which would enable him to hold out a year against the rebels. It is time something was done by our government. The country will approve of the drastic movement just begun. Congress is nearly unanimous in its approval."

War With Mexico Begun

War with Mexico

Navy Seizes City of Vera Cruz - Five Marines Killed, Thirty Wounded (Traer Star Clipper April 24, 1914)

"It has come to war. Heurta refused to salute the American flag to atone for the arrest of marines ten days ago and Admiral Fletcher was ordered to seize the custome house at Vera Cruz which he did. The Mexican Army fled into the country but firing from housetops continued until the admiral felt it necessary to take possession of the city. His loss is five killed and thirty wounded. The Mexicans lost 150 killed. The next step depends on Huerta. If the rebels and federals unite, the army and navy may be put into action and march to Mexico City begun. The administration seems now determined that Huerta shall go and will not be satisfied by any salute now. It looks much as if war of considerable dimensions and length is upon us."

Rosenthal Becker Murder Trial Executions

Rosenthal Becker Murder Trial Executions

"The four gunmen convicted of the Rosenthal murder which occurred in June 1912, were electrocuted Monday morning at break of day. The first man died at 5:43 and the last one at 6:02. Thus four men answered with their lives for the death of one and the life of another is in the balance."


Love True Crime and Want to Learn More? Try these links!

On the web: Charles Becker: The "Crookedest " Cop in New York

http://www.annalsofcrime.com/04-01-2col.htm

Book: Satan's Circus by Mike Dash: https://www.mikedash.com/


State News

A State Hospital

H. LeRoy von Lackum Writes About Institution at Independence

Herman Leroy von Lackum

Herman Leroy von Lackum 1891-1928

"After learning that LeRoy von Lackum had visited the institution for the insane at Independence with the junior and senior medical classes of the University of Iowa, we asked him for a description of the trip. After considerable deliberation he consented and the past week while spending his vacation here he prepared the following story for us." The Dysart Reporter

Iowa State Hospital

Iowa State Hospital for Insane 1908

"A few weeks ago, in company with several nurses, the Junior and Senior classes of (the) Medical College of the State University visited the hospital for the insane at Independence.

The hospital itself is located about one mile south of the city on several hundred acres of ideally selected ground. Fine drives and a parking of pine trees cover the place. Besides the large main building, there are several out-buildings, the most important of which is one just recently built. It is used for the sick and for the reception and examination of new patients. A fine operating room is herein located as well as the hydro-therapy department, which is very important in the treatment of violent patients.

The patients are kept in nicely lighted and well ventilated wards, made as cheerful as possible by the presence of many plants and flowers. The different types of insane are kept separated, each ward being locked from the others and guarded over by one or more attendants, depending upon the kinds of cases. Violent patients are removed from the others, no restraint in the way of straight-jackets or other similar devises being used. The attendants, with the help of other patients, overcome the violent one(s) in as gentle a way as possible, and then hydrotherapy with the administration of sedative drugs is all that is resorted to if this does not suffice and the attack persists.

Probably one of the most pleasant things connected with the institution, is a theatre in the main building. Here the patients themselves are allowed to hold entertainments, and on several occasions during the year, dramatic companies are brought in and present such plays as do not excite, but rather look toward the cheerful and uplifting in life.

There are about 1200 patients at Independence and about the same number in each of the three other state hospitals."

 

Waterloo to be at the Panama Exposition

Iowa House Panama Exhibition San Francisco

Iowa House Panama Exhibition San Francisco

"Waterloo is now making plans for what they now call the Iowa building at the Panama exposition for next year at San Francisco. A delegation of Waterloo men have recently returned from a trip there to pick out the site and to make the final arrangements. It is said the building is to cost $125,000 and that Waterloo is doing it for the state. No doubt it will be better known as the Waterloo building than the Iowa building and if Waterloo does it she should have the credit."

Local News

Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Toledo

Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Toledo

According to a report written in 1919 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the buildings used for the sanitorium were originally built to serve as a boarding school for the children of the Mesquaki tribe who lived nearby. However, the parents of these children were unwilling to have their children move there and so the school served children from other tribes. In 1913, the school was converted into a sanitorium for the treatment of native people suffering from tuberculosis.

The Toledo Chronicle visited a newly established tuberculosis sanitorium established on the Mesquaki Reservation in Tama and provided the following account. "The institution has seventeen patients at present, 10 girls and 7 boys. These come from five different tribes (represented) from various states. Sleeping porches have been added to the south, west and north parts of the old school building, on the second floor, which we are informed are even superior to those at the state hospital in Oakdale." Separate areas were set up for the boys and girls. "The quarters are arranged so as to have an abundance of fresh air and plenty of sunlight."

"At the time our visit was made, the patients were taking their afternoon rest. Some were sleeping, part reading and others simply resting. Rest and proper food is the secret of tubercular treatment. The patients appear to be in the best of spirits and perfectly satisfied, although each had a period of homesickness upon arrival. The daily program of all the patients must be regular. As they become stronger, light work is given them about the premises. "

On the first floor, Dr. Russell, the superintendent has his consultation and drug room. Adjoining this is the operating room. The apparatus throughout is the most modern and the stock of drugs is more complete than the average drug store. The school room will be the same as used in the old Indian school. New equipment has been supplied and the windows will be placed on hinges so as to swing out, practically making an outdoor school room. The patients will be given school work as their strength permits.

The building formerly used for the Indian school as a laundry has been remodeled and will be used as sleeping rooms for the male employees. The present laundry is newly equipped and practical from every standpoint. A laundry woman is kept constantly at work in this department. the store house is supplied with practically all of the necessities for the patients in the line of clothing, aside from other supplies for the institution and the day schools on the reservation. the dairy department is entirely new and substantially equipped. The herd consists of registered animals of the Jersey breed. The new cottages have been erected. One is occupied by the Indian farmer and the other will be used for an employee's mess quarters. A new implement shed has also been erected recently.

To the present time in the neighborhood of $17,000 has been expended in making the necessary changes and improvements. A much larger sum will be required by the time the work is completed. The institution is now equipped to take care of about sixty patients, but is probably that the capacity will be increased to at least one hundred. There are thirteen persons now employed in the institution all being under civil service rule. More will be added a little later."

 

Disagreements over Geneseo's New School

Burns School in Geneseo

Burns School in Geneseo

"There is liable to be trouble over the moving of the Burns School in Geneseo. As stated heretofore, the directors decided to erect the new brick building a considerable distance north of the old site, on the Life corner. This did not suit some of the patrons. John Burns, Mr. Griffin and Mr. McKay went to Toledo and employed an attorney to oppose the action. They will go into court and hope to defeat the action in changing the location. The contract for the building has been let."

 

Crystal Farmer Taken in Front of the Insane Commission

"James Fink, of Crystal who has been at the state hospital in Independence off and on now for years, and of late months has been employed by Henry Reimers, has been restless in the absence of Mr. and Mrs. Reimers, and complaint was made to the authorities at Toledo. He was taken before the insane commission there, who could discover little the matter with him and they declined to send him back to Independence. The sheriff has taken him under his care for the present. Mr. Fink owns a fine farm in Crystal worth around $30,000 but his guardian gives him little of the returns. He has never married."

Professional Money Finder

 

Supervisor Lundak Runs Into Coin at Every Moment

Frank Lundak

From the Toledo Democrat: "Supervisor Frank Lundak has gained a reputation for being a finder of hidden money. Up to date he hasn't found very much to which he can lay claim, but what others have stowed away in tin cans, tobacco pouches, and hidden pockets he has discovered and turned over to the proper authorities Some years ago, he took a roll of $527 from the deceased John Vavra's pants and 'twas not the fault of the finder that the relatives spent $1,000 or more getting the money properly distributed.

Mrs. Byer dropped dead in Vining's thoroughfare (editor's note: wait, what? a thoroughfare in Vining????) without publishing where she kept her money. In an old tobacco pouch at the foot of her bed, the undertaker (Mr. Lundak) found $1,100 in gold. The finder was sorry that the deceased hadn't seen fit to use a hundred or so upon herself before she died.

Then a (Japanese man Samurai - the honorable K. Takrue), whom everybody thought was penniless died, but the undertaker dug up $72 out of his jeans and planted him without charge to the county.

And just last week Wednesday, Frank Roushar died of old age and poverty in Vining. In digging around among the effects of the deceased, the county supervisor located an old tin can and on inspecting same found $1,165 therein. There are no close relatives and therefore no real reason for hoarding the money. To die in want depending upon the charity of strangers, while $1,165 could be used to furnish some measure of comfort, bespeaks the too economical, to say the least.

The mayor of Vining was made custodian of the gold and will likely be compelled to turn it over to relatives although it was the deceased's desire to use some of the money for the keeping of his grave and that of his wife's, neat and clean."

 

Commercial Club in Organization

Record book of Dysart's Commercial Club

This record book of Dysart's Commercial Club is available at the Dysart Museum!

At Present 50 Citizens on List - Work Being Pushed

"The list being circulated for the purpose of getting the signatures of the Dysart citizens who are willing and anxious for the organization of a commercial club now boasts of about 50 names, 65 or 70 names are wanted on the list before a meeting is called and then when a meeting is called intense interest will be manifested and the business of the club will be started off right....the main object of a commercial club is for the interests of our town. It has nothing to do with any one man's interests. It is for the interest of everybody in Dysart and to that reason everybody should get back on it and do their share of boosting. "

 

Business

Soda Fountain

"Will Kessler closed a deal the last of the week for a new soda fountain to be delivered here about May 1st. It is one of the latest and has all the up-to-date conveniences. It will be set against the north wall of the O.K. Restaurant. Will realizes that it will take the profit of a lot of sodas to pay for the fountain - but he wants to have one of which Dysart people will feel proud."

 

Entertainment News

Free Moving Pictures

 

Church News

"The committee appointed by the officers of the Methodist church to work on the project of building a new church or rebuilding the present building is Rev. Hepner, S.J. Kerr, Dr. Porter, Dr. Gessner, J.T. Stewart, George Stewart, A.K. Zalesky and Ed Minkel. If these men get together on some proposition and get it started we know something will be done that will be a boost for Dysart. "

 

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