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Hattie Rose - Postville's Pie Lady


Posted By: Gloria Payne (email)
Date: 10/17/2007 at 13:19:25

'Postville's pie lady' dies at 93
Hattie Rose was gifted with a sweet touch
(by Terry Coyle, Gazette staff writer)

It's no mystery to Whitey Meyer why Hattie Rose became famous as Postville's pie lady. "It was the taste," said Meyer, who sold Rose's pies in his restaurant for 18 years. "You just couldn't beat the taste. She was just a darned good baker."

Rose, 93, died Sunday at the Good Samaritan Center in Postville. Until four years ago, when she fell and entered the care center, she was the person to turn to in Postville, an Allamakee County town of 1,500, - and from points beyond - if you wanted a pie or other food for any occasion. She even baked a few pies after entering the care center, but had to stop after a stroke two years ago.

In about 40 years of baking, Rose tallied almost 65,000 pies, and she didn't start counting until at least 10 years after assuming a regular baking schedule, said her daughter, Jeanette Johnson of Postville. All were rolled out on her kitchen table, filled with homemade fillings and baked in a conventional oven.

Paul Harvey mentioned her on his radio broadcast when she baked her 10,000th pie. Newspapers around the country carried stories about her. She liked to tell about receiving a letter from across the country addressed simply to "Postville's Pie Maker."

In 1985, Postville residents turned out for Hattie Rose Pie Day and one of her famous sour cream raisin pies was sold at auction for $960. Ten apple pies brought $60 each. The money went to help Community Memorial Hospital.

Rose started baking for local restaurants after moving to town from the farm in the mid-1950's, her daughter said. She filled in once for the woman who normally baked the pies and was asked to do it on a regular basis when that woman quit.

She baked for up to three restaurants a day. Meyer said he would pick up at least five or six pies for his restaurant, the Grill, before 7 a.m. During busy times of the year, such as the fall leaf-viewing season, she'd make as many as 15 pies for his restaurant alone. She also cooked for the monthly firefighters meeting. People would order pies for special occasions, Johnson said, or call ahead if they knew they would be passing through town.

The most pies Rose ever baked in one day was 82, for a farmer's hog sale, her daughter recalled. She was up at 4 a.m. or earlier seven days a week, depending on how many pies she was going to bake. Meyer said the sour cream and rasin was the most popular pie. "But they were all good," he added.

Services for Rose will be 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Paul Lutheran Church. Besides Johnson, she is survived by another daughter and a son.

~Cedar Rapids Gazette clipping, 1996
~Hattie Rose 05/16/1903 - 10/27/1996, burial in Postville cemetery


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