December 1894

Looks up the Business Interests of the Town And is Prompted to Make Personal Mention.

The holidays this year are whole days, each one filled with business, pleasure, festivity, good cheer, religious zeal and general Christmas activity. If any doubt this let them take with us a special trip of observation up and down the business streets, and see what we can see. There will be no admission fee nor reserved seat charges for the lovely panoramic views of windows and warerooms, of shops and shoppers.

We will walk around to Whitford’s fine livery on Madison Street, and take a carriage. Notice how cleanly washed are the storefronts and how well swept the sidewalks are. Excuse the stagnant filth in the gutters and about the hitching rails, for that is the business of the city council, and as it is a conservative, economical body that don’t propose to squander the people’s money for such small mountains of dirt as those, we will excuse, because we “have to.” When it is so high that the horses’ heels are at an angle of forty-five degrees with their heads, some horse or somebody, will “kick” and the “misplaced matter” will receive the solemn attention of the conservators of the city’s health and manners.

This is the Harlan, across from Whitford’s stable on the corner of Madison and Jefferson streets, where the guest chambers are homelike, the parlor pleasant, the dining room well served, the office well-appointed and hospitably conducted by Crawford, the new landlord.

We cannot give Goe, the genial, the go by, for it is here that nobby turnouts are to be found as well as the greys that speed the engine at the alarm of fire.

This is Hitchcock’s place, where tens of thousands of pounds of fowls are handled every year.

Next door is the calaboose, with Mayor Burton’s sanctum above—let us run along or we may be “run in” for this surreptitious appropriation of sighs goodly and beautiful.

Turn this corner on to Monroe Street, and lo here we are at Warwick’s big window where “speaking likenesses” are exhibited in the evening, and fabrics rich and fabrics cheap are mixed and mingled with things fancy and things useful in great profusion during the day.

Next is Hill’s–young Hill’s–and say, isn’t that pretty, the smilax wreaths, the soft white ground with the lovely bonboniers in one window, and those pyramids of tropical fruits and Christmas sweets in the other.

Up this stairway, next floor, to the door at the west, is the Boquet—Miss Goe’s millinery rooms where ribbons bright and flowers gay, all shapes and kinds of headgear are to be found.

To the east is T.M. McAdam, the attorney who has been raising his reputation as an able lawyer by his skillful management of this winter’s law cases.

In the third story, at Leisenring Brothers old photographic art rooms, are Ihne and Losh, the able successors of the Leisenrings, and where pictures and prices are both right.

Up these broad steps is where the post office was kept a few years ago, we now read the legend “Billiards” on the large window.

Above, at its old stand, is the Journal, the ever and always republican sheet, with Haston as chief penciler of political pointers.

Below in the basement “meals at all hours” may be had, while next door is S.H. McCracken the accomplished barber, whose knowledge of current events discounts the encyclopedia, and is free for the inside of his patron’s head while the outside is being made au fait.

There next is Anderson’s. You don’t see his stock, nor the best part of it, in the window. Go inside and you will see piles and mountains of goods everywhere. Ask for almost anything you can think of, from diamonds to tooth picks, from bibles to dolls, from watches to Mother Goose Melodies, and you can get it, and during the holidays at a close shave, too. And as for repair work, Anderson is a fine mechanic.

That grocery is Bowman’s, J.C. Bowman, the veteran grocer and all-around up-to-date business man. What you cannot find in the line of eatables there you will have to send out of town for.

Upstairs over Bowman’s is Dr. Ball, who will pull all your teeth out without making you bawl, for he has the secret of painless extraction.

This is Ott’s, the north side druggist. Aren’t those windows attractive? It makes you feel like sponging something, if no more than a look through at the finest soda fountain in the city; and it Ott to be fine, for the tidy sum which it cost.

This stairway here, is the straight and narrow flight that leads to the FREE PRESS office, where it published one of the best county papers in the state, where the cheapest and best job work in Henry County can be had, and where democracy in its simplicity is held to, notwithstanding the plant is in possession of the Throops because of their politics.

This front next door is E. Lines & Co’s. That display of exquisite hand painted china is the product of the artistic skill of the Misses Emily and Susie Beckwith, daughters of Captain Beckwith, whose magnificent home is on West Monroe Street, and Miss Mattie McClure daughter of Dr. A.W. McClure, whose elegant home on East Washington street bespeaks the taste of the daughter, from garret to kitchen. These gems in china are for sale, and many have gone to grace the “collection” of ladies in this and adjoining towns during the holiday season. This window on the east of entrance with its glittering jewels and scintillating diamonds announces that inside the usual complete stock which this house for the last thirty-five years, under the management of Sargent, Sargent & Lines, and now Lines & Co., has always kept.

This outside stairway here leads up to Leech’s office. Leech is Dr. of law and not of medicine, as the name might indicate, and a good one too, as his legal adversaries find to their cost.

I need not tell you that this place across the alley here, where the windows are one solid mash of things beautiful, is Bartlett’s, for you have been called here by too many “special sales” and price killing “sale days”, to mistake the house. Say, look! is not this china pretty? The second floor of this store is devoted to carpets, cloaks, rugs, curtains and heavy goods. Bartlett has an immense stock.

This is Baxter’s, the shoe man. This is the place where Theo will fit ladies’ No. 5 feet into No. 2 shoes so successfully that the wearer will never acknowledge that the shoes are giving her fits, because the shoe is so fine and the style so excellent, and the skill of the salesman so perfect.

The Masonic fraternity rooms are in the third story of Union block here and are perfectly appointed for the needs of the organization.

Here is Allen’s. He has to employ the tallest clerk in town to reach the top shelves, and the mountains of gents’ furnishing goods which reach up, up to the very ceiling. At this place you can find all grades at right prices.

Above here is Miss Ketcham’s art needlework parlors, the largest ever maintained in Mt. Pleasant. Let us run up a moment. Oh my! but isn’t this lovely. Such an endless variety of all sorts of things beautiful—it is a complete bazaar of art needlework for home decoration, in silk and satin, in lace and linen, in all colors, shapes and kinds. None could go amiss at pleasing for Christmas here to make a simple hit or miss selection. On this same floor is Miss Talbot’s studio for crayon and pastel. Her work is fine and her classes full of promise.

Across the hall is Mrs. Northrop’s dress-making rooms, and many ladies think this the only place in town where they can get what they want in this line.

Upstairs in the third story is Cutler’s photograph gallery. The splendid reputation which McAdam, his predecessor, achieved, has been fully maintained by Cutler, for artistic likenesses.

The post office is here, next to Allen’s. This is where the interests of old, young and middle-aged of the community center in the hope of prompt, courteous and faithful mail service, without circumlocution or red tape.

Beers’ dental rooms are above on second floor. Beers’ office has been established the longest of any in the city, and his work is recognized for its excellence by a multitude of patrons.

This corner is the National State Bank, a well conducted institution where its patrons receive the most courteous attention.

Jerrel is above, in the law office formerly occupied by Woolson & Babb. Jerrel is a young lawyer, full of promise and will certainly score success.

Around the corner here is Shepp’s shoe shop, called the Globe, where the best hand work is done in connection with an excellent stock of ready-made eastern work.

Above is H.C. Saunders, the veteran real estate dealer who has probably helped to change more title deeds than any man in Henry County.

This immense window is Cobb & Williams’, the exceptionally fine tonsorial artists.

Bickenbach is in the second story of this house, and he is the maker of cigars that are as good as imported Havanas of the same grade.

Then, this is the auction room with “Pyles” of men’s ready-made clothing going at below, above, or around cost price, but they go, for Elmer Richmond is the auctioneer.

In the office above recently vacated by Dr. Marsh, we find Dr. Lessenger, who is receiving a cordial response to his professional how to this community.

That next room is the express office made conspicuous just now by the phenomenally fine voice of Weibly, who has charge of the delivery.

Above Mrs. Fuller has her dress making shop and her patrons know the excellence of her work.

This is Virden’s carriage ware rooms, where fine vehicles are sold at cost—what they cost the purchaser.

This door speaks for itself—it is Stockdale’s hotel where a man can get three square meals, a good bed and right treatment inside of twenty-four hours, and all for one dollar.

Here is Henry Troughton’s meat market. Old Settlers all know Troughton for thirty old years, more or less, and he always serves his customers to the best.

This new building is the enterprise of Drs. Smith & Linn, and is a credit to the city.

This church building is foreordained sooner or later to give place to a more modern and pretentious structure, as its parish is one of the wealthiest in the city.

Across the street is the Baptist church, which is finely appointed from the parlors and Sunday school rooms in the lower story, to the audience room in the second, where the stained-glass windows are memorials, and especially fine.

This unpretentious building belies its name in external appearance, for it is known as the Grand Opera House. Inside, however, we find a large, finely equipped stage, and an audience room worthy of the first-class entertainments which Melcher, that most judicious and successful manager, is constantly bringing to Mt. Pleasant.

Across Main, and east on Madison Street, one block east is the little brick church whose parish has recently secured the Key(e)s which unlock the kingdom of final holiness and happiness to all men.

This house here on the corner of Main and Madison, is Lubergers’, who caters for more social events than any other confectioner or baker in the city.

Of course this is Andrews. We could not mistake the place, for the windows give the key to the stock at a casual view. This room in the evening has the most big citified air of any in Mt. Pleasant. The glitter of glass and glint of china, sparkle and attract under the electric light, until one is fully persuaded that Mt. Pleasant, after all, is only a lesser Chicago.

The next attractive grocery is Brenholts, who is steadily crowding his way to the front for recognition among the dealers in his line, a reliable and accommodating, and the handler of the finest staple and fancy groceries.

Next is Virden’s, always keeping the best stock of groceries and keeping the steady even tenor of the way which leads to success. Marks, the oculist, has rooms above, where aid to sight is given, and specs furnished on short notice.

Hinebaugh & Brown, next door, handle all kinds of meat and fowls, and have the knack of securing young animals with juicy steaks.

Fernall & Co., although a recent firm for hardware in this city, have already proven to the community that lively new people will transfer more goods to customers than some old houses which think their places established, and do not need to be talked about.

Lee, the hatter, is lively and makes gent’s furnishing goods hum.

Hackney & Speer are maintaining the extensive trade established by P.T. Twinting, their predecessor.

The Racket next door makes such a clatter with its rash of customers, that we should know where we are at, without looking.

John Henne runs a restaurant in this room near by. He is an old resident and has been well known for a great many years to this community.

Budde & Co. here, at the Union Bakery, is as fixed a feature in Mt. Pleasant as is the nose on a man’s face. Three stories, including refreshment parlors on the second floor, are devoted to their mammoth stock of toys and variety supplies in connection with the bakery and confections.

Gus Grau next door, manufactures high grade cigars, while Cobb & Williams in the room next make a man’s hair to shine and his face to glow with the skillful scrape of razor and clip of shears.

Charley Waibel here manufactures cigars for the wholesale and retail trade, and handles all supplies, all the way from a clay cob to a meerschaum pipe.

This is Jericho’s corner drug store. Satterthwait held the fort here for many a year. But Jericho was so familiar a figure that it seemed most natural when the one went out and the other remained.

This is Brazelton block, the oldest and largest hotel in the city, and under the management of Ed Stall, it is increasing its patronage and growing in favor with the traveling public.

Harry Harrison, around the corner east, keeps tender steak, juicy pork and mince meat that is a thanksgiving reminder every time it is tasted.

This is Dr. Geeseka’s office on the ground floor, handsomely furnished and of easy access to invalids. T.L. Roberts, at Hollowell’s old stand keeps an excellent line of unassorted new and second-hand goods, and does a lively, paying business.

Above is the Review Office. Not the Review of Reviews, but of the Mt. Pleasant Review, which always has a Leake in the management.

This church edifice is the First Methodist, the religious home of the largest membership of any denominational church in the city. Dr Stoddard, is shepherd of the flock, who is doing all in his power to increase its interest and usefulness in the community.

Across the street east is the triple alliance, or triplet of workers in similar lines of labor in close juxtaposition. W.M. Pixley handles buggies and farm implements, conducts a carriage repair shop, while next door S.S. Case makes the anvil ring at the crack of the hammer, and almost under the same roof Hermon Zuhn plies his trade with iron and anvil also, to the satisfaction of his patrons and profit to himself.

Across the way here is Miss Chalfant, the well-known and successful teacher of the piano, whose pupils are numerous and always enthusiastic in her praise.

That is Dr. A.W. McClure’s office, near that fine residence, which is his home,

On this south side of East Monroe Street, Tom Smith, the horseshoer, has his shop. He is a good workman, has a good trade with the horsemen of the city and count, and has a well-earned reputation as a workman in his trade.

This little building, looking so independent and snug, is the paint shop of F.K. & W.H. Leedham, whose work will bear comparison with the same kind in any city on earth, large or small. They are A No. 1 workmen.

(“The Free Press”, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Thursday, December 27, 1894, page 1)

Resource provided by Henry County Heritage Trust, Mount Pleasant, Iowa; transcription done by Rebekah Stone, University of Northern Iowa Public History Field Experience Class, Spring 2024.

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