Early Bode Businesses
- Business Index
Early Hardware Store
On July 1, 1883, E. M. Huntington opened a hardware store, with a stock that invoiced $2,000, in the building adjoining Rossing. In connection with his general business in shelf and heavy hardware, was a tinsmith's shop. Mr. Huntington also handled the well known Chamberlain Plow, of Dubuque and other implements.
Opheim and Gangestad
L. K. Opheim and James Gangestad opened a general merchandise store in Bode on June 3, 1883. The construction began on the building in May, 1882 and finished in the fall. The structure was 30 x 34 feet, and was two stories in height. The upper story was designed to be living quarters. The cost for the building was $2,500.
Later, Mr. Opheim bought out Mr. Gangestad's share and John Pederson operated the store with Anna, and Laura Opheim as "helpers." The "helpers" were 8 and 10 years old at the time.
Farmer's Mutual Fire & Lightning Company
The Farmer's Mutual Fire & Lightning Company was incorporated on September
25, 1886. The first office was in Bode, and T. A. Rossing was the first
secretary and his brother-in-law Andrew Gullixson was the first president.
The first policy was issued to T. A. Rossing. He was also the first to
sustain the first loss. He was paid $15.00 for lightning damage to his
home and its contents.
At the end of four years of business, there were 150 policyholders. In
1891 agents were assigned to every township. In 1892 the name Farmer's
Mutual Fire & Lighting Company was changed to Humboldt Mutual Insurance
Association. In 1893 the directors moved their meeting place to Humboldt.
The first time the company was advertised was in 1901. The company
office was moved to a space in the Legion Building in 1932, but in a few years
the office was moved to the second floor of the First National Bank building.
In 1957 the office moved to 513 Sumner Ave.
Kinseth Brothers Store
The store building that T. A. Rossing built for himself was first sold to Mr. Hoff. Mr. Hoff then sold the building to Ole and Lewis Kinseth, in 1895. For sixty-nine years the building maintained the name Kinseth Brothers Store.
The Kinseth Brothers Store is a good example of a general store. A person could trade, eggs, cream, home rendered lard, fresh fruit, etc. for other needed merchandise. Crackers or peanuts were displayed in barrel, and dill pickles in brine was kept in wooden barrels. Bananas hung from a pulley from the ceiling. See-through covered boxes contained cookies. Herring was sold out of little wooden kegs. Just about anything a person needed could be purchased, bolts of yard goods, dishes, rugs, lamps, linoleum, or a broom. If a shopper had a good sized grocery order, a 5 or 10 cent sack of candy would be added as a thank you.
Before the turn of the century, Monson's grocery store opened for business on Main Street of Bode. The owners were Mons O. Monson, and Lars O. Lillegaard. Later, Mr. Monson took over the management. Mons son, Art, started working in the store as a young boy, and eventually took over the business after his father's death. Art and his brother, Ted, became partners in the store. This partnership continued for fifteen years, until Ted's death.
In 1961, Art's nephew, Lawrence, joined him in the business. A year later, Larry took over
the business when Art decided to retire because of ill health.
In 1966, Larry purchased the former Kinseth store building and the Monson Store moved to that location. The old store was donated to the city of Bode. The building was demolished and replaced with the Bode City Hall, Fire Department, and Community building.
N. A. Johnson
N. A. Johnson was born in Wisconsin, in 1850. His parents, Nels and Dorothea Johnson were natives of Norway and immigrated to America in 1846 and came to Bode in 1882. Mr. Johnson became a clerk in the Mr. Rossing's general merchandise store in Bode. He worked in this capacity for six years, and then formed a partnership with T. O. Hanson in a mercantile venture. This partnership lasted three years, then Johnson bought out Mr. Hanson's interest.
Mr. Johnson served at township clerk for four years, and was a member of the city council.
The ever enterprising, T. A. Rossing, started a creamery in 1892. He sold shares in the creamery for $25 a share. Farmer would deliver their milk to the creamery, by horse and wagon. The cream was separated from the milk by using a "separator." The cream was then processed into butter. The separator was nicknamed the "mortgage lifter" because it enabled the farmer to make more money with less effort.
The creamery was sold in 1920 and sold to Mr. Bowman of Algona. Mr. Bowman, and a crew of workers demolished the building, and salvaged the lumber and bricks. The land was then sold to T. O. Bakken.
Bode State Savings Bank
November 12, 1909—There was a robbery attempt at
the Bode State Bank. Robbers had evidently broken into the railroad
section house, taken heavy tools. They then entered the Nasby-Hauge
hardware store where 3 guns and a revolver were stolen. After being
frightened away from the bank (O. T. Gullixson and Professor Karl
Hanson had sleeping quarters over the bank) the robbers made their
escape from Bode on a section hand car, which was abandoned at the Y
near Livermore. The post office at Livermore was robbed the same
night of $18.oo, possibly the same gang.
Taken from Bode Bugle.
Interior which was once State Savings Bank, Mr. T. O. Hanson,
manager in the chair. Oscar Sorlien was cashier, Art Pederson
assistant cashier. Year 1920 the bank went broke. Calendar on the
wall states “Pay your taxes.”
The Bode School purchased the building later
after the bank was no longer doing business and after some years it
was arranged for sale. Floyd Torgerson became the owner when closed
bids were examined.
It would be interesting to know what happened to
all the bank’s furnishings. Floyd had his first barber bar on the
east wall, covered the vault door, late turned his barbering equipment
to the south wall and decided to enlarge the vault room by removing
every brick of the vault by hand power. This room became his repair
shop for TV and electrical appliances, first of its kind in Bode.
The north room heated by the long stove pipe, was
used for several occupations. Telephone switchboard, Grace Aure
operated a beauty shop; George Kolnes housed a harness shop. Also
city clerk’s office and Oscar Grefstad used it for his office to do
income tax work until ill health forced him to v
The second story served as living quarters, also
Dr. E. Vollum, M.D. Rooms also were heated by stoves; year’s later
hot water heat was installed.
The Old Bode House
Dating from the remote past is why it’s called
the “Old Bode House.” It once stood near where Donald Bakken lives,
501 2nd Street. In its day if it could have expressed
itself, it probably could have conveyed many series of events and
For many years Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Williams
made this home assessable as lodging quarters. According to Oscar and
Katie Williams, Theodore’s grandson and granddaughter, it was a
dwelling with a very large kitchen and about five more rooms on the
first floor and as many on the second floor. The kitchen served its
purpose because grandmother Williams served many a meal not only for
the family but also for the lodgers.
Although Bode had a hotel, the Old Bode House had
many a patron that came by train. Especially mentioned here were the
baseball players that came from distances to challenge the Sorlien
Brothers. Negro teams would often stay for meals and made this their
abode for an evening. A pump well obliged the patrons with fresh
water, no matter in what capacity it was used. The well was located
on the north of the house.
History of Bode’s Famous Hotel
Where in a small town can you boast of a hotel a
century old and still doing business? Well, Bode can.
Bode, with a population of 406, maintains a hotel
that was built in 1881, and has never been closed to the public.
The Hotel was built in 1881, once named Scandia and it is
located north of Main Street.
The hotel was close to the train depot and offered many travelers a comfortable
John Schager was the first proprietor of the Scandia Hotel. The hotel had
several owners after 1890. In 1908, Gust Lansing purchased it from Ethel
Blake and White. Percy and Edna Tjossom operated the hotel in the early
Abel Gooding rented a space for a barber shop, running a
millinery shop, about 1912. Della employed a "trimmer" Dott
Hutsinpillar from Osceola, Iowa. They created their own hats. Tillie
Chambers and Mrs. Bollin were others employed as trimmers.
Eatery's have included, to name a few, The Lion's Den, the Imperial Cafe, and
History of the U. S. Post Office
The first post office in Delana Township was
established at Lotts Creek on May 14, 1862, with T. J. Smith as
postmaster, and was discontinued on March 1, 1880. It was located in
Section 13, approximately four miles east of Bode.
The next post office to be established in Delana
Township was Nora, in section 19, west and south of Bode. Nora was
established on January 22, 1875, with O. H. Gullixson as postmaster,
and was discontinued on March 21, 1882.
The Bode Post Office was established on April 3,
1882, with T. A. Rossing as postmaster and was located in the Rossing
store. In the early 1900’s the post office was moved to the L. O.
Lillegaard building and remained there until August 1, 1954 when it
was moved across the street to 108 Humboldt Avenue. On February 1,
1960, it was moved to its present location in the C. T. Williams
building at 113 Humboldt Ave with new lock boxes, furnishings, and
The mail arrived by train each morning and
evening, from 1882 to September 30, 1954, when the Railway Post Office
was discontinued and mail came in by contract star route.
Austin Mitsven was the mail messenger who carried
the mail by cart from th train to the post office for many years. He
retired in 1948 and Jerome Vedvik hauled the mail from the train until
the train was discontinued in September of 1954.
Following are some interesting items from the
December 3, 1909—The pay of the rural mail
carriers will be raised to $100.00 per month next July. However, Carl
A. Underberg, who is the oldest carrier out of Bode, has had his fill
of the job and sent in his resignation.
December 7, 1909—The rural mail delivers will be
made on Christmas Day.
January 13, 1911—Our two mail carriers go over
300 miles every week. Talk about a sleigh ride!
May 19. 1911—Ed Kirkeberg has purchased a
motorcycle for his mail route.
October 13, 1913—George Granseth has purchase a
Ford to deliver his rural route and give his mules an occasional rest.
Postmasters serving the
Bode Post Office.
T. A. Rossing
L. O. Lillegaard
J. F. Temple
J. P. Jensen, 1936-1951
Rosalia Borman (acting) 1951-1953
Arlis L. Kinseth, 1953-1981
Rural Mail Carriers that served out of the Bode
post office: Carl A. Underberg, Hans Hoganson, Ed Kirkeberg, Hjalmer
Nordshaw, Alfred Granseth, George Granseth, Roy Knudtson, Julius
Opheim, Mr. Truman, G. Dietz, Eugene Lyons, Joe Sinnwell, Frederick
Fantz. In 1974, the rural route out of Bode was consolidated with the
rural routes out of Rutland and Livermore, Iowa. Emmett Bradley from
Rutland carries about 75% of the Bode route and Maurice Mc gee from
Livermore carried the rest. Mr. McGee retired in 198 and Dennis