Early Bode Businesses

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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. 


Monson's Grocery

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 Creamery

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 facts.

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 respite.

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 1950's.  

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 Big John's.



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 equipment.

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 Bode Bugle:

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

Adelaide Johnson

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 Behounek from