The Republican Centennial Edition, Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa
Thursday, July 12, 1956, Section Three, Page 43

Transcribed by Lynn McCleary, July 4, 2019


    The Buick and Pontiac cars and the International trucks that are sold in this vicinity are due to the efforts of “Congenial Jimmy” Johnson who has their agency in the garage he operated in Wapello.

    The business was started back in 1908, by Jimmy’s father, Mr. C. W. Johann, who was one of the first car dealers in the entire United States. He opened the garage and salesroom until 1934 and had the agency for Cadillac, White, Buick, Reo, International Brisco, Maxwell, Chevrolet, Ford, Paige and Overland cars and trucks.

    The first carload of cars that ever came into Wapello were ordered by C.W. Johann. It was a load of single cylinder Cadillac touring cars. There were six cars in the load. The price of each as $1,049.00; time haven’t changed much at that, because that price was without head-lights or top—those were considered accessories and cost extra.

    When Dr. J. H. Chittum saw this load of beautiful new Cadillac’s, it was love at first sight and he purchased the very first one in this area.

    The sales room was originally a livery stable; the tire sales room has quite a history to it. That building was the first fine school building in Wapello and was located near the hotel. Johann Sr., attended school there with some of these other men who attained fame in later life such as Judge Hale, Ed Hicklin, Aner Nearhood ad Oscar (Prunes) Bird.

    When the school building was no longer in use, C. W. Johann purchased it and moved the entire structure to its present location next to the garage on Van Buren street.

    James J. Johann purchased business from his late father in 1934 and he really sells the cars, but his bigger interest is still in horses. He always has at least one fine horse in his stable. But Jimmy says that he thinks the automobile is here to stay.

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