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 Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 31, 2016, Page 4

By Mike Avitt

This week's photograph was already at the Mount Ayr Depot Museum when I joined fifteen years ago. This beautiful home belonged to Henry Havelock Wilson and is located at 103 Shellway Drive. I can see a portion of the house at 107 Shellway Drive so we know this house was built before or at the same time as our featured house.

It all started in January 1913 when Frank Sheldon, a prominent, wealthy banker and real estate agent, bought the old Chautauqua grounds in an area known as White's Grove. By April 1913, the excavation work on Frank's house at 102 Shellway Drive had been completed by Turpin Bros. C. R. Rusk would be the lead carpenter.

In May 1013, Mr. Sheldon had divided his property into lots and had sold land to investors such as J. O. Fry, Bert Teale, Howard Tedford, and Dr. D. R. Dudley. Carpenters began work on the Sheldon house in Mary and the Sheldons moved in toward the end of October 1913.

The Mount Ayr Record-News of February 19, 1915 tells us Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Wilson would soon be moving into their new home at 103 Shellway Drive. We can see in this week's picture the landscaping and cement sidewalks are complete so I believe this photo was taken in early spring 1915. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Routh are the current owners.

I believe the house at 201 Shellway Drive, currently the Jeff and Kim Lutrick house, was build in 1016. The newspaper reports in May 1916 that Mr. and Mrs. Howard Tedford had settled on a design for their new home.

Dunning Avenue, a block west of Shellway Drive, seems to have been developed about 1920. This development was known as the Highland Addition and the Mount Ayr Tourist Park would be build nearby in the mid-20s.

Transcriber's Note: Mount Ayr Tourist Park was built in 1922 per Ringgold County Iowa History, Iowa Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration, 1942.

I've discovered during my research over years, the Sheldon Heights area had long been a sports and recreation grounds. Chautauqua was held here and Mount Ayr High School played its football games here until 1922.

There was a baseball park at Sheldon Heights in 1914 and lawn tennis courts were here in the 1920s. The August 10, 1921 Record-News says the Mount Ayr Gun Club was building the second tennis court at Sheldon Heights. The Mount Ayr Gun Club was a forerunner to the Ringgold County Sportsman Club. The lawn tennis courts were still there in 1930 as there was a tournament underway that summer.

The old Ringgold County Hospital was build in Sheldon Heights in 1949-51 (an addition was build in 1970-1971) and was abandoned in December 2009 when the new hospital was opened. A demolition crew has begun dismantling the old hospital so if you want to get one last look, you had better do it soon. Or you can count on me to take pictures, which I have.

Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2016

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