By Mike Avitt
This week's photo came the hard way. In 1975, Randy Nurnberg and I shot several reels of Super 8mm film but only two survive today. The reel I have was put on
VHS tape around 2002. In 2009, I played the tape on my TV and froze the video on this frame. I then took a photograph of the TV screen with my digital camera and that's how I got this low-quality
I finally have enough information about the Q Club to write a partial history, but I'll tell you about two other pool halls that preceded it first.
An advertisement in the July 7, 1930
Mount Ayr Record-News announces the opening of the Mount Ayr Recreation Club at 107 S. Fillmore, where Hospice is today. A year later, G. E. Tapscott was granted a permit to conduct a
private billiard palor in the same location. But that's all I have on that pool hall.
I believe Sam Holland's Mount Ayr Billiard Parlor was the next pool hall and it was located at 116 S. Taylor, where
Sweet Escapes is today. I don't know when this pool hall started, but in late April 1949 Mr. Holland sold his business to Elmer "Yum" Motsinger. Rick Wiley gave me a 5 cent token he bought on
Ebay that says, "GOOD FOR 5 CENTS IN TRADE" on one side and "HOLLAND BILLIARDS - MOUNT AYR IOWA" on the other side. I don't know when this establishment closed but I know
Underwood Auto Supply was at
this location by 1965.
The Q Club got its start in December 1948 when Leo Hacker and O. B. "Jack" Hutchinson closed the Mount Ayr Cafe for remodeling at 122 S. Taylor. The business reopened
at the end of the month as the Q Club. An advertisment in the December 24, 1948 Mount Ayr Record-News says the new pool hall has five snooker tables, two 8-ball tables and a shuffleboard.
At some point, the Q Club was sold to Kenneth Marley and he sold the poll hall to Truman Dulany in February of 1963. Truman sold the Q Club to Carroll "Lefty" Geist around the last of March 1966.
"Lefty" was the last owner with the closing out sale being held June 22, 1975.
I have very clear memories of the Q Club as I spent more hours there than I did at school. My teachers will back me
up on that! The pool hall still had five snooker tables but no 8-ball tables of shuffleboard in the early 70s. There were two pinball machines that got a great deal of play, especially on Saturday night.
Whoever reached the highest score for the week, got a prize of one dollar on Monday morning.
Soda pop and candy were sold there but not alcohol or tobacco. HermanTipton and Truman
Dulany worked during the week and Crae Geist was our host on Saturdays.
I saw my first one hundred dollar bill at the pool hall. I believe it was in the possession of Steve Calhoun. I also
saw my first video game there and it was
called "Pong." Later, the video game, "centipede," made its appearance at the Q Club.
There were no restroom facilities for the ladies and there barely was for the gents. One urinal in the corner
was protected by a partition with no door. That was it, folks.
Several hand-made signs adorned the smoke-encrusted walls. One said, "No Cussing," but that didn't stop one young man from
inventing a multitude of swear words that he still uses today. Another said, "Behave or Be Gone," but I chose to stay anyway.
There were a few fights. I saw a 127 pound wrestler whip a guy
three times his size. And I broke my pool cue, which I got for my birthday, fighting with my cousin Robin McFall. Most fights took place outside.
Lots of old men just hung out in the pool hall.
They would sit for hours and just watch games being played. There was no telephone or television.
Jim Pottorff and Mack Sickels were two of the best snooker players I remember. I know others
would argue with me but that's another thing we did at the pool hall - argued. And gambled, despite what the sign said.
This was back in a time when shirt and shoes were not required and I
sometimes stepped on live cigarette butts (sometimes my own!) with my bare feet. Somehow, cigarette butts ended up on the floor instead of the ashtray.
I'm sure to get a lot [of] comments
on this article and maybe I'll share them with you sometime.
Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2016