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 Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 31, 2015, Page 4

By Mike Avitt

I took this picture about five years ago. It shows the Hayes building (112 E. Madison) before it was painted.

A couple of years ago, Phil Burmeister asked me if I knew the origin of the building at 108 E. Madison. He and Linda Hartman have a furniture restoration ship in the old building and I recently came across its beginnining. I don't have any old photos of this block.

The two builings at 108 and 110 East Madison were build in 1013 by two widows. Martha Timby, the widow of the late Willim Timby, built the business building at 108 E. Madison and Martha Merrill, widow of the late Dr. John T. Merrill, built the one at 110 E. Madison. I have most of the occupants of both buildings and I'll start with the Merrill building.

The first occupant was J. B. Currie with his jewelry and watch-repairing business. He stayed unil 1917. He then moved to the east side of the square. Maupin Style Shop was the next resident at 110 E. Madison but this lasted only three years. Mr. M. H. Merrill passed away and the building was sold by the estate to insurance man R. C. Smith in 1920. Mr. Smith would conduct business here until 1942 when he fell ill and passed away. Frank Clarke helped Mrs. Smith finalize her departed husband's business and then he occupied the building with his insurance business until the 1970's. Joe Jackson had his insurance business here for around twenty years after that.

The building at 108 E. Madison had many more occupants. The first was (Fannie) Nichol Book Store. Book stores in those days sold everything paper - wallpaper, envelopes, tablets, scrapbooks, etc. She had previously been on the south side of the square. In 1922, Mr. C. E. Thompson bought the book store from Miss Nichol and changed the name to Mount Ayr Book Store. C. E. Thompson moved the book store to the east side of the square in 1923.

The next occupant I have is a general store conducted by N. F. Costin and W. A. Dow in 1925, the firm's name beig Costin & Dow. I believe this was a short-lived venture and I can't be certain of the next occupant until 1947.

In 1947, George Mosbarger spent a year remodeling the building at 108 E. Madison for the purpose of conducting a dairy business. He opened in 1948 and called his business Ringgold Diary Products. Before the year was out he had sold the dairy business to L. L. Larsen and Paul Johnson. Mr. Johnson bought out his partner, Mr. Larsen, in 1956. Mr. Johnson then sold the business to Joe Thompson in 1959.

By the early 1960's, Lange's Dairy was associated with this business that now included Jack Moore and Max Smith. Mr. Thompson ran an ad in 1962 saying tht milk was no longer being processed at his store and in 1963 Joe announced he was leaving the business. I don't know how many more years Lange's Dairy occupied the building.

In 1973, David Weaver bought the building from Susan Timby Young. Mrs. Young was Martha Timby's daughter and this property must have been under Timby ownership since 1912 or before. Mr. Weaver and his son opened a heating and refrigeration business here in 1973. I don't think it lasted long.

The last thing I know about this building occurred in 1977. A kindly gentleman named Dr. Paul Hart relocated to Mount Ayr for the purpose of starting a medical practice. My friend Paul told me he had leased the building at 108 E. Madison and would soon remodel the place for his new office. Dr. Hart invited me to make myself at home in his would-be office and so I did. Local law enforcement officials, however, suggested I reconsider Dr. Hart's proposal and threw me out. My friend Paul left town soon afterwards.

But I know this ... the building was (mostly) empty in the summer of 1977. I have information about most of Mount Ayr's business buildings, so just ask.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News and Mike Avitt
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2016


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