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 Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 18, 2016, Page 4

By Mike Avitt

This week's picture was taken by me and shows a building that has housed many businesses. But before we get to that, let's look at a brief history of the Ringgold County Neighborhood Center.

In June of 1967, a one-year lease was signed to house the Neighborhood Center in the Lena Johnston building at 117 North Taylor. Don Friday had previously occupied this building with his repair shop. Open House was held December 16, 1967 with Richard Grose as the director. About 1980 the Neighborhood Center moved to 122 South Taylor and then to its present location. The center only had half of the building at first as a liquor store was located in the corner room.

The first building on this lot burned January 2, 1897. It was a farm implement store owned by E. W. Critchfield. Later that year, Thomas Campbell and T. J. Ireland bought the lot and built another implement house by 1898. I lose track of the building until 1920.

In September 1920, C. A. Funkhouser and W. H. Glendenning opened an auto garage one block north of the northeast corner of the square. There was also an auto garage across the street south so I might be wrong about what building they were in. The building was known as the J. A. Williams building at this time. Soon after opening, Sidney Guess bought an interest in the firm.

In 1927, Cecil Funkhouser rented the building to Everett Smith for use as an auto garage. Then, in March of 1936, Smoth, Crouse, and Myron Horn opened a Dodge and Plymouth dealership in the Funkhouser building.

In 1953, Myron Horn sold the Horn Motor Co. to Raymond Barker, Harold Webb, and John Freeland. This trio sold the agency to Don and Charles Harvey in less than a month. At the same time, Charles Pritchard leased the body shop to the east of the auto garage.

A fire on October 27, 1957 caused so much damage to the second story it was necessary to remove the top floor. In the spring of the next year, a D-X Service Station was added to the business.

Harvey Bros. moved to 204 South Taylor on May 25, 1972. Many of us know what the building became next because we were in it. In the fall of 1972 the Mount Ayr High School Art Department occupied the building at 200 N. Taylor. And would for several years. By now the body shop was gone so we had run of the entire building. I assume the art department vacated in 1981 when the new high school opened.

Doc's Place, a liquor store, had its grand opening here July 4, 1987. Bib Combs later bought this business and his sign, "Bib's Place," was still sitting atop the building when I shot this photo in 2009.

Then there was the Decor Shoppe of Jane Thomas. She had the grand opening of her paint and wallpaper store at 200 N. Taylor on August 26 and 27, 1977. She had previously been located at 109 E. Madison.

Blake Schnormeier is the current director of the Neighborhood Center and Blake is also an artist. He has taken a keen interest in the Orr Fisher history and has even accumulated some of Mr. Fisher's works.

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


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