One More On the Way: Niland Cafe

I’ve posted about the famous Lincoln Highway (now roughly followed by US 30) before, but it wasn’t more than a few years ago that I learned there was a Jefferson Highway (now roughly followed by US 69) too that went north-south. (The Lincoln Highway goes east-west.) The Jefferson Highway had the advantage of a neat nickname. It was known as Pine to Palm. Where these two once mighty roads cross is the little town of Colo, Iowa.

colo-hamburger

Bypassed For Bigger Roads

Much like Route 66, in the dilemma depicted in Cars, towns that once made their living off travelers stopping found themselves drying up as they were bypassed and larger and newer restaurants, gas stations, etc were built to cater to the interstate traveler. These Lincoln Highway gas stations establishments were actually small garages – where they could fix cars as well as pump gas – despite being a lot smaller than those we know today.  They had a porch extending out from the building and usually featured those globe top gas pumps that are prized by collectors today. (Those globes lit up and helped guide motorists in at night before the days when it was always as light as daylight by a gas station.) One famous manufacturer of the pumps was the Tolkheim company that designed all sorts of pumps for various purposes right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – visit a display on them at Ushers Ferry Historic Village.

The Mom and Pop Cafe

lincoln-and-jeffersonNearby was often a mom and pop style cafe and sometimes the type of motel that was small individual cabins. You will sometimes see these buildings still there or preserved as museums or rotting by the side of the road. It’s much rarer to find one up and working. There is the Youngsville Cafe near the turn off 30 to Vinton, Iowa, but this is the only example I know of where you can actually eat in the real cafe (now themed with Lincoln and Jefferson Highway artifacts) AND stay in the real hotel. The gas station is just a regular type museum that displays artifacts from the two roads that you can view from the outside.

The pole above is inside the restaurant. It dates to a time before roadsigns when highways were designated by painting on telegraph, telephone, or electrical poles whichever were close to the road. The L is the symbol for the Lincoln Highway and the JH symbol is for the Jefferson Highway.

Cabin Type Motel to Stay In

This motel isn’t QUITE that old. This version of the motel was built in the 1940s as one of the first “modern” motels in Iowa which basically meant the cabins were smashed together in a row sharing interior walls. Six units were restored to resemble the 1940s period in 2008, except with updates like bathrooms, wireless access, cable and self-controlled heating and cooling.

Reed/Niland Cafe

Named for two sets of owners, Reed/Niland Corner was originally started in the 1920s. In 2003 it was restored to the 1940s and serves a roughly 1940s style menu. They advertise “hot beef sandwiches, ham and bean soup with corn muffin and homemade pies.” Plus milkshakes from a real milkshake machine.

http://www.reednilandcorner.org

I’ve stopped there twice and eaten there once. It’s worth a stop, especially if you’re tracing one of the routes or if you’re passing nearby on the modern Highway 30.

If you’ve read  A Little House Traveler, these are the types of places where Laura and Almanzo would have stopped on their journeys, so try it for yourself.

**I will note that service was not great at the cafe when we were there. They were understaffed. I understand that, but we were not offered any of the apologies that servers normally give to customers in that situation (we were there before a large group came in and only got a chance to order well after them). In fact, we were pretty much ignored for long stretches of time. I had to get up and walk over to the waitress for her to take our order. After we finished we had to wait a long time for the check even after hunting down the waitress again to ask for it until finally we gave up and asked at the cash register to get our bill. I have not had anyone else I’ve talked to about the cafe who had had this kind of experience, so we probably just caught them on a bad day, but I thought it was fair to say.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Mary Kopsieker RIP

Mary Making a Corncob Doll
Mary Making a Corncob Doll

I’m sorry to announce belatedly that Mary Kopsieker has passed on. We normally got in contact when there was a Laura event. I was a little surprised she didn’t contact me or show up for Bill Anderson’s talk at Hoover this last Labor Day or respond to my e-mail about it, but I was busy around then so I didn’t think too much about it. I just sent postcard Christmas cards in 2015 because we were busy with our Disney trip so I also didn’t really think it was that important that I didn’t get a Christmas card back which I normally did and postcards aren’t returned if the address is wrong. So I was kind of shocked when I got my Christmas card returned this year and when I searched for her online I found her obituary and discovered that she had passed away August 4, 2015.

http://ottumwaradio.com/mary-kopsieker/

Continued Laura Connection

Mary had been an early visitor to the homesites, going with a friend, and had lots of stories to tell of those early days. One great story was that she had gone to DeSmet for one of the anniversaries and told about taking a tour of the town riding via a hay ride (square bales on a hay wagon). After that friend passed on she didn’t really feel comfortable traveling all that way by car alone so she didn’t go for some time.

She did come with me to the original De Smet event in 2005 and went on the 2007 tour Burr Oak organized to Malone. You might have met her there. She co-presented with me at the Laura themed Hawkeye Doll Club workshop in 2008. My post about that continues to be one of most visited blog posts.  She’s also the one that visited the What Cheer Opera House with me when we were planning the doll club workshop. She attended pretty much every Laura event within a reasonable drive and still presented on Laura at her local school and libraries.

Mary by Memorial
Mary by Memorial

Still Active

She was an avid flutist and continued to travel to the national flute convention each year (by plane which she felt much more comfortable traveling on her own). Since she was still traveling extensively and very active it was quite a shock to find that she had suddenly passed away.

mary-in-pink

Terrible Reminder

This is also a reminder for all Laura collectors that you need to make arrangements for your collection officially in your will or go ahead and pass it along as you get older. Her Laura collection didn’t go where she had always said she was going to leave it and my guess is – since her family didn’t care anything about Laura – that it got pitched or was included in her estate auction which probably also lead to most of it being pitched. So don’t let all the work you put in gathering your Laura collection go to waste. Tell your family where you want it to go with contact information and spell it out in your will – I have.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

ISBSSS Marks Cemetery Dedication

marker2

As part of its ongoing efforts to preserve, honor, and share the history of the Iowa School for the Blind and Sight Saving School, the Mary Ingalls Society has identified a section of the local cemetery where students from the school were buried. They have determined the names of these students. As we previously reported, they raised funds for a marker. They successfully raised the amount and now the marker is in place. marker1

You’re Invited To Vinton

The Mary Ingalls Society cordially invites you to a memorial dedication of 11 former students of The Iowa College for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa.  A short committal service will take place on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, 1002 E 10th Street, Lot 31, Vinton.  These graves had remained unmarked until recent research led to the identity of the students buried there.  Thanks to the generosity of many donors, a granite monument and headstones will now mark their place of rest.  Local historian Rich Farmer will lead a cemetery tour following the service.  We would like to include the families of these students from Eastern Iowa listed below, but we need your help locating them:

Sarah A. Cook (Delaware Co.) 1864 (died)

Louisa F. Lunberg (Clinton Co.) 1869

Jesse Palmer Hampton (Linn Co.) 1875

James L. Mitchell (Benton Co.) 1876

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Adair (Jackson Co.) 1879

Mary Retta Rath (Linn Co.) 1880

George Washington Hopkins (Mahaska Co.) 1892

Buena Vista Culp (Washington Co.) 1892

Leo Vogt (Mason City) 1905

Mabel Lilie Carter 1915

Meta Christine White 1918

marker3
If you have any information or questions, please contact Pat Barr at Iowa Braille 319-472-5221 x1110 or email pbarr@iowa-braille.k12.ia.us.

4H History in Newport Township in Johnson County Iowa

4-H History in Newport Township in Johnson County, Iowa

4H Poster from Clover Girls in late 1980s
4H Poster from Clover Girls in late 1980s

Today there is only co-ed 4-H, but it used to be there were separate clubs for boy clubs and girl clubs. They focused on different things. The girls focused on things like sewing and cooking. The boys focused on things like showing livestock. If a girl wanted to participate with livestock she had to belong to both clubs and do double the requirements for belonging to 4-H.

Newport Township has had two girls 4-H clubs during the 44 years. There was an intervening time from 1940 to 1956 that the girls in the township belonged to the Graham Crackers and to the East Lucas Township girls clubs.

The first club was called The Wide Awake Club.

Year Leader Leader Number of Members
1929 Mrs. Roy Sponey 20
1930 Mrs. Roy Sponey Mrs. Faye Sponey 15
1931 Mrs. Faye Sponey Mrs. Edna Hotka No report
1932 Mrs. Edna Kadera No report
1933 No record
1934 Mrs. Faye Sponey Eleanor Shimon No report
1935 Mrs. Jake Lackender Mrs. George Krall 7
1936 Mrs. Jake Lackender Mrs. George Krall 7
1937 Mrs. Jake Lackender Mrs. George Krall 7
1938 Mrs. Jake Lackender Mrs. George Krall 6
1939 Mrs. Jake Lackender Mrs. George Krall 6

 

In 1956, a new girls club was formed. This club was called The Clover Girls.

Year Leader Leader Number of Members
1956 Mrs. Ray Gorski Mrs. Elmer Wonick 9
1957 Mrs. Ray Gorski Mrs. Elmer Wonick 13
1958 Mrs. Elmer Wonick Mrs. Steve Conner 15
1959 Mrs. Elmer Wonick Mrs. Steve Conner 17
1960 Mrs. Elmer Wonick Mrs. Steve Conner No report

The Newport Hillbillies 4-H club was organized in 1956 for Newport Township club members. Previous year’s 4-H members in Newport Township had belonged to Victory, Graham, Big Grove Buddies, and Scott Showstoppers 4-H clubs.

Year Leader Leader Number of Members
1956 Joseph Krall Aage Jenson 7
1957 Joseph Krall Aage Jenson 18
1958 Joseph Krall Aage Jenson 16

The name of this township club was changed in 1959 to Newport Rangers.

1959 Joseph Krall James Smith 10

This is a typed transcript of a handwritten report written by then Clover Buds (the coed club that developed out of the Clover Girls) leader Orianna Haman in 1973. I’m not sure why she didn’t include information past 1960.

-Typed and explanatory information at the beginning and the end of report by Sarah S. Uthoff and that’s my poster in the image. – February 16, 2016

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

30 Top Posts of 2015

Porch at ISBSSSEach month I’ve started to share the top 10 blog posts that have had the most views in the previous month.  Since it’s the end of the year here are the top 30 posts with the most views during all of 2015. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you too. 🙂

James Wilder’s First Wife
Iowa City Park Zoo
Guiding Light – Cancellation and Michelle and Danny
Laura Ingalls Wilder Birthday 2015
Laura Ingalls Wilder Events Around the Country 2015
What comes next?
Playing Pa’s Fiddle
Missouri State and Laura Ingalls Wilder and the MOOC
Laura Ingalls Wilder FAQs Again
Missing Murals of Iowa City
Videos from the Walnut Grove Museum
Iowa Newspaper Preservation 2014
Interview with Dean Butler
Pa’s Beard
That Time the Government Built a UFO May the 4th
Wilson Rawls
Laura Ingalls Wilder FAQs Again
Manchester Tornado Anniversary
Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2015
Book: Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Red Chief Tablets
Looking Back at Laura Ingalls Wilder Fandom 2015
Oldest Known Rag Doll
Brian Allen Reports on Pioneer Girl
Laura Ingalls Wilder Events Around the Country
2015 Spring Valley MN Laura Ingalls Wilder Events
Peppy – the Lake Pepin Monster
Mary Swanzey Harris Gift to Mansfield
Book: T Model Tommy
In the Kitchen With Laura Project February 2014

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

Underground Railroad Summit

Passing along word about an Iowa history event. Iowa has a proud tradition about the Underground Railroad. Learn more about it here at Trundlebed Tales:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/iowa-and-the-ugrr
And then learn even more at the summit. -SSU

Attend Underground Railroad workshop at Preserve Iowa Summit 

Winterset – June 27 
Discover the history of the Underground Railroad in Iowa and explore the Hitchcock House in Lewis during the third annual Preserve Iowa Summit in Winterset June 25-27.The UGRR workshop will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, June 27, and is part of the summit registration package. Individuals may also register for the workshop separately. The keynote speaker is Matthew Pinsker, the Pohanka Chair of  Civil War History at Dickinson College, who will also lead a presentation about online teaching and research resources. A second presentation will focus specifically on the history of the UGRR in Madison County.The “2015 Preserve Iowa Summit: The Power of Presentation” is the premier statewide annual conference for historic preservation in Iowa and is coordinated by DCA’s State Historic Preservation Office and the Madison County Historic Preservation Commission. Register on-line for the entire summit or the UGRR workshop through June 19.

In the Kitchen With Laura Wringer Washer

In the Kitchen With Laura, both the program and the blog post series, continue to be very popular. I really enjoy them too, so watch for more.

Throwback Photo - Washing Demonstration at Ushers Ferry Historic Village
Sarah and Derek Throwback Photo – Washing Demonstration at Ushers Ferry Historic Village

In today’s post we remember that has Laura said the kitchen is where the barnyard and house meet in pitched battle. In other words, there is generally a lot more going on in a kitchen than just preparing food. One of those things that was either done in the kitchen in bad weather or on a porch or other area just outside the kitchen in good weather is washing. I’m also helping people that Laura didn’t stop living just where she left her books. She kept learning new things and getting new products as they came out. The one on the back porch of Rocky Ridge is older than the model I’m demonstrating here; mostly like a separate small engine would have powered hers, but this will give you an idea how washing was done.

The video above demonstrates how to use a mid-20th century wringer washer with an internal motor. The demonstration includes:

  • how to load the machine
  • how to start the agitator
  • how to work the wringer
  • what to do if something pulls you into the wringer
  • how to drain the washer

Previous models like the one displayed on Laura’s back porch were worked either by hand action on a lever or by a small engine that was used to drive a flywheel.

So watch the video and get ready to wash the clothes In the Kitchen With Laura.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.