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.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder 2016 Season Ends and Christmas Events

Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April
Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April

October usually is about the end of the main Laura Ingalls Wilder season for the year. If you plan a Laura trip during or after October, make sure you call ahead. They may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see. On the plus side you get autumn foliage and then snow photos. I called around to find out when the Laura museums were officially closing for the year. Find contact information for the homesites/museums here:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/laura-links/

As a heads up the weather this fall has been unusually mild across the Midwest as a whole, but one big snow storm has already cut across the upper Midwest reaching De Smet, Walnut Grove, and points east. The weather forecast is still calling for a cold and snowy winter once it does arrive so account for that possibility in your plans if you are planning a winter trip.

Pepin, WI – Closed for the season Oct. 26, 2016. They aren’t participating in the town’s Christmas event this year.

Independence, KS – They closed for the season in October.

Walnut Grove, MN – Museum grounds closed for the season November 1, 2016, but their Gift Shop/Visitor Center will remain open during November and December 23, 2016 from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday. After Christmas it will be open Monday –  Friday, same hours, until March 1, 2016. If you’re looking for winter homesite photos, they have snow already.

Burr Oak, IA – Closed mid-October 2016. Beginning in September they have reduced hours. In October they are open Thurs.-Sat. 10 am-4 pm and Sunday noon-4 pm. They will have their annual fundraising event Dec. 12th. If you’d like to attend contact the museum. Best bet is to e-mail them because they are not in the office every day.

De Smet, SD –
Memorial Society – open all year with slightly reduced hours during winter, MondayFriday 9 am -4 pm.  They suggest tour times at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. They will be closed from Dec. 24, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2017.
Hours Chart

Ingalls Homestead – Open depending on the weather through October and then closed at the end of October. Office remains open for making reservations, etc. Call and leave a message if they don’t pick up. Scheduled activities only take place through September 30th. People are welcome to walk around even after they are closed for the year. Look for maps in plastic holders beside visitor center/gift shop doors.

Mansfield, MO – Season ends November 15, 2016. Winter hours are November 16 – December 15 by appointment only (call ahead). Bookstore 10 am -2 pm.
Christmas at Laura’s
Chistmas Tradition here on Rocky Ridge Farm. Free admission to the historic home featuring vintage decorations. Tunes on Pa’s fiddle. Bring YOUR camera or cell phone for pictures with Santa by Laura’s fireplace. Normally photos aren’t allowed inside the house so this is a rare treat. Tastings from Laura’s own recipes. Laura’s Christmas is scheduled for December 3, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. Weather Permitting. (NOTE*) If the parade is canceled for bad weather Laura’s Christmas will be canceled as well. Come celebrate Christmas with us in a most special way!

Malone, NY – Closed October 2, 2016 Can arrange tours by appointment if volunteers available . Minimum admission is $25 for three or less. Four or more admitted at regular price. Arrange by e-mailing farm@almanzowilderfarm.com Re-opens for Christmas With Almanzo event (1 Day) December 3, 2016 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. “For this event admissions free. Come and enjoy readings from Farmer Boy Christmas chapter in the parlor of the house at 11:30 and 1:00. (Adults must accompany and remain with child.) Enjoy cookies, mulled cider, Christmas carols, and children’s activities. Come visit our gift store for last minute shopping with complimentary gift wrapping for purchased items. “Happy Christmas!””

Spring Valley, MN – They closed for the season at the end of October, but they reopen for Christmas teas. Teas will be held on Dec. 3-4, 2016 at 12:30 each day. Cost is $12 for the lunch. It is a full lunch set in a Victorian home that was built in 1888. Reservations required for the teas. Contact the museum at wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com

Keystone, SD – Closed September 15, 2016.

Vinton, IA – Pat Barr passed along this information: “Our hours are the same year round – 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Monday through Friday. A group larger than five should contact me – all others are welcome to drop in.  My phone number is:  319-472-5221, Extension 1110.  My e-mail is:  pbarr@iowa-braille.k12.ia.us ” The biennial membership meeting is December 1 at 7:00 p.m.

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.

October 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

October is a slower month, but there is still events going on.

Sarah on Ingalls Homestead
Sarah on Ingalls Homestead

Burr Oak IA

Find out more about their events.

Fall Fest and Used Book Sale October 10, 2016 – 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Vinton IA

Dedication of Cemetery Marker for Blind School Students – Sunday, October 16, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, 1002 E 10th Street, Lot 31, Vinton, Iowa.

Malone/Burke NY

Columbus Day weekend, October 8-10. Regular admissions for tours will be in effect. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Monday, and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Last tour begins promptly at 3 p.m. all days.
http://www.mymalonetelegram.com/mtg05/almanzo-wilder-homestead-extends-tour-season-20161001

The Henry Ford – Dearborn, Michigan

Just copying in because kind of complicated. Find the details at:
https://www.thehenryford.org/current-events/calendar/lauras-little-town-spring

  • October 1 – October 30, 2016 (Friday – Sunday)
  • Time: 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:455pm, & 2:45pm
  • Length: 15 minutes
  • Location: Near Scotch Settlement School, Main Street Historic District

Meet young Laura Ingalls before she became a teacher in this engaging 15-minute show celebrating Little Town on the Prairie, which has its 75th anniversary this year. Hear some of Laura’s favorite stories about her family’s time in DeSmet, South Dakota including the return of Nellie Oleson and the first time she met Almanzo Wilder.

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 onFacebookTwitterGoogle+ 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.

William Anderson Speaks At Hoover on Labor Day 2016

Bill Anderson
Bill Anderson

Laura Ingalls Wilder researcher extraordinaire, William T. Anderson recently brought out a collection of Laura’s letters called The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The book is currently available both as a paper book and as an audio book. Be sure to get it through the homesite giftshops to help support them.

He was interviewed on Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa by Charity Nebbe. Listen to the podcast here:

http://iowapublicradio.org/post/selected-letters-laura-ingalls-wilder#stream/0

On the podcast Bill is joined by Dwight Miller, the senior archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum when they collected the Laura Ingalls Wilder/ Rose Wilder Lane papers. Dwight gives a short version of how the papers came to the Library.

Bill will be speaking at the Library on Labor Day, September 5th with programs at 11am and 2pm.

In order to attend the program you need to pay admission to the museum. You can purchase tickets online,http://estore.archives.gov/Hoover/ProductInfo/H05SE1.aspx, or buy them at the sales desk the day of the talk. See the link for full information about admission (costs, levels, etc.). If you want to attend both shows you need to buy each show separately.

I’ll be there, will you?

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 onFacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

June 2016 Presentations

BlogSepia

Just one program this month so far, but I hope you can come out to it.

  • Historic Cooking Demonstration – Ushers Ferry Historic Village – Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Wednesday, June 29, 2016 6:30pm – 8:30pm

That’s it for this month so far, but it’s not too late. If you’d like me to come present near you make sure to tell your local library, museum or civic group.   Learn more here:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/booking-a-program
Find descriptions of the various programs available:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/program-descriptions

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.

Report on New Project from Mary Ingalls Society

Bell Tower
Bell Tower

If you haven’t heard about it before the ISBSSS Mary Ingalls Society was founded to preserve and promote the history of the Iowa School for the Blind and its most famous alumnus Mary Ingalls (the sister of author Laura Ingalls Wilder). They maintain a museum on the site, offer tours, and put on a pageant each summer. Today they report on a new project. – SSU

IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society Reaches Their Goal

$6000.00 Fundraising Goal for the Lot 31 Project Met

In the 1800s a burial lot was purchased for the Iowa College for the Blind at the Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton, Iowa. Students were buried there through the end of that century, however no marker was ever erected on the site designating it was for students from the school or who they were. Six student names have been identified as being buried in the lot. Two additional students, who died in the early 1900s, have also been identified as being buried across the drive from the school lot. They also have no markers.

The Lot 31 Project was initiated in August 2015 by the Mary Ingalls Society to raise funds to purchase a headstone, have it engraved and installed on the lot plus two head markers for the students buried across the drive. The response of the community and friends of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School has been amazing.  As of 12/18/15 we reached the goal of $6,000.00, and work has begun to order the marker. Keep watching for updates on progress and a dedication date.