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BY MIKE AVITT
This week’s picture should look familiar. It was painted onto the Peggy Whitson rock on the southwest corner of the Mount Ayr square by Bubba Sorensen. Ken Robertson emailed me some time ago asking for a picture of Beaconsfield for Bubba to use on the rock. I sent this photo and forgot about it until the unveiling April 6th. The rock is beautifully done and is a majestic tribute to Astronaut Peggy Whitson and her hometown of Beaconsfield.
Bubba Sorensen is famous in Iowa for his Freedom Rocks which most Iowa counties already have. The Ringgold County Freedom Rock is on display in Diagonal. Bubba also painted the mural on the first floor of the Ringgold County Courthouse.
This week’s photo shows the building which housed the first grocery store jointly owned by David Vredenburg and Charles Hyde, the co-founders of Hy-Vee. This store opened in 1929 but probably didn’t last long as The Great Depression began in October 1929. But, of course, we know the result of that first effort 90 years ago.
If you’ve been to Jamie’s Coffee Mill recently, you may have noticed a wooden sign there she purchased at an auction. It says, “Mt. Ayr Hotel & Annex – Air Conditioned, Showers, Public Pay Phone, – Located Uptown.”
I’ve always thought the “Annex” was the apartments, next to the alley, on the north side of the Mount Ayr Hotel. I remember these apartments as I roamed a few alleys in the early 1970s. If you stepped out the door of the apartment, you were standing in the alley. An advertisement in the January 5, 1961 Mount Ayr Record-News announces Theanna Black’s beauty shop was now open in Annex #1.
The interesting part of the sign to me is the “Located Uptown” part. This suggest the sign did not hang at the hotel but rather another location. The railroad station maybe. The sign is in good shape, telling me it was posted indoors.
I was taking photos at the new Casey’s General Store a few days ago. The sign is up now and it is taking shape quickly.
I’ve been busy helping to plan the Mount Ayr High School Alumni Reunion set for May 25. We’ve secured Jodie Geist as our speaker, and we’ll have other interesting items as well. I hope you plan to support your high school alumni reunion this spring.