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BY MIKE AVITT
In the early days of Mount Ayr, the town had multiple monument companies. One was operated by Ralph H. Stone who had several brief partners and was located on many sites until 1908. In that year he purchased the old Williams Hotel, dismantled the hotel, and built his new workshop on the lot. The business was called Mount Ayr Marble & Granite Works. The building was located behind the former Farm & Home store, next to the alley. Many of you will remember the building.
Lew Johnston and T. J. Mahan formed a partnership in the monument business in 1910. It appears the other monument company, Kelsey & Nicholas, bought the Mount Ayr Marble & Granite Works from the Stone estate when R. H. Stone died in January 1914.
In September 1917, Johnston & Mahan moved their firm just north of the Rose Hill Cemetery. The business was now called Rose Hill Monument Company. Mahan bought out his partner, L. A. Johnston, in February 1919.
In April 1921, James Mahan joined his father in the company. Rose Hill Monument Co. built a new office south of the workshop in 1928. In June 1937 James Mahan buys the interest of Grace Mahan in the business which is now called Mahan Granite Company.
An advertisement in the November 19, 1964 Mount Ayr Record-News announces the sale of Mahan Granite Company to Melvis and Milly Eighmy of Grant City, Mo. James Mahan would stay on as foreman of operations. In late July 1965 the monument plant, located across the alley north of the office, was destroyed by fire.
At this time, a nearby garage was moved to the east end of the office to act as a workshop. This is the facility we know today. James Mahan retired about 1976 and Mr. and Mrs. Eighmy sold the business to their son Malcolm and his wife Ginny about 1981. Melvis Eighmy helped with the business until about 1984.
Now, Malcolm and Ginny are preparing to sell the monument business to their daughter Melissa and her husband Eric Friedrich. Eric has been employed there for some time. I believe this will make five generations of an Eighmy in the monument business.
Eighmy Monument is currently erecting the Veterans Memorial and benches on the northwest corner of the Ringgold County courtyard. They have also volunteered to help repair the damaged done at the Leon Cemetery by vandals recently.
Congratulations to Eighmy Monument for their longevity and service to our community and the community of others. Malcolm told me he once placed a grave stone in North English, Iowa, very near Iowa City.