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What we see is local citizens hamming it up for the photographer. This photo is one of about 15 pictures that were salvaged from glass negatives discovered when the Mount Ayr Record-News moved from 119 N. Taylor to 122 W. Madison in 1988. Most of the other photos were self-explanatory but I couldn’t place this scene. It took me over ten years to identify the location.
The building behind the men was most recently the Star Theatre. The moving picture firm relocated to the south side of the square in September 1914 under the name Princess Theatre. The building would later become an auto dealership and would be torn down in October 1945. Prior to becoming a movie theater, this structure was most often used as a furniture store.
Across the street we see the two-story building at 200 N. Taylor. In October 1957, a fire occurred in the upstairs of this building and the top floor was removed. The bottom floor remains to this day and is occupied by Ricker Heating & Air-Conditioning. The sign on the side of the building says, “William Dowling – Blacksmith.”
Will Dowling moved his blacksmith shop to this site in April 1914 and had a closing out sale in October 1914. I knew from the other photos that these glass negatives were produced between 1913 and 1915, so now I know it is 1914. Now, I’ll tell you how I discovered the location.
A drawing of the building in this week’s photo appears in the June 17, 1976 Mount Ayr Record-News and was drawn by Holland Foster. Holland’s father, Homer Foster, was one of the owners of the Star Theatre. Also, all of the photos produced by the glass negatives were taken on the square except for two and they were shot on the 100 block of North Taylor. So, this week’s photo was shot at approximately 118 N. Taylor in 1914.
I’m going to Costa Rica on January 21 and will miss three or four articles. I’m going with MOVE (Men Of Vision Evangelize), the same group I went to Trinidad and Tobago with in 2018. I hope to write about our trip and have some picture to show upon my return. Please pray for our mission!