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The Liggett brothers operated a grocery store at 112 W. Madison called H. H. Wilson & Co. Arthur and Harry Liggett, along with partner Charlie Horne, bought Wilson’s business in 1918 and kept the name due to the incredible reputation Mr. Wilson had built up. Wilson erected the building at 112 W. Madison in 1891.
This week’s photo is a little grainy and I can’t identify many of the products seen. Art and Harry are on the left and the two men on the right are unidentified. Early grocery stores often sold items in bulk such as tea, coffee, flour, and sugar.
The Liggett brothers were the sons of Thomas and Catherine (Arthurs) Liggett. Thomas came to Mount Ayr in 1875, the same year Mt. Ayr became incorporated. The elder Liggett was born in 1841, served in the Civil War, was elected Ringgold County Clerk of Court, and was an Elder in the United Presbyterian Church.
Thomas engaged in the grocery trade early on, bringing his brother John into the business, as well. In 1891, Thomas Liggett erected a two-story brick building at 111 W. Monroe as a grocery store. In 1933, Dean Jacobs reconstructed the same building into a three-story building. Due to poor health, Thomas retired about 1903, and he died in 1907.
So, Art and Harry grew up in the grocery business. Charlie Horne had left the partnership by 1928 and, in 1947, the Liggett brothers sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Max Bliss. After only three months, Max sold the grocery store to Charles Hyde, co-founder of Hy-Vee Food Stores. The grocery was called Hyde’s Food Store until 1952 when the name was changed to Hy-Vee.
Harry didn’t stay out of the grocery business long as he and his wife Fern bought the store of D. D. Dolecheck in Diagonal in December 1949. Dolecheck had been in business for 49 years. Harry and Fern went to Wisconsin after selling the store to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dolecheck in January 1953.
I see the old Wilson building at 112 W. Madison is for sale now. Hy-Vee left that building in 1962 and Bob Hudson opened Hudson’s AGI (Associated Grocers of Iowa) in November 1962. Hy-Vee had a fire at 107 N. Fillmore in July 1964 and Hy-Vee temporarily relocated to their former location while the fire damage was being repaired.
Melvin and Dorothy Wurster opened Gambles at 112 W. Madison in 1965 after Hy-Vee went back to their 107 N. Fillmore location. Gambles moved to 106 S. Taylor after Lion Auto Store ceased operations in 1971. W. B. Cunning & Co. opened at 112 W. Madison on January 1, 1973.