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We continue our tour of the Mount Ayr square with a look at 108 S. Taylor, the Lucky Lanes building. William Timby erected a two-story brick building here in 1891. John Wall moved his grocery store into the north half of the double storefront and B. C. Warren opened a drug store in the south half. Fire destroyed the building in April 1897.
Timby rebuilt in 1897 on the original foundation but limited his business block to one story this time. An addition was built onto the rear between 1898 and 1907.
George Slentz occupied both storefronts here beginning about 1900. Slentz operated his clothing and dry goods store until his passing in 1920. His wife Hannah (Ogden) Slentz ran the store for two more years. E. E. Krouch then conducted a hardware business here from 1923 to 1926. The building was then shared by firms such as Seaton’s IGA Store, Guy Todd Hardware, and Prentis Hatchery. Lee Timby (William’s youngest son) sold the building to John Freeland in 1944 and Freeland’s Department Store opened here in August 1948.
Freeland sold to Woodward & Co. in 1949 and Woodward sold to C. R. Anthony & Co. in 1956. Anthony’s closed on August 1, 1980. Plaza Furniture moved in and stayed until 1983. Bib’s (Combs) Lanes opened in September 1994. This is one of three Timby buildings still standing. The other two are 100 W. Madison and 108 E. Madison (Martha Timby).
The building Bill French is in was built by brothers Charles and Day Dunning as Citizens Bank. It opened in January 1892 and became Iowa State Bank in 1904. Iowa State Bank merged with Mt. Ayr State Bank in 1930 leaving the building empty for F. E. Sheldon & Co. This firm became Clyde Lesan Co. in 1938 and changed again to W. B. Cunning & Co. in 1960. In 1973 the business here became French & Schardein. Helen Schardein retired at the end of 1986 and the company is now William H. French Agency.
A Mount Ayr Record-News newspaper says Bill French began working here in August 1948 and he’s still in the office today. My abacus says that’s 72 years! Be sure and give Bill a big wave the next time you see him.
Shafer’s Insurance building at 100 E. Madison was built in 1931 and served as a sandwich shop until the late 1960s. It became an insurance office in 1970. Next week we dive into the historic Timby building on the north side of the square.