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This week’s picture comes from Lenore Saltzman’s photo album. It shows the old Farmers Produce building at 205 N. Taylor in 1973 which Mount Ayr Implement was using for storage at the time. I thought I wrote an article about this building, but I can’t find it, so maybe I didn’t.
This building appears on a 1919 Sanborn plat map, but it gets tricky after that. Produce houses, which were numerous, came and went and often changed locations. I do believe this location became a produce house around 1920 and remained so until the 1960s. I’ll share with you what I’m certain about.
A January 6, 1955 Record-News features an ad for Cudahy Produce Co. with Doyle Scott as the manager. Two months later the ad says, “Scott Produce.” In May 1958, Doyle and Evelyn Scott announce they are leaving the produce business and Art Nance will replace them. In December 1959, Keith Draper took over the business and the name became Farmers Produce. By March 1961, Farmers Produce was selling Swift’s Feeds.
Vern Poortinga apparently owned Farmers Produce in summer 1961 because he bought Billie Finch’s Mt. Ayr Produce and merged it with Farmers Produce, locating at 115 E. Madison, the location of Mt. Ayr Produce. Curly Grimes would manage the egg department and Keith Draper had charge of the creamery.
On April 1, 1963, Keith, Merle, and Gloria Draper opened Draper Produce at 205 W. South Street in Mount Ayr. This was the former Max Bond Body Shop building. In August 1974, Draper Feed & Produce had a closing out sale.
The former Farmers Produce at 115 E. Madison became Mount Ayr Cream & Eggs by June 1963 with Curly Grimes as manager. On August 20, 1964, Jerry Sheridan announced he had purchased Mount Ayr Cream and Eggs. I don’t know what happened to the business after that.
Rich Brundage eventually became the owner of 115 E. Madison and found a blackboard price list with original hand-written prices from the mid-60s. He donated it to the Mount Ayr Depot Museum on the condition that we never erase the blackboard. I have secured Plexiglas to the board to ensure the integrity of our gift. There is a “Squirt” soda pop advertisement at the top of the blackboard and it hangs in the museum’s restroom. If you’ve been in the museum, you know we’re running out of wall space!