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BY MIKE AVITT
This photo appears in the June 12, 1896 edition of the Twice-A-Week News newspaper. The upstairs of 122 S. Taylor was occupied by Dr. C. A. Bent, a dentist. Dr. Bent had located here in March 1896, so that narrows down the date of the photo. Also, Mount Ayr got telephone service in 1895 and the first office was located above 122 S. Taylor Street.
The storefront on the corner was built in 1880 by William, who still resided in Lotts Creek Township in 1880. He would move to Mount Ayr in 1883. I don’t know who the contractor was but Timby would hire a Mr. True to do brickwork on later projects and George Smithson was a very prolific bricklayer at this time. I found out only recently, the four-storefront, brick building at 116-122 South Taylor was built at separate dates.
The corner storefront was first occupied by E. J. Pratt and George Slentz with their dry goods business. They expanded in 1883, occupying both 120 and 122 S. Taylor. I believe 120 S. Taylor was built in 1882 with Mr. True as the brick mason. The rest of the building was built between 1882 and 1885. An attorney named J. F. Mount was involved with the construction of a brick building on the east side of the square in the 1880s but I don’t have that figured out yet.
Around 1886, George Slentz bought out his partner, E. J. Pratt, and would move to 108 S. Taylor in 1903. The one-story building at 108-110 S. Taylor was built in 1897 by William Timby after the two-story building on those lots, also built by Timby, burned in April 1897. A large addition was constructed to the rear of 108-110 S. Taylor in 1903 to accommodate
The Ringgold Merchantile Company, a merger of the three biggest retail stores in Mount Ayr. M. E. Freeland pulled out of the merger at the last minute which allowed Slentz to eventually occupy the entire building.
Meanwhile, A. O. Ingram, located in the former Slentz store at 122 S. Taylor. He left in 1907 and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Rhoades set up business in the building in 1908. Mr. and Mrs. Rhoades had attended embalming school in 1907 and opened their business as a furniture and funeral enterprise.
William Timby had passed away in 1901 and his widow Martha was now the owner of the brick block at 116-122 S. Taylor. Rhoades was still here in 1912 when Mrs. Timby built an addition onto the back of 122 S. Taylor. I believe the Rhoades business needed more space to deal with furniture and coffins, which take up a great deal of space. Rhoades moved to the west side of the square in 1918 but the building continued to be a furniture store under various names until 1927 when it became a cafe.
After many restaurant operations at this location, 122 S. Taylor became a pool hall in 1948. It would remain a pool hall under several owners until 1975.