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Snapshot of History

Midwest Motors at 207 S. Garfield in Mount Ayr.

Motorcycles have been around southern Iowa for 120 years. There’s not much information in the old newspapers about motorcycles, but I found that Lawrence Campbell, a 1913 rural mail carrier, had a wreck in which his motorcycle, and all the mail he was carrying, were burned up in the accident. Lawrence escaped with his life.
The 1969 movie, “Easy Rider,” and daredevil Evel Knievel boosted the popularity of motorcycles in the 1970s. Mount Ayr had several shops to research.
In May of 1973, Dean Cavender opened a Rupp dealership in Joe’s Apco at 1000 W. South Street. Rupp produced dirt bikes, not street motorcycles. You could get a new Rupp Roadster for $300. Rupp was a manufacturer of go-carts, mini-bikes, snowmobiles, and dirt bikes (off-road motorcycles). Dean’s business was also an official inspection station for motorcycles.
On April 1, 1976, Phil Campbell ran an advertisement for his motorcycle and Volkswagen repair shop at 207 S. Garfield. The business grew to also offer inspection services, parts, accessories, and motorcycle sales. In 1979, Phil began selling Moto Guzzi Mopeds. Remember Mopeds?
Mr Campbell was not the only Moped dealer in town. Also in 1979, Bud Matthews began selling Puch Mopeds at 204 W. Madison. This business lasted about one year.
In April 1980, Diagonal Cycles opened in the old railroad depot in Mount Ayr with Ron Walker and Jamie Sublett as proprietors. The advertisements indicate they did repair work and not sales. But they offered accessories and fabrication work to modify bikes into “choppers.” This business ceased in 1981.
In September 1984, Phil Campbell Motors became Midwest Motors with Kevin Glick in charge at 207 S. Garfield. The firm still offered repair on foreign and domestic autos and motorcycles, but now a line of chainsaws was brought into the business. In April of 1993, Kevin and Deb Glick moved Midwest Motors to a location in Creston, the Pine Valley Golf Course.
I never owned a motorcycle but I clearly remember going to McIntosh Motors in Creston in the 1970s. There was a big sign over the entrance that said, “YAMAHA.” Japanese motorcycles were very popular in the 70s. In the 1980s, there was a motorcycle shop in Lamoni called, Shadetree Yamaha. And it was located in the depot.
Speaking of depots, the folks who ran Diagonal Cycles located in the Mount Ayr depot, favored American motorcycles over Japanese and they left a little message on one of the freight room doors. The message is still there.
This week’s photo comes courtesy of the Mount Ayr Record-News. I’m always looking for pictures!

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