Snapshot of History
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BY MIKE AVITT
I don’t have the date of this photo, but it was probably August 1966 when Mabel McCullough Rice and her son Gary McCullough had an open house at their new car lot in Mount Ayr. The business, specializing in farm equipment, was now a dealer for Chrysler and Plymouth. I scooped corn in this building in 1983. This building became All Seasons Cafe in 2000.
This was not Mabel’s first experience in selling new cars. In October 1947, the McCullough Motor Co. offered the innovative Kaiser-Frazer automobile. Unfortunately, Kaiser-Frazer was unstable and merged with Willys-Overland in 1953. Mabel had always been successful in the farm implement business and that would continue.
Ames Cross was selling Willys Jeeps as early as 1946 at 1000 W. South Street. He was selling International Trucks beginning in 1955. Cross Service also included auto parts, auto repair, and gasoline sales.
In 1945, Gail Dalton and Wilbur Lynch bought the Horn Motor Co. at 200 N. Taylor. With it they got the Dodge Plymouth agency for new cars. In 1946, a new building was constructed at 116 N. Taylor. Carson Williams bought the firm in 1949 and in 1951 it was sold to Weldon Main. The business was discontinued in 1966.
Don and Charles Harvey began selling Oldsmobiles and GMC trucks at 200 N. Taylor in 1953. They moved to 204 S. Taylor in late 1971. In 1949, the Mount Ayr Implement Company (Allis Chalmbers), at 201 N. Taylor began selling new Pontiacs.
In 1954, Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motor Co. merged to form the American Motor Corp. In 1952, Joe Dalton sold new Nash cars briefly. In 1953, Herman Fennema was selling Nash until 1954. In February 1956, Jim Smith and his son Hank picked up the agency and operated in east Mount Ayr until a fire in April 1966 changed the course of the business.
In 1957, Dean Simpson was appointed dealer for Studebaker-Packard at 604 W. South Street. Studebaker and Packard had merged in 1954.
In October 1950, S. E. May, of Boone, Iowa, bought the Ford Dealership at 202 S. Taylor from William Thomas Timby, son of famous Mount Ayr builder William Timby. Raymond Barker and Harold Webb bought the May Motor Company in November 1955. A week later they sold it to Tim and Bob Johnston. The Johnston Motor Co. had their “Quitting Business” auction in February 1962.
The Chevrolet agency has a long history and I will cover that another time. Mount Ayr had a large number of new car dealerships in the past and now we have one. But, look at all the cars that used to exist and no longer do.
My first car was a 1954 Dodge Royal. My friends had a 1957 Dodge Coronet, 1959 Ford Galaxie, 1966 Rambler, 1963 Chevy Impala, 1948 Chevy Coupe, 1962 Tempest…..you get the idea. I won’t mention their names in case they are still embarrassed.