Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Murray, Iowa.........


Murray, Iowa was incorporated in 1880.  Its largest population was 876 people during the 1920s.  It has shrunk in size throughout the years and now is back up to around 700 people. Murray was my hometown even though I actually was from the farm.  My ancestors met and married each other surround this town and Germans and Brits connected to created large families.  Burgus, Abernathy, Turner, Reis are a few of the names I have in my family tree from around Murray.  These were all from my dad's side as my mom's side came from the Lorimor, Iowa.

The location of the tracks are still the same today as the Amtrak now runs on these tracks. The tracks go all the way to California.  The depot is long gone.  Even so the history of the building has so many stories of people who were killed on this exact location.  Older people would walk along the crossing next the building and would look the one way but not see the train coming from the other direction.   I actually had a distant cousin that was killed on this track probably 50 years ago.  I know all that seems to be confusing as I too think that they should hear a train coming.  I do know during my youth an older lady was hit there but she was probably not knowing where she was and what to look for while outside or should I say confused.

The train station was torn down in the late 60's. The grainery in the background is also gone. The whole set up was for shipping of grain and also was the mail train. A person could post a card in Murray in the morning and the person in the next town could receive it.  They could then reply to the card and send it back to Murray in the afternoon on a returning train.


I am familiar with this main street as it was all standing when I was growing up in the area.  The corner fron building became the post office in later years.  It looks like it could be a barber shop in the photo. A grocery store sat next to it.  The post office is still there today and the grocery store closed a few years back.  The next two sets of buildings are not standing now.  I am assuming fire took them out.


This building always fascinated me.  It sat empty most of my life as a youth.  I never really noticed that the lodge was above the store until I saw this photo.  I always seemed like a large building to me and I never understood why they couldn't keep business going it. I do know it would be hard in a small town.




My uncle Carl owned the building in the foreground. The photo was taken I believe in the late sixties.  The major section of the buildings between the two buildings burned down in 1967. It had a movie theater there plus an empty store and a closed drug store. If you wanted to find the building in the top photo you can't as this building was added on the main street later after the photo was taken.

 Uncle Carl bought the building before I was born in the late 40's.  The first door was an entrance to a fancy barber shop with two barbers running the place.  The next set of windows shows where my Uncle and Aunt lived in an apartment.  They lived basically on main street with Venetian blinds separating them from the people walk down the street.  I remember my Aunt Pauline watching every move of everyone going by that set of windows.  The next set of windows  and door had another barber shop and then a laundromat.  The whole building originally was a dealership for  Model T's and the windows were display areas for cars.  The building was large with the garage being in the back of it.  I remember a cafe originally was in the place of the laundromat.

Memory lane today for me as I have borrowed these photos from a friend on facebook.  I have one more photo that will be a blog in itself to come in the future.

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11 comments:

The Silver Fox said...

What a wealth of information. Thanks for sharing all of it.

Gail Perlee said...

How sad so many people were killed on those tracks! It sounds strange, but sometimes you really can't hear something - even a train - coming at you when conditions are just right (or wrong, as the case may be!) When we lived in a small community with an airstrip that was lighted at night, I used to walk on summer evenings along a road parallel to the airstrip, then cross up onto the it. With all the lights it looked like a huge stage runway & I would dance down it singing "Hello Dolly" until my husband, on finding out what I was doing, asked me if I was crazy, saying I'd never hear a plane coming in! And so ended my theatrical fun on the airstrip!

Deb Gould said...

What wonderful photos! And I love that car sitting in front of the building -- big as a boat, just like they all were back then!

Rosie said...

I like to see pictures of bygone days, we here in Miramichi, NB have a site called Our Miramichi Heritage Photos that posts just pictures that are 25 years and older. Even the simple things in life are preserved, nice indeed.

Alex Daw said...

It's amazing how much a place can change in a lifetime isn't it?

Karen S. said...

What a neat story, and the photos were well worth sharing with us. Good to see your post again!

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

Such an interesting history, it bothers me that these small towns are disappearing. I hate the big box malls that are everywhere (well except when I am looking for something...).

Wendy said...

Your photos remind me how much I enjoy visiting small towns that have preserved their downtown buildings.

Sharon said...

Very interesting.

I don't suppose that the mail is as quick today as it was then?

The Silver Fox said...

I was fascinated by the same-day back and forth mailings! Too cool.

Crystal Mary said...

Dearest Larry, we all go down memory lane as we age.. we look back and life seems sweeter then, although it wasn't appreciated at the time. I always love to see your photos and hear the stories behind them. I especially love the steam train...At that time I never imagined they would once be a thing of the past. How crazy sitting on the rail lines. I actually did the same as a 4 yr old and am amazed that my mother never seemed to know where I was or what I was doing. I would have freaked out if my children had done that... As I age I now know that we should appreciate every single moment of every day. One day this time also will be the past.