Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Storefront City..........


Granger, Iowa, USA probably taken in the early 1900s.  Most all of the buildings are gone now but a couple of them on the right side still stand.  I think they turned them into bars. 


Granger, Iowa is pictured here also with the first  shot being being located at the top corner of this photo.  If you were to look down the road that travels by the water tower that would be where that shot was taken.  The taller building is in the above photo.  I would date this photo as around 1950s.  The school building is gone now and three different building programs have change that whole area.  I taught in that old school building, top floor on the opposite side. That was in 1976 through 1990s. The room had a great view of all the farmland being worked in the area. It was a neat old building that used to be the full k through 12 building for the town.  In 1969 Granger and Woodward merged as a school district.


You are now viewing the east side of Murray, Iowa on mainstret.  The buildings are all empty now with no businesses in them.  To the left down the street is a remodeled bank which is still open.  The left building was a drug store with a soda fountain.  I ate many chocolate sundaes on twirly seats.  The opening is where the Agan's Barbershop stood.  I find it interesting that they chose not to take down the brick part of the building.  To the right was the hardware store.

  My first cousin and her husband bought that store and ran it for many years.  It then became a movie theater for a number of years, believe it or not.   One more building sits to the right of this one that use to be a car repair shop and it was turned into a very successful cafe.  On top of that building is an apartment and above that still stand a lookout, built by the town, to watch for Japanese bombers, during WW 2. 

A couple of old buildings in Perry, Iowa.  They have both been refurbished and are in use today.  The corner building use to be a bank as you can see by the sign's design on the corner.  My wife and I displayed art on the top floor of this building about 7 years ago.









I have saved the best for last.  This photo is a building that stood on main street three blocks away from where I live now.  It looks like it was just finished in its construction in this photo.  I like all the different architectural influences in the design.  The banding design comes from Venice.  The Roman arch of course come from Rome and there are dentil designs along the top and smaller ones in the middle. They are all designs from overses older classical buildings. 

The Oddfellows, a mens lodge, probably built the building.  They met at the top floor.  On the main floor was a stage with opera house seats both main floor and with a balcony.  It was said in the later years that a cafe was set up in the basement and served sandwiches all day.  Of course the people in the United States tear everything down.  The roof probably went bad and people who owned the building didn't have the money to replace it.  Fire codes of the 1960's probably were probably not being met.  It set empty for quite a while. 

I moved to town in 1976.  The building was torn down in 1975.  What a big mistake for the city and for the history of Iowa.  I never saw the building but saw the very rough parking lot that was created after it was gone.  I find it difficult to find any info or more photos of the building on the net. I suppose it will take another generation of people from the town to start to send out the photos.

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9 comments:

Postcardy said...

I love old buildings when they have been properly maintained or renovated, butI think the neglected and empty ones are depressing.

Alex Daw said...

What great comments about the streetscape - so important for local history. So glad you recorded this for posterity. One day someone will be very grateful; if they are not so already :)

Little Nell said...

Great descriptions Larry and I love the thought of eating chocolate sundaes whilst sitting on twirly seats!

Karen S. said...

Such an interesting post, and really delightful photos.

Mike Brubaker said...

Old civic buildings define the history and character of communities big and small, and are well worth the effort to preserve. I have started collecting old postcards of small town "opera house", and especially like finding theaters that are not only still standing but have been restored to a working stage.

Sharon said...

Wonderful memories! It does seem strange that the bricks were left but it does add character.

Linda said...

I really love old buildings, Larry! I find it said, though, when they end up being abandoned. I would prefer to see them restored and turned into something useful like a museum or art gallery; just something that people can visit and appreciate. I absolutely love your photos!

La Nightingail said...

Old abandoned buildings are so sad. In most of the small towns where I've lived, the old buildings may sit empty for a while, but someone or some business usually - finally - takes over, redesigns, & occupies, rents, leases, or sells it to a new business which is a nice way to keep the old buildings going!

Beverly Kirk said...

I took a road trip back to my first grade, and to my other town for 4th grade. Your pictures and writing... good inspiration to tell my story even though I wonder who will ever listen with care!!!