Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Email Recollection of Dining

Northwood Anchor - September 6, 1962: The Coffee Cup Cafe on Central Avenue will re-open Thursday under new management. Mr. and Mrs. E. Vaale, new owners and operators, have redecorated the cafe and installed new, modern equipment. A grand opening is planned in the near future. 

Ann Johnson: We were not in Northwood from ‘56 through ‘67. Does anyone know where this was on Central?  

Janis Hendrickson: It sounds familiar to both Chuck and me, but unfortunately neither of us can remember the location. Hopefully someone who was paying attention back then will have an answer for you

Ann: Was the café on the west end near the steps to the park always known as the “Maid-Rite Café”?

I only know of the Paramount, the Midway (formerly Rex Café), Quality Café, Chat n’ Chew and the Maid-Rite.......and in the late 50s there was Hazel’s Restaurant in a house on S. 8th St., south of the post office. Was there Jumbo’s on the north end of town?

Janis: Can’t remember a restaurant near the steps to the park, but it’s possible.

Hazel was Hazel Thompto (mother of Ralph, class of ’62 and Liz Thompto Kenison, class of ‘66). She had a restaurant in their home. Jumbo’s was on 65 north somewhere near the current bus barn. I “think” Jumbo’s last name might have been Thompson?? I remember Thea Seibreit (wrong spelling, I’m sure) worked there as a cook. I recall being a guest of my friend’s family several times at Jumbo’s Restaurant eating yummy fried shrimp.

Bonnie Mack Wopperer: I know for a fact that Jumbo's last name was Thompson. :)

I remember Hazel's restaurant, the Paramount, the Chat 'N' Chew and the Grill adjacent to the old theater, across from Mack Drugs. Didn't that grill change names with new ownerships......2 or 3 times??? Beyond that, my memory is very fuzzy.

Neither do I remember a restaurant near the steps to Crescent Park. I'm lots of help

Ann: The Grill (adjacent to the theatre) was the Rex Café owned by JoAnna Cooley’s dad, Hugh Cooley until about 1952. The name may have been changed to The Grill after Cooleys sold was the Midway Café from the ‘60s through the early ‘90s and then was closed and sold and it hasn’t been a café since that time.

I guess I’d forgotten how young you kids are when I mention the Maid-Rite Café by the park steps (where the Civic Center is now). There were several buildings there that were demolished including the café, a hatchery, a gas station.... However, I guess I’m talking about late ‘40s and early ‘50s when I talk about the Maid-Rite.

I think Jumbo’s was on North 65... Yes, it was probably about where the bus barn is now.

The Quality Café: Again, I might be talking about ‘40s through early ‘50s. On the corner of Central Ave and 8th St. N (Hwy. 65 N) was a huge old building that was Bowen’s Grocery in the ‘40s-‘50s and I’m not sure when it ceased to be a grocery store. It has since burned and is now a mini-park. North of the park is a very small building that was a barber shop, then the alley, then the Quality Café, then the IA State Liquor Store, then Hallands’ Beauty & Barber Shop, then Plowman’s Café (now the Daily Buzz tavern)

Does anyone remember Mr. Marshall and his popcorn machine? I’m wondering if the Coffee Cup Café might have been there where he had his popcorn machine on the sidewalk in the summer time. (That would have been right next to the dry cleaners)

Anyone? Anyone? .

The N-K Vikings played their season home opener tonight against Rockford....first varsity game on the new field, part of the new N-K Athletic Complex which, at this point, has cost $850,000 and still counting. This year N-K started playing eight-man football.....L (Did’ja ever think you’d enjoy sitting in one spot watching a creek freeze over?)

The Vikings came away with a 44-34 victory.

Bonnie: Yessss! I remember Mr. Marshall and his popcorn machine, in front of a small cafe, next to the dry cleaners. OMG hadn't thought about that since forever! I used to ask him for the partially popped kernels that fell through to a container favorites AND I didn't have to pay for them.

Was one of Mr. Marshall's legs shorter than the other...............I seem to remember he wore a special shoe for that.

That could have very well been the Coffee Cup Cafe.........not sure.

O.k.......I'm trying to visualize that corner of Central Ave. and I-65 No. If Fallgatter's Grocery was on the northwest corner, then Bowen's must have been on the northeast (NEC),, correct? I think it later became Nelson Hardware Store (or maybe that's the wrong corner). I do remember the Halland Barber and Beauty shops (one of the barbers who worked there was a man by the name of Bass Bergo........wonder if that was his "real" name). Wasn't the Masonic Temple (Lodge ?) near there also......maybe on the next corner north of Central? Well, you've got me going........will probably be dreaming about Northwood tonight.

And GO, VIKINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ann: The more I think about it, the more I think that café by Mr. Marshall’s (Albert Marshall) popcorn machine must have been the Coffee Cup Café and now I do remember that he wore one shoe that was built up higher than the other. He was such a nice guy and he loved kids. (Can anyone imagine our kids today referring to ANYONE as “Mr.”?!) That MIGHT be the building we’re looking for....I remember that there was a café there and that it did close at one time.

This bit from the Anchor is from September of ‘62 so most of you might have left for college by that time. Maybe someone from the class of ‘63 can help us out...or later....what can you tell us, Richard???

Yes, Bowen’s Grocery was on the NE corner of that intersection...Bowen’s Grocery, Gildner’s Clothing, the post office, Fallgatter’s Grocery (the new Northwood Theatre) were the businesses in the four buildings at that intersection. Nelson’s Hardware was in the building next to Bowen’s where the Extension Office is now...the front of that building has been bricked and totally changed. I don’t know what Bass Bergo’s real name might have been; he was an avid fisherman with a huge love for (spirits) but I understand he was a great barber.

You’re right, the Masonic Temple is on the north end of that block. I can’t think of anything between Plowman’s Café (that became Gertie’s Tavern) and the Masonic Temple...maybe that was just a vacant lot...Northwood Electric is there now.

Another bit of Northwood’s past....The building that housed Bowen’s Grocery was built at the turn of the century by Nels Christianson and was a general store. Nels later became a banker. A biographical sketch in a history book tells us:

“N.T. Christianson was born in Denmark in 1867. When he was eight years of age, he was thrown upon his own resources and from that time till the present, he has rustled for himself. He came to America in 1886 and shortly after arrived in Northwood with a dollar and a half in capital and a determination to amount to something and make a career for himself which was worth far more than capital. Early in 1887 he began his experience in merchandising in the general store of the late Al Smith..........”

We can’t even believe that....orphaned at eight, came to Northwood at age 19 or 20 with a buck and a half.

Nels built the house that was later Bakke’s Funeral Home....the one with the curved glass in the became Connor’s Funeral Home and then it burned in ‘93 or ‘94 and another funeral home has been built on that corner.

Today we celebrate Founders’ Day in Northwood...the first settlers in what is now Northwood...and Worth County....Gulbrand and Karina Mellem came here in 1853. The Founders’ Day activities start with a 5K run/walk this morning so I’d better get my track shoes on and get outta here.

Janis: Bowens Grocery later became Applequist Grocery. Harold and Louise Applequist lived on S. 12th street and Jeannie was one of my playmates. Chuck reminded me that Falgatter’s took over the store west of them at some point in the late 50’s or early 60’s to make a larger grocery store. Would that have been the old Rexall store (Veenker Drug)?

YES! This has been fun – we might run into you today, Ann! It’s a beautiful day for Founders’ Day.

Bonnie: Veenker's Rexall was either adjacent to, or a couple of doors further west from, Fallgatters (I think). Oh that you mention it, Janis, I do remember the Applequist store..............and the friendly little price wars with Fallgatter's. hahaha I can recall my Grandma Lau making her daily trek to town from her home on 11th St. to shop at whichever store had the best price on peaches.....or flour....or bread.....whatever the major item(s) on her list for that day. A very similar competitive spirit existed between Mack Drug & Jewelry and Veenkers Rexall Drugs. After all, competition is what keeps prices down, right? Ahhh memories......this IS fun!

Me: somebody draw me a map. I'm lost.

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