Rolfe, Iowa, in the ’40s and ’50s: The Wickre Story — Part V

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Sharon (Wickre) Rickard with her parents and sister in front of their feed/grain office building, approximately 1947. Clockwise: Barbara and Henry Wickre with daughters Sharon and Beryl. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

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This post includes the fifth audio segment of my conversation last spring with Sharon (Wickre) Rickard, formerly of Rolfe, Iowa, from 1944-1960. There’s more detail about Rolfe in the first four segments. This tying-up-loose-ends fifth segment is about 6 1/4 minutes long. Part of it includes me referring to Rolfe’s 1980-81 oral history project and me reading an exerpt from a book about conducting oral histories. My favorite part of Sharon’s recording is what she said in the last 25 seconds. Click on the following link to listen to the fifth segment: SharonWickreRickardDPart5A

Since Sharon mentioned several businesses in Rolfe during the 1940s and 1950s, I wanted to research the locations of those businesses to provide an accurate map. I am providing a map, but it is sketchy. Don’t bet your life on the accuracy of locations of the stores/businesses. If you have additional information to provide about Main Street (i.e., Garfield Street) in Rolfe during the ’40s and ’50s, or corrections, please be sure to let me know. You may do so by commenting below or by emailing me at mariongundersonart@gmail.com . (If you comment below, the only person who will see your email address is me.)

TO READ THE FINE PRINT, CLICK on this MAP (below) TWICE

Rolfe, Iowa. If you click on the map twice, you'll magnify the text.

The bulk of my information is from the Centennial History Rolfe, Iowa, 1863-1963, the Pocahontas County, Iowa, History compiled in 1981, and conversations with Sharon, Clara (Gunderson) Hoover, and a handful of other Rolfe natives. Again, PLEASE, if you have anything to add about Rolfe’s history (anything from soup to nuts…not just about stores, etc.) or to correct (whether it is from the ’40s or ’50s or earlier or later) please comment below or let me know via email. Thank you.

Click here to view (and print if you wish) the above map in pdf format.

If you enjoyed reading this series of posts, just think how interested people would be in knowing what you recall! One step further…if you have photos you think might be of interest, I hope you might scan them, or be willing to let me scan them and share in the same manner that Sharon did.

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

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6 Responses to “Rolfe, Iowa, in the ’40s and ’50s: The Wickre Story — Part V”

  1. Clara Hoover Says:

    I loved listening to this interview and all the others, each more than once. I learned something new each time. And sometimes I wanted to chime in, for instance, was the third barber (besides Rollie Mann and Watts) someone named Krischel? I could just picture the buildings. Yes, I remember men purchasing clothing at Peterson’s. And did you remember that there were doors opening between Hauck’s and Webb’s? You could walk from one store to the other. Or you could go down the stairs in between their buildings.

    Yes, there is something about Rolfe that holds a soft spot.

  2. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Oh, I had forgotten, Clara, that you had told me about the doors opening between the two stores. I remember Webb’s, but I do not recall Hauck’s. I wonder when Hauck’s closed/changed hands?

    According to the Rolfe 1963 Centennial history, at that time (1963) the barber shops in Rolfe were Mann Barber Shop (i.e., Rollie), Krischel Barber Shop, and Watts Barber Shop. Unless I missed it, Hauck’s is not included in that 1963 listing. Do you know if there was another store located in the Hauck’s location?

    One Rolfe native thought that the last name of the barber on the corner across the street to the north of the current post office was “Barg.” Does that ring a bell to you?

  3. Clara Hoover Says:

    I don’t recall when Hauck’s closed. We shopped there a lot, but later we shopped at lot at Girards’ (became Wood’s Super Value) on the corner. So perhaps Hauck’s went out of business when I was in junior high or high school. I don’t remember if it was Hauck’s or Olney’s (where Grandma shopped) that became Freeman’s.

  4. jerry farlow Says:

    Your map showing Rolfe businesses of the 40s and 50s brings back a lot of memories. Here are a couple things I remember. When I delivered newspapers from 1949 to 1952, I seem to recall that Firkins was one block south and there was a general store called Eikenburys (not spelled correctly I’m sure) next to Haucks. There was also another blacksmith shop right south of Don Weishaar’s shop. I worked for a couple years at a bakery right south of Rickard’s hardware, called Whitmore’s bakery (that would be about 1952). Also right north of Dr. Fuller White’s office there were 2 more barber shops, one called Kirchners (again not correct spelling) and the other Watt’s. I used to go to both but I preferred Watt since Kirchner made you look like one of the 3 stooges when you were done. (That would be in the early 50s). In the late 40s and early 50s there was a cleaners run by (darn I forgot his first name) a Mr. Thomas. His son Russell and I were best friends and I would help Russell wash the windows in the cleaner shop which consisted of about 50 tiny 1 ft by 1 ft windows. It was located south of Brinkman’s Chevy garage. There was also another dentist, Dr. Hynds, who had a practice right about where you list Dr. Locterkamp roughly across the street east of the Ritz theatre. Dr. Hynds (another name misspelled I’m sure) was my first dentist and he had a drill that rotated about 15 rpm (not quite as fast as the ones today). I remember him telling me to brush my teeth. In the late 40s there were 3 pool halls at about the location where you list Larry Burn’s bar. They were all located in 2-story buildings and on the second floor of one there was a dance hall and roller skating rink. I remember roller skating there once when I was about 5 years old and remember crashing into a lady, and if I remember, was not too pleased. Also across the street north of where you have Dick’s Phillps 66 there was a City Service station. I remember the station well since every fall the City Service company would send out the annual college football schedule and the station would have a pile of them to give to kids. Also Dr. Clark had an office for I’d guess about years at the location where you have Dr. Ranney’s office (they each had offices in the same building). Also Rolfe used to have 2 lumber yards; one across the road southwest of Wickre’s mill next to the railroad track and the other at the southeast edge of town (I don’t think I could find the spot now. They were both nice since George Swan and I would go play hide-and-seek amongst all the piles of boards and lumber (can you imagine Home Depot letting kids play on their lumber???? ). Before it was called Taylor Conoco, it was called Taylor’s Royal 400. I spent a lot of time there as a kid buying Mallo Cups (the only place in Rolfe that stocked them).

    I think the only thing in Rolfe that is the same now as as when I grew up there from the early 40s to mid 50s is that granite lion that rests in the front yard of the funeral home at the corner of main street and Elm Street, and the last time I was in Rolfe this past summer it too was starting to show signs of age.

    PS: I liked your video of corn picking. Wow that tractor that brought in a wagon of corn was BIG. It was hard to imagine the tires on that thing !

  5. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Jerry, thanks for all of the lusciously interesting information about Rolfe. I’m glad you commented about the location of Firkins. In addition to the locations of different businesses, many that I had never even heard of, I love the imagery brought about by your mention of, just to name a few, the 3 Stooges, the slow dentist drill and the Home Depot.

    I hope when Rolfe has its sesquicentennial that all sorts of things like you wrote are compiled. What you wrote is exactly the type of factual and anecdotal type that I had hoped people would add. I’m sure you know that people love reading information/stories like what you wrote, but lots of people are shy about it. So, I’m so glad you provided information/entertainment for so many others.

    I’m glad you liked the video of harvest. Thank you for letting me know.

  6. Clara Hoover Says:

    The big lumberyard on Broad Street (east/west street) across from Climax (now the Co-Op) was Grant’s and owned by Forrie Grant. The other one was just south of Railroad street, I believe on the east side of the road, either the road going to the golf course or the road going to the cemetery. I think this lumberyard might have been called Fullerton’s, but I don’t know who owned it.

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