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Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015

Times Gone By

Friday, December 9, 2011

100 years ago

Sheriff McLeod was called to investigate a chicken stealing episode that took place last Wednesday night. A well known farmer found that his chicken roost had been robbed of several dozen fowl on the night above mentioned and near the chicken house he found a card with the name of a neighbor and well known resident of Griggs township. Sheriff McLeod followed the movements of the aforesaid farmer from the time of the chicken stealing until he was called into the case but could not find where he had sold any poultry. He then learned that the accused was in Sioux City the night the chicken were stolen and could not in any manner be implicated in the affair, and the finding of the card in the farmer's yard was easily explained by the fact that the man had loaned his coat to a friend who had been at the farmer's place some days before the chickens were taken.

Thorough investigation proved that the accused and his friend who had borrowed the coat were entirely innocent of the crime and that the chickens were undoubtedly stolen by others who at this time are unknown to the sheriff and the owner of the poultry.

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Cupolas and cannons - Here a wonderful picture of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute that highlights the central portion of the large main building, which has always housed the administrative offices, and previously housed the superintendents' apartment and other apartments as well. This photo features the grand cupola that was removed many years ago and the picture also shows a cannon in the front yard. That cannon is the same cannon which is now located in Koser Spring Lake Park.

John Madison, Lynn Castle and George Southwell have been chosen to defend the negative side of the question: "Resolved, That the movement of organized labor for the closed shop should receive the support of public opinion," against the Cherokee debating team composed of Wilmer Elfrink, Roy Hill and Francis Brown, at the opera house Dec. 15. Elfrink was a member of the Cherokee championship team last year. The Cherokee team is being coached by Supt. Maus, of the Cherokee schools.

The locals are enthusiastic and are working zealously on their arguments. This is the opening debate of the Iowa High School Debating League and the result of this debate means much. The local team is carefully being trained by Supt. Smith and by the evening of Dec. 15 will be keen to meet their able opponents.


Wednesday afternoon V. Bergren, who is employed by the I.C.R.R. company on the bridge gang, met with a severe accident which is liable to cause him a great deal of trouble. He and some other men were unloading piling in the yards when one piling slipped and fell striking him just below the knee, crushing both bones but not breaking them, and the flesh was ripped open. He was at once taken to his home and Dr. Freeman Hornibrook was called to care for the injured member. He stated that the injuries might prove serious as there is danger of gangrene setting in. Mr. Bergren's many friends will be sorry to hear of his misfortune and will hope that with good medical treatment and good care that he will soon recover.

75 years ago

Discovery of a flowing well at a depth of approximately 55 feet on the Charles Groves farm in Pilot township, four miles from Cherokee on the Quimby road, was reported Wednesday by Jake Lauer, who operates the place.

The very uncommon discovery, especially n the face of last summer's drought, was made last week.

Crew under direction of Charles F. Meter, Cherokee well digger, made the discovery. Flow is approximately five feet above the ground.

Meyer's men were drilling in the yard where stock are fed. Hitting sand on the way down, they found the going hard. First a 4-inch casing was driven down about 45 feet to shut out the sand. Water came up dirty from a depth of 55 feet and a 2-inch casing was placed inside the first to stop the flow of water.

The first casing was then pumped out and water flowed from both casings. The 2-inch pipe was driven to a depth of approximately 75 feet.

The smaller casing was taken out, however, and the larger casing is now being used. According to Lauer, this is the first flowing well uncovered in this area. Meyer came to Cherokee from Minnesota two years ago and employs two crews in drill work.


Caring for more than 400 persons over capacity is a problem at Cherokee State hospital as well as at the other Iowa institutions for the insane, Dr. C. F. Obermann, superintendent, reported to the state board of control at the quarterly conference in Des Moines Tuesday. Capacity of the Cherokee institution was listed at 1,200 with the present population, 1,682.

The state hospital here is the youngest unit in the state, being 35 years old. Yet, according to Obermann, the wards are so overcrowded the patients must climb in over the end of the bed at night.

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MHI farm - The Cherokee Mental Health Institute once housed a fully functional farm,as pictured here, located on the southwest side of the grounds. According to information on the back of this photo, it was taken sometime in 1923.
"Better men would be attracted" to the positions in a state institution if adequate housing for employees were offered so that there was "at least a decent place to live, where the employees may enjoy some sort of normal, family life," he said.

Invitation to visit the hospital here has been extended by Dr. Obermann to all members of the Iowa legislature. Two have already viewed the buildings.

50 years ago

Many offices and towns brag about their rare "prime beef shipping specials" to market, but it's just routine for cattlemen in this Larrabee area.

Loaded for Chicago market the other day was another large load of cattle.

Last Saturday cattlemen shipped 16 carloads of prime stock--the cattle weighing up to 1,700 pounds.

It's just another day here when one resident may ask the other "How many loads going out today?"

It's also common routine to find cattle shippers bedding their cattle cars to be loaded with prime fed steers Saturday afternoon.

At the same time cattle are check-weighed in the yards here before loading on to Illinois Central Railroad cars.

The favorite "game" at this stage for cattlefeeders is guessing the weights.

Four cars can be loaded before arrival of the train to switch the cars to the chutes for loading.

Meat Train

Once loaded, the stock moves out of here aboard the Sioux Falls meat train known as No. 796.

At nearby Cherokee these cars are switched over to the Sioux City meat train for movement direct to Chicago. They arrive there on Sunday and are unloaded for Monday's market.

Larrabee always has been well-known for its livestock feeding areas. But this program has been expanded during recent years since operators now have the latest in feeding equipment.

Larrabee is a key point on the livestock markets in Chicago, Kansas City and all markets in the west and south where feeder cattle are sold.

The Larrabee residents will remind that the "New York cut" you may see on your eastern menu when traveling could be a home-grown product.

Only the best grade of beef moves to Chicago and eastern markets.

This area's got it!


A Lexington, Neb., man sentenced to five years at Anamosa in district court here on April 18, 1958 was fatally wounded Thursday after being chased by highway patrolmen in Montana.

Larry Clay Franks, 22, died several hours after the chase ended in Harlowton, Mont.

Franks was picked up by the Cherokee County sheriff on a bad check charge in 1958 and upon further investigation it was found he was guilty of larceny of domestic animals. Franks had been taking pigs from a farmer he was working for in Diamond Township and selling them. He was sentenced to five years in district court here.

The car driven by Franks veered off Highway 12 and into a field as it was being chased by Trooper Ray Livingston.

Franks, found critically injured with a gunshot wound in the head, died several hours later without regaining consciousness.

The car Franks was driving matched one which had been serviced at a station in Harlowton. The driver left without paying for gasoline.

Sheriff's officers at Anamosa, Iowa, said Larry Clay Franks had been released from the Anamosa Men's Reformatory Oct. 6.

A deputy said Franks had been sought on a charge of assault with intent to commit rape. The incident occurred in Anamosa about three weeks ago.

The Linn County, Iowa, Sheriff's office said Franks also was wanted for writing a bad $5 check at Fairfax, Iowa.

25 years ago

Harry Brutsman is putting aside the mowers and grooming tools and is closing shop after 26 years as Cherokee City Park Custodian.

He will be honored at an open house retirement reception Sunday at the Cherokee Community Center from 2 to 4 p.m., hosted by the City Parks and Recreation Commission.

He's stepping aside but "it's a job that's never done," said Brutsman. "Caring for the 125 or more acres of park in the city is like a little farm. There's always something to be done."

He has found the work interesting and rewarding. He said it was right for him because he likes the out of doors having been reared on a farm and was interested in what was going on.

Coming to Cherokee in 1957 from Manchester, Brutsman worked at the Mental Health Institute for five years, at the same time working part-time for two years at the park.

For the last 16 years, he's really been on his own. Maintenance was more than mowing the grass, he said. The mowers break down; then it rains; and the grass continues to grow. While his hours were officially 8-5, he usually started at 7 and worked until dark. Maintenance also included pruning shrubbery and trees, planting flower beds and keeping them free of weeds and cleaning up after picnics.

"Bikers and campers are good to clean up after themselves and take better care of the grounds than picnickers," said Brutsman.

While he speaks of his tenure in terms of 26 summers, the job was year round. In the winter, the ice skaters frequent Koser-Spring Lake Park. Over 100 kids a day have used the park over Christmas vacation. Kids are also bused to the park for classes on the ice, he said, and in the spring they're bused from schools throughout the area.

The park is a playground for kids to romp, and parents often bring the children to play while they go shopping.

He's met a lot of people through the years, and he knows some on a first-name basis; some he remembers only after they've left, he said.

In spite of his efforts to keep the park areas a place of beauty, there are some people who would rather destroy than preserve so there is vandalism to contend with, he said. It probably begins with a dare--and as a result flower beds have been driven through, along with other damage.

As groundskeeper, he's never found anything out of the ordinary but the usual fishing poles, purses, billfolds and car keys which if unclaimed are turned into the police. The baseballs found around the park diamond, however, are generally piled around home base and eventually put back into play by the kids.

Brutsman said he likes to travel and always stops at parks. As a result he has brought back a few ideas to lighten his work load as custodian.

He recalls helping to clear the trees where the Community Center now stands. The area had been used to pasture horses. Another project was to build terraces behind the Community Center. The grounds at the Community Center and the swimming pool were added to the custodian's responsibilities in the early 1960's.

At the time Brutsman started, Spring Lake had white geese and a pair of black swans. "Then came the ducks," he said, becoming a familiar figure and sound to the fowl as he moves in and about their domesticated habitat.

Improvements are constantly being made, said Brutsman. Some of the perennial flowers have been set in raised beds, cutting down on the maintenance. New playground equipment has been added since he began, and the area near Fareway Store developed as a park.

Dec. 31 will be his last day officially. After that he plans to do some traveling and get in some fishing. He's also going to keep an eye on the parks and keep up with improvements made.



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