Times Gone By

Friday, January 10, 2014

100 years ago

Work was resumed at the Pitcher township school on Monday, Dec. 29, after a Christmas vacation of one week. When the school first started on December first it looked for a couple of days as if the enrollment would not be very large, but since that time rapid strides have been made and fourteen young men now are taking work there. Arthur Miller, Richard Glawe, Clifford Coombs, Walter Holderness, Harry and Harlowe Fogleman, Merrill Sellars, Lewis Simmons, Ellsworth Crippen, Russell Jones, Freeman Stephenson, Glen Beeghly, Hans Bredahl and Carl Curtis make up the enrollment at present, but a few more students are expected in a short time.

The boys seem very much interested in the courses of agriculture, stock judging, public speaking, parliamentary law, manual training, and veterinary work, which is carried on there under the directorship of B. G. Moad of the Iowa State college at Ames, Iowa, and everything points towards success for the first season of a special school in this locality.

Goat driven cart - This delightful photo of a goat - driven cart was taken in 1912.Earl and Muriel Peck are the humans in the photo.

The sharp shooters at Cleghorn have organized a gun club of about twenty-five members with Fred Imlay as president and Clarence Olson secretary.

They meet every Thursday for trap shooting and among the experts getting in shape for trouble in Mexico are Fred Imlay, Dr. C. W. Ihle and Jack McIntosh.

75 years ago

William Fredrickson, farmer living one mile west and two miles north of here, Monday morning found a radio meteorgraph which had traveled by balloon from Baltimore, Md., and had landed by means of a parachute on his farm.

A reward for the safe return of the instrument is offered by the government weather bureau.

Fredrickson said he found the meteorgraph, still attached to a bright red parachute, in a field near his home about the middle of the forenoon.

When the balloon was sent up, is not known. The farmer reported the only date he could find on the instrument was January 9, 1937, which would indicate, despite all doubt, that the balloon was sent up exactly two years ago. Fredrickson said he was sure it had not landed before the day he found it because the parachute and instrument were scarcely soiled.

Written on the side of the pasteboard carton in which the meteorgraph was contained this message:

"This is a radio meteorgraph which has been released by the United States Weather bureau station. It ascended by means of a balloon and at the greatest height the balloon burst, returning the instrument to earth. While in the air it acted as a radio broadcaster of temperature of the air, moisture of the air and also the height in the air through which it passed. This information was received on the ground and it is possible that this instrument may be used again. For this reason, we offer a reward for its return."


A. W. Jones, president of the Central Trust and Savings bank in Cherokee, addressed members of the Rotary club at the regular meeting Monday noon at Hotel Lewis. Jones talked on stocks and bonds, pointing out the difference and the likeness of the two forms of investment.

Rural communities knew little about stocks and bonds prior to the World war, and speaker said. At the time of the war, Liberty Bonds brought a violent introduction to this type of investment to these rural communities, the speaker continued.

Using common stock and first mortgage bonds, but pointing out that there are many types of stocks and bonds besides these two, Jones proceeded to show the difference in the two investments.

The owner of a share of stock in a corporation is a shareholder in the business; has no security; has a voice in the management and his returns are dividends paid from the profits of the corporation, while a bondholder in a corporation is a lender and his bond is secured by a note or mortgage. His return is interest and he has no voice in the management. A share of stock does not mature for one stockholder unless he sells to another person, while a bond has a definite maturity date.

Stocks and bonds are alike in that they are both issued under a contract and are issued under the laws of the land and the articles of incorporation and by-laws of the corporation. The SEC law also affects both forms of issue.

Jones recommended that persons who buy stocks and bonds should buy listed and rated investments and the current reports and advice should be sought since stocks and bonds of questionable value are easily sold by a good salesman.

George Rapson was in charge of the program.

50 years ago

The success of the Wilson story can be attributed to whole community effort. These efforts, of course, were spearheaded by the activities of the Industrial Development Committee of which Geo. P. Rapson is chairman.

On December 10, 1959, letters were written by the chairman of the Industrial Development Committee to several of the meat packers in Chicago, suggesting that Cherokee would be an ideal location for a packing plant.

Early in the year 1960, a public announcement was made that Wilson & Co. had taken an option on 50 acres of ground near another northwest Iowa City. This announcement, of course, spurred the action of the Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

As a result of the announcement, all of the packers were again contacted by the Development Committee of the chamber of Commerce. They were asked if they would give members of the committee an audience on a trip to Chicago to be made later in the spring.

On April 4, Geo. Rapson, A. L. Swanson, and Gunnar Osterling went to Chicago and visited with all of the meat packers and other industries and bankers where it was felt valuable contacts could be made.

The Industrial Development Committee made periodical contacts with these companies by telephone and letter during the ensuing year and a half.

In July of 1961, John Repenning of Wilson & Co. and representatives of the Iowa Development Commission, made a surprise call to Cherokee to make a personal inspection of the industrial sites and to discuss further the advantages of Cherokee as a plant site. On that same trip Repenning and the Iowa Development Commission representatives made calls on several towns in Northwest Iowa for the same purpose.

Because of the trip that had been made to Chicago by the Development Committee of the chamber, Cherokee alone was aware who the prospects were. Repenning at that time stated that they were only looking at several northwest Iowa cities and if interested, would contact us at a later date.

A Phone Call

Early in the fall of 1961, Repenning called Rapson by telephone and said that he would be out the next morning to visit about a plant site. On his arrival in Cherokee, Repenning requested that no one besides Rapson should know about this preliminary investigation about the merits of Cherokee as a plant site. In fact, the several meetings that were held by officials of Wilson & Co. and Rapson were conducted at the Rapson home because of the secrecy requested by Wilson & Co.

On November 1, 1916, an option was taken on 50 acres of land owned by W. W. Steele. This plot of ground is located on the west side of the Illinois Central tracks, directly west o the Municipal Airport, and south of Hallett Construction Co. gravel pit.

At this time it became necessary to acquaint other people in Cherokee to the tentative plans for the Wilson plant. It was necessary to talk to the City Council relative to access roads, expanding the water system, and building a new city disposal plant near the plant site. It was also necessary to contact the Board of Supervisors to ask them to pass a resolution indicating that they will consider building an access road south of the Municipal Airport.

Both the City Council and the Board of Supervisors cooperated 100 per cent with the requests made by Wilson & Co.

In 1962 the plant was designed by Wilson & Co. and bids were asked for the construction of said plant. However, the bids received in December of 1962 were not satisfactory; and, therefore, on January 10, 1963 it was decided by Wilson & Co. to re-design the plant and ask for new bids.

After several extensions because of design change and requests from bidders, the final date for opening the bids was set for December 19, 1963.

Rapson says: "As usual in Cherokee, a community effort was responsible for the Wilson & Co. plant being located in Cherokee. This same community effort was evident at the time the Walnut Grove plant located here. Everyone who had a reason to be involved with the arrangements for the construction of this plant cooperated fully through every phase of the program.

"The Mayor and City Council, City Attorney Loyal Martin, the County Board of Supervisors, the Iowa Development Commission, the Illinois Central Railroad, and many private citizens--all cooperated fully with the Industrial Development Committee in making this plant a reality."

"Cherokee is very fortunate to get this plant; but also, Cherokee is especially fortunate that the plant will be built and operated by one of the most successful packers and the third largest in the industry.

"There will be many benefits to the community by the construction of the multi-million dollar packing plant. Of course, the most beneficial to the community will be the estimated annual payroll of $2 million. It is expected that the number of employees will be in the neighborhood of 500.

Many In Area Towns

"Many of these employees will live in the surrounding towns and it will help establish these towns as a suburban area to the city of Cherokee. Of course, many of them will live in the city of Cherokee; and this will add considerably to the economy of the community.

"The influx of people having business with this plant will bring thousands of dollars into the community each year for goods and services.

"It is not only the payrolls of our industrial plants that benefit our economy, but also the great amount of money that is spent by the people doing business with these industrial plants.

"As a result of the location of this new plant in Cherokee, Cherokee will continue to go forward and should be considered one of the most 'aggressive cities in Iowa."

Rapson concluded by saying, "Even though I have spearheaded the efforts that were necessary to obtain this industry for Cherokee, it would not have been done without the complete cooperation of the individuals that were directly or indirectly involved in this project. An active Chamber of Commerce with active Industrial Development Committee members working hand in hand with the city and county governments is definitely the reason that this project came to a satisfactory conclusion/"

On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, President Robert Grant expresses thanks and appreciation to Rapson.

25 years ago

Jane Walter has the distinction of being the first female manager of the Cherokee Airport. The takeover as manager and fixed base operator was Jan. 1. Her position also entails providing charter service, aircraft rental and flying lessons, said Walter.

It's a change of pace from her previous role as office manager for the Iowa State Education Association, a job she'd held for the past 11 years, and a far cry from her profession as X-ray technician, graduating from the Iowa City School of X-ray Technology.

"I always wanted a business of my own, and when this (managerial) job became available, I applied," said Walter. "I spend a lot of time at the airport anyway. Now I'm doing something I like and getting paid for it," she added.

Five years ago Walter had no idea the way her life would turn. Her husband Mark was a pilot and she didn't want to be left home.

She took lessons, receiving a license for multi-engine instrument flying of a twin aircraft in weather such as experienced last week, however, icing would be very dangerous, she explained. She is presently working on her commercial license and instructor's license which she will have by spring. On long distance flying, Walter and her husband take turns at the controls which makes the trip less tiresome and more enjoyable.

"There's such a feeling of accomplishment to fly," said Walter.

The new manager finds the job challenging. She feels strongly about a student program and a short course for spouses. "Some are afraid to fly with their husbands and others want to know enough to land the plane in case of an emergency," said Walter. "The more you know, the more comfortable you are about flying."

She finds this a very exciting time at the airport because of the million dollar improvements recently completed. The project, in the process for 11 years, was 90 percent federally funded and 10 percent by the city.

It's exciting because now Cherokee can entice larger planes that would normally land at Storm Lake to land here on the new 4,000-foot by 75-foot wide runway, said Walter. Landing at Storm Lake, they'd have two look at the city and only one at Cherokee, now they can have two looks at Cherokee. And she'll help with the planning for the dedication of the airport improvements to be held in conjunction with the flight breakfast on May 21.

"The airport is the gateway to the city, and if the pilots are happy, they spread a good word, it's a positive promotion," said Walter. "We (Cherokee) can compete with towns comparable in size."

According to the new manager, people need to know the businesses that use the airport--it's surprising. It's a busy place and especially in the summertime, people like to come out and just watch the planes. Weekends and before and after work are big times.

Walter said she likes the small town personal-type contact. She has the positive support of her husband in making her business change and 100 percent vote of confidence from her peers.

It won't be all fun and "flying" as she's responsible for removing of snow at the airport, mowing the grass, maintaining the building and bookkeeping.

As in any business, when you're new, you have to give it your all, said Walter. Next year will be better.

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