[Homestead] Grocery Co-ops
don.bowen at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 10 11:49:41 EST 2007
At 1/10/2007, you wrote:
>ANITA, Iowa - The grocery stores that lined Main Street were always key to the
>little farm town of Anita, Iowa.
I grew up in the fifties, not that many miles from there in Missouri. The
small town had about 2000 residents but the surrounding area had many more
on farms of 300 acres or so. The town square was lined with businesses, a
Ben Franklin, Western Auto, IGA, Chevy dealer, bank, NAPA, Rexall,
etc. There were three good sized grocery stores in town,six
eateries, four taverns, cheese factory, four tractor dealers, etc.
I was there last fall and there is just one grocery store, poorly stocked
as it was. Only one tavern, one implement dealer, three eateries. The
square had more empty store fronts than full and none of the names were
national. Population of the town was still around 2000 but many fewer
farmers with a typical farm now closer to 1500 acres. We farmed 250 acres,
my cousin now farms 1600.
As we drove around I remember many small gas stations and what would now be
called mini marts. These places were where farmers would gather for a cold
drink, a bit of gasoline, local news, maybe a roll of bailer wire. Again
this last fall as I drove around all of those little places are gone, I
could not find a one I remembered from the early sixties.
In the fifties there were many abandoned store fronts in the weeds or along
side the road. Even then I had an interest in history and would ask my
father about them. He told of small stores where people on horses could
shop, get mail, use the telephone and later get a few gallons of
gasoline. He told of small blacksmith and repair shops that were there to
help a farmer get back in the field after something broke. He also told of
dances in upstairs dance halls with local bands making up in noise what
they lacked in ability. That all disappeared after the war with better
cars, cheaper gasoline, first radio then television.
My uncles ran a welding and Diesel repair shop in an even smaller
town. They had all the business they could manage and there competition
just down the road. That is all gone and no one in that small town
provides those services, you now have to drive 20 miles. I spoke with
several people who told me of how in the middle of harvest you could get
someone to fix a piece of machinery quickly and now you have to call out an
expensive service truck or take the part to town, eating up several hours.
Don Bowen Awl Knotted Up KI6DIU
My travel journal
I am omnivagant.
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