Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hasty Tasty Team - 1961 Champions

Moline Western Division Champions, Little League, 1961

Front row: Dave Olson, Ray Diehl (MHS 66), Eldon Alters, Larry Eyre (MHS 66), Norm Slead, Jim Medd (MHS 66), Kenny Brock.
Middle row: Scott Culbertson, Tom Culbertson, Trevor Davis, Tom Slead, Steve Olson, Dennis Edwards, Steve Talik, Curt Edwards.
Top row: Manager Bob Diehl, Coach Rick Slead.

Moline Boys Choir Certificate - Kept 50 Years

Left click for more detail.

Larry Eyre's mother kept this certificate for 50 years. The fine print is worth reading - "not for pecuniary profit."

John Robeson, MBC member from the same year, sent some scans which were posted.

Miss Dixon's Fifth Grade Class at Garfield

Front row, from left: Miss Frances Dixon, Martha Getz, Lowell White, Juanita Bowens, Mike Rothweiler, Kathy Pobanz, Parker Brady, Christine Arrington.
Middle row: Johnny Schneck, Barb Stevens (I think), Greg Miller, Patty Vaught, Bob Millman, Patty Puck, Brian Swanson (sadly, he died the last days of 9th grade at John Deere, hit by a car), Billie Seesland.
Top row: Beverly Trevor, Tom Hansen MD, Jeneanne Ingleson, Larry Eyre, Barbara Williams, Steve Warren, Lynetta Leach, Eddie Carther (RIP).

Mary Copeland's Sixth Grade Class at Garfield

Front row, from left: Jim Kron, unknown girl, Jack Ries,Rebecca McIntyre, Steve Hall, Jenal Venckus, Steve Warren, Mrs. Copeland.
Middle row: Kathy Pollard, Brian Swanson, Patty Puck, Billy Black, Stephanie Rahn, Mike Fleck, Patty Vaught.
Top row: Juanita Bowens, Linda Beaston, Bona Anderberg, Lynetta Leach, Larry Eyre, Greg Keller, Terry Thompson.

Liz Copeland (MHS 68) recently sent a photo from her John Deere Junior High class. This one features her mother's class, future MHS 66. Another photo shows Liz with her mother.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Moline Boys Choir - 1960s

John Robeson sent this photo of the Moline Boys Choir singing in the 1960s, 50 years ago today.

Bruce can be located by looking above Fred Swanson's head and a little to the left.

John is the redhead on the far right, middle row.

In the future, I hope to have more information and photos about the Moline Boys Choir.

John Deere Junior High

Most Garfield graduates went to John Deere Junior High, which was reasonably close to my house. Some of us were split off and exiled at Coolidge, due to crowding from the Boomers. Later, we also had split shifts at the high school. Liz Copeland sent this photo of her John Deere class, graduating in 1968 from Moline High School. I wondered if I could find something about John Deere on YouTube. The first link was a clip of the late Leo Brunner as coach at John Deere. He had a photographic memory of all the sports stats of all the professional sports teams - a real phenomenon and a very nice guy.

Mary Copeland, Garfield Teacher

Liz Copeland posed with her mother Mary Copeland,
who taught at Garfield Grade School.

My mother Gladys Jackson, Mary Copeland, and Miss Maynard shared the sixth grade classes at Garfield. There was some switching around for English, gym, and singing.

The teachers' families knew each other well from the teachers' meetings, daily life in the school, and community activities.

The Garfield teachers loved their students, cared about their well being, and wished for their future success. I remember all of them fondly.

Moline Boys Choir - Fred Swanson

Linda Nelson Pearson scanned this from a program. I added some color so you can find her son. Left-click for a much better view of the photo.

Moline Boys Choir at the St. Louis arch.

The Moline Boys Choir has been famous for many years.

I remember Dr. Fred Swanson auditioning us in the dreary basement of Garfield. Needless to say, I did not make the cut. I remember Larry Eyre, Bruce Johnson, and Greg Keller joining. I think Larry was a Whiffenpoof at Yale, too.

The choir has a Facebook page with a faded photo on it. Good grief - they can do better than that for a famous Moline institution. At the moment I cannot find an old photo of the choir or one of Fred Swanson.

Initial searching showed that Fred Swanson graduated from Augustana College and had a big impact on music in the Quad-Cities. I hope to post more in the future, with some help from Moliners.

From Moline Boys Choir to Jim Bakker.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Take Me Back to the 60s

Here is the link to an interesting presentation.

Standing Tall in 1918

This photo was taken in 1918.

It shows 18,000 men preparing for war in a training camp at Camp Dodge, Iowa .

Saturday, February 20, 2010

John Getz, Ken Berry, - Say Hello

John Getz is known for Blood Simple, The Fly, and many other roles.
Dr. Pascall did his early dental work.

Ken Berry is known for F Troop, Mayberry RFD, and dancing.


GJ - John and Ken, when you are Googling your names or "Moline" one night and land on this blog, send in a comment. I know someone from Hollywood is often reading Moline Memories.

It would be fun to hear from our celebrities.

Connecting to Our Hometown:
Reunions and Facebook:
Moline, Mayberry, Brigadoon

When I read about Ken Berry on his website, many details about Moline echoed what others have said and I have thought:

"Ken Berry was already five-eighths of the way to Mayberry when he was born in Moline, Ill., on November 3, 1933. Kenneth Ronald Berry was the second child (joining sister Dona Rae) of Bernice and Eugene Darrell Berry, who at the time of Ken’s birth was an accountant for John Deere Company."

Early career:
"When I got the job and it took me away from home, that must have been very hard for my parents," Ken says. "But they were very supportive and it was really a thrilling experience for me. After the Horace Heidt show, I came back and finished high school in Moline. I used to drive up to Chicago once a week and take a voice lesson and a tap lesson in the same studio. But that didn’t last very long. After graduation, I went back out to California to look for work. And I didn’t get much at all."

Mayberry as Brigadoon
About Mayberry, Ken says, "It’s a wonderful place to visit and people would fantasize about living there. It’s a place like Brigadoon that shows up every hundred years. It’s a place you dream about living, but you know it’s fantasy and you don’t care."

Mayberry Like Moline
He adds, "I grew up among people very much like that -- a bigger town, but not much bigger -- and the neighborhood was very much like that and the people were very much like those characters. And it was fun for me to visit, too. It was one of my favorite half hours ever on television and that was long before I met Andy."


GJ - My wife Chris and I talk about how much we enjoyed the 40th reunion of the MHS 66 class. She has always felt a part of my class, even though she met them after graduation, when we were at Augustana.

We have had a number of discussions with people on Facebook. The common theme is how pleasant people were to each other in Moline. It is no surprise that Ken Berry had the same experience earlier.

My father knew many people from work and from graduating from MHS. We had a lapboard where all his classmates inscribed their names with a woodburner. All his classmates seemed to be named Eric Johnson, John Ericson, Eric Ericson, John Johnson, Sven Svenson, Sven Ericson, Eric Svenson, John Svenson, etc.

Once we were discussing a local politician, and dad said, "I cannot believe he would be like that. His father was one of my teachers. His word was his bond."

With my mother in the Moline school system and my father in business, I was connected to everyone - one way or another. The kindly attitude was expressed in many different ways. When I went to Augustana College, a bike ride away, my mother's classmates were there.

The daughter of Dr. Andreen taught education at Augustana. "Are you going to be a teacher, too?" she asked. I said, "No, never."

Later I learned that Dr. Andreen left his position as a noted professor at Yale to become president of a threadbare college on the banks of the Mississippi. The little portable college, which barely survived, has become one of the best liberal arts colleges in America. Looking back, we can see how much people sacrificed to create a better life for future generations. I wonder if the same will be said about us Boomers.

I can imagine Ken Berry recognizing the fictional characters of Mayberry being so much like Moliners. I will have to write about them too.

Some future posts will include the Flood, and the burial place of Charles Dickens' son.

Brigadoon: "It's Almost Like Being in Love."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Moline - Built for Manufacturing

This is the Moline factory in the 1880's.

Moline takes advantage of location

By Jonathan Turner, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

MOLINE -- The Mississippi River and its location along it made Moline. Just over 150 years after its founding, the city works to pay homage to that past as a way to brighten its future.

"Transportation by river was something people were looking for," Barb Sandberg, chairman of the Moline Historic Preservation Commission, said of the city origins. "It was easier than hauling over dirt roads. It was not necessarily for the aesthetics, as we look at it today -- the entertainment, the beauty."

In 1838 -- 10 years before Moline officially incorporated as a town -- David B. Sears and others started building a brush dam near the present 15th Street.

The dam helped power a sawmill, flour mill, machine shop and foundry -- all built by Sears. It also furnished power for a small furniture factory and helped attract blacksmith John Deere, who established a plow factory on the banks of the Mississippi in 1847.

Sears then built a second dam from the current Arsenal Island to the small Benham's Island. On the north end of this dam, he built another sawmill, a planing mill, a shingle factory and furniture works.

"You had a cheap source of power and coal, and that's the essence for everything you need for manufacturing," local historian Kathleen Seusy said. "That's what built the place."

Augustana College professor Roald Tweet has said that Deere "could not have chosen a better location on the map of the United States" than Moline. The Vermont-born Deere moved here from Grand Detour, Ill.

In the 1840s, there were almost no roads or railroads, so the only way of transporting things was by water. The Mississippi River was the main artery for national water transportation, able to connect to 42 of the 48 contiguous states, Mr. Tweet said.

One reason the railroad came to Moline in 1854 was that this is the narrowest part of the Mississippi between Minneapolis and New Orleans. In 1856, the railroad crossed the river and headed West.

Moline was ideally situated on the river also because this east-west segment is the youngest of the entire river, Mr. Tweet said. With Arsenal Island, it created a small channel, Sylvan Slough, which was useful for power.

In 1852, Moline already had 172 structures -- in what today is the downtown area -- including residences, schools and churches.

After the Civil War, a 20-foot high, half-mile long lateral wall was built on the Moline shore, creating 56 sources of power. The Arsenal and city were run by what was called "The Great Wall of Moline."

In addition to raw materials like abundant coal, Moline benefited from a large supply of available workers, which attracted people like Deere, Mr. Tweet said.

"So the farm equipment manufacturers clustered together for power and ambience," he said. "Many of these immigrants were New Englanders. They were Yankees with a strong Protestant work ethic, which Deere shared with them."

Deere and other farm-implement manufacturers helped give Moline an international reputation as an agricultural center and the nickname "Plow City." Moline in the 19th century was also a bustling industrial center, with businesses such as Moline Wagon Company, Williams & White, and Dimock, Gould & Company.

However, as the years passed, the mighty river's role in the city's history was taken for granted until the 1980s, when Moline began capitalizing on that history and scenic location. First came the develpment of Ben Butterworth Parkway along the river.

Now the site on River Drive where Deere had his original factory, now called John Deere Commons, again is in the spotlight, this time as a recreation and tourist center.

Many Deere & Co. buildings were demolished to make room for The Mark of the Quad Cities, Radisson Hotel, John Deere Pavilion, Deere office/retail complex and Centre Station.

"We wanted to save the history and tell the history at the same time," Renew Moline executive director Jay Preszler said of the Commons. The thrust behind the recent development was to honor Moline's heritage and ensure the prosperity of The Mark, which opened in 1993.

The city's oldest remaining commercial buildings are in the 400 and 500 blocks of 12th and 13th streets. The Birdsell Chiropractic building at 1201 and 1209 5th Ave. dates from 1845 and was a grocery store until the 1920s.

Some of the historic buildings that have been restored include Model Printers (1872), Finney's Bar & Grill (1884), Renew Moline (1885), Killir Outdoor Sports (1889), Gatsby's (1896), Sydney's (1897), Moline Club (1912), LeClaire Apartments (1922), C'est Michele (1922), and Bent River Brewing Company (1922).

Perhaps the oldest continuously operated downtown business is Lagomarcino's, which has occupied a 1902 building on 5th Avenue since 1918.


Tractor books.

John Deere Heritage

Throw snowballs at the deer with antlers on fire.

Old Downtown Moline

Moline was a small town to have electric trolleys.
When my father plugged in his electric razor, the trolley
slowed down.

New York Store

Block and Kuhl, later Carson, Pirie, Scott

Shopping in downtown Moline was full of variety, a touch of big city glamor with the large department stores. However, the short-sighted city fathers wanted their downtown parking meter money. The shortage of parking and the Amazonian meter maids help drive retail shoppers uptown. The shoppers still had to walk blocks in those crowded shopping center lots. But they saved their nickels, and that counted in parsimonious Moline.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

View of Old Moline

First Lutheran Church is prominent in the foreground,
on 1230 Fifth Avenue.
Melo Cream was across the street, 1313 Fifth Avenue.
Lagomarcino's is still at 1422 Fifth Avenue.

I wonder what other prominent buildings can be identified in this photograph.

The LeClaire Hotel appears in the distance.


Dave Coopman has left a new comment on your post "View of Old Moline":

The building in the very foreground is the service garage and the former home of Sexton Ford Sales. Just beyond the chimney on the Sexton building is the old Kittler Motors (the Pontiac dealer before Harrelson Buick took the brand over). Across 5th Avenue from Kittler's, and on the corner, is the old Kohler Law Offices. Today it's Dave Birdsell's chiropractic clinic. Eclectic buildings, but indeed a vibrant downtown.


GJ - Going out the door, on our block, a Mexican restaurant, Ydeens Men's Wear, the Red Carpet Club, were to the right, with First Lutheran looming catercorner. (We always said catty-corner, in the Moline dialect.)

The Shell station was across the street. It is now boarded up. The owners and employees were always at the shop. The owners knew Dad and talked business with him. The employees flirted with teen-aged girls who often worked at the shop.

Leaving the shop, on our left, was Paulson Electric, then WQUA upstairs, a restaurant, and a corner bar with novelty items in the window.

When we went out the back door of the doughnut shop, we saw the industrial buildings of Deere with a fading, leaping dear painted across the back.

Nearby, toward the river, was an auto repair shop where Louis Bellson's brother worked. That may be the same repair shop, showing on Google maps.

Lagomarcino's was just down Fifth Avenue, so we often saw the owner at our shop, having coffee and doughnuts.

My father graduated from Moline High School, and my mother taught in the Moline system, so the shop was a great place for social networking. Long after we grew up, family friends stopped in for reports on where everyone lived. I heard back, although Dad could not remember the names very well. "There's this guy who knows you from school. I can't think of his name. Oh, you know who it is." GJ - "Give me just one hint, Dad." Eventually we would sort it out. "That's the name!"

A number of people have been commenting on the buildings and their memories of Moline. Downtown Moline seemed to need a lot of work in those days, but it is fun to remember the quirky buildings and interesting characters. More on that later.

First Lutheran Church, was one of the earliest established in the Augustana Synod

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How To Talk Moline

  1. Howzacome? - Good substitute for Why? "Howzacome you bought that?"
  2. Pop - For the last time, it is pop, not soda. "Have any pop?"
  3. Okey Dokey - Illinois dialect for OK.
  4. Warshington - The capital of the US. "Those idiots in Warshington..."
  5. Warshing machine - An appliance used to warsh clothes.
  6. Ice Box - Refrigerator. "Warsh your hands and get the milk from the ice box."
  7. Catty-corner means diagonally, across the street. "First Moline is catty-corner from the shop."

Additional entries are welcome.


Kenneth Zeigler commented:

"Wait a minute: I never said warsh! But I recognize 'pop' and 'catty corner.' My grandma, who was from Moline, said 'icebox,' but I grew up in the era of the refrigerator (she also hoovered the rug). Also, add to ravine, terrace, etc., 'boulevard,' which means what people elsewhere call the parkway. I don't remember the black squirrels... Let's see...there's 'davenport,' meaning sofa..."


Dave Coopman
How about "grarge" for one... you know, the place you park your car overnight. And... is it the Dis-PATCH or is it the DIS-patch. Come to think of it, we used to call it the "Daily Disgrace."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Map of the Quad-Cities

Left-click to enlarge.

Moline Postcard

Linen Postcard from 1943 showing various landmarks of the time. Each letter encapsulates scenes from the city:

M -- Fifth Avenue Building and the Home of John Deere (now location of the Mark)
O -- Moline Public Hospital and Lutheran Hospital (both gone)
L -- Moline Swimming Pool and the Government Bridge (both gone)
I --   Sacred Heart Church and Scottish Rite Cathedral (now called Scottish Rite Center)
N -- Iowa - Illinois Memorial Bridge (the 1935 span) and Fifth Avenue
E -- Post Office and the Le Claire Hotel

This nifty page was copied from this MHS Reunion website, Darrell and Betty Hagberg.

Websites and Blogs Devoted to Moline and the Quad-Cities

Moline High School Alumni

Class of 1953

Class of 1957

Class of 1959

Class of 1959 Photo Album

Class of 1961

Class of 1962

Facebook, Class of 1965 Photos

Class of 1966 Reunion Blog

Class of 1967

Class of 1968

Class of 1969

Class of 1986

Class of 1996 Blog

QC Online

All Area High School Links

Quad-Cities: Moline, Rock Island, Davenport, Bettendorf

All About Moline - From Absolute Astronomy

Captain Ernie's Showboat

John Deere Attractions

Historic Scenes of Moline

Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Moline School District

Blackhawk College

Augustana College

Augustana Heritage

Rock Island County Historical Society

QC Century of Progress

Rock Island County Geneology

Penny Postcards from Moline and Rock Island County

Food, Entertainment, Media




Web Cameras

Quad-Cities Online

QC Times

Quad-Cities Map

Progress 98

Superb Scrapbook of Moline Images

MHS 68 Scrapbook

Coolidge Anniversary, 1940-1965

Butterworth Center - A Cottage for John Deere's Daughter

The organ is largely hidden behind a screen.

"The 1909 organ in Butterworth Center has just undergone a major restoration. As one of the largest (if not, the largest) residential organ in the Midwest, it was quite a sight to see it taken apart piece by piece and transferred to Buffalo, Iowa where the restoration was done. The last restoration was done in the 1930s."

Katherine Butterworth was the first lady of Butterworth Center.

This painting is on the ceiling of the library at the Butterworth Center. A mirror on a table allows everyone to look at the painting without severe neck strain. I remember looking over the details of the painting.

How many times did we go to Butterworth Center? For small children, it was a special place to explore until our parents pinned us down. The mansion was a natural setting for chamber music and other events. I went to music events at Butterworth and a flute concert at the new John Deere Administration Center.

The Deere Family mansions were donated to the city, so we enjoyed many outsized benefits for a small town.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fifth Avenue Building - Doctors and Dentists

"Its height and Art Deco style make the 1930 Fifth Avenue Building an impressive statement on the Avenue. It was the last of the large office buildings built in the historic district. Its construction was just getting underway when the Great Depression hit, but local investors pooled their resources and continued construction, bringing jobs to construction workers who would otherwise have been out of work and a major new office and commercial block to the downtown. Over the years it has been a prestigious address for doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, and other professionals."

I was looking for old photos and pictures of Moline when I found the Fifth Avenue Building. The building seemed elegant, with its elevator operator and many floors. Chicago was much more glamorous and impressive than Moline, but we had our own little Chrysler Building in Art Deco style.

I remember that building well. My dental work at Dr. Paschall's office prit-near paid off the mortgage.

Dr. Paschall was so good that all my future dentists commented on his great work. They said when they first looked into my mouth, "Who did this dental work?"

Dr. Paschall always let us have a free gift at the end of the visit. We got to open a drawer and take anything we wanted. I picked gum once, but found out it was sugar-free and chemically related to road-tar. I would take home Japanese handcuffs and other trinkets. Ann Paschall was in our class, MHS 1966. She is in the Garfield photos already posted.

Don Servine's father, a dentist, also had an office in this building. Don graduated in 1966, but he died far too young of cancer.

Details from the Fifth Avenue Building


Marie Flatley has left a new comment on your post "Fifth Avenue Building - Doctors and Dentists":

My father had his office there, too, from the mid-40s until he built his new office on 15th Street.


Food map: "The Fifth Avenue Building is across the street from the old library. Fannie Mae is another block down. Then two blocks to Lagomarcino's - yum!"


Kris Streed commented:

"I don't remember Grossmans, but I do remember the La Rue Store and Mosenfelders Men's Store, Wahlgreens, Kresges, The New York Store and Block and Kuhl (later Carson Pierie Scott), Josephson's and Carlsons. And then just a little farther down, El Pavito's, which is now on 27th street and 23rd. Ave. Which one is the Reliance Bldg? Is that where Fannie Mae's was?"


GJ - I also recall VanderVennett Clothing. Shetter-Fude Furniture was near Melo Cream. I believe there was another furniture store nearby, plus another men's store near the shop. We had a string of Mexican restaurant owners in the space next to the shop. That became a uniform store, which expanded into the Melo Cream space. My father never had a lease and bypassed several offers to buy the building. He retired and began making candy from home with his old equipment.

Dave Coopman:

"Wow, did you bring back some memories with some of those names. If I remember correctly, Grossman's was next to the W.T. Grant store. LaRose was next door to Farrell and Farrell Men's Wear. Fitzgibbons Men's Wear was across the street from Farrell's. Next door to the Fifth Avenue Bldg. was VanGoor's Record Shop and next door to that was Fitzgibbons. Carson's was in the Reliance Bldg. Phillips Furniture was across the street from Melo-Cream. El Pavito was pretty much next door to Melo-Cream. Ydeen's Men's Wear was on the corner across from the Shell station and Adolph's Taco House was on the corner across from Ydeen's. Remember the donut-making machine in the corner window of Kresge's? And, of course, how could one forget where you caught the bus to go up 15th Street hill... in front of Shiff's Shoes."


Barbara Hawotte commented:

" mean the LaRose shop.  Josephson's was nestled between Kresege's on the corner...and Woolworth's which was larger.  I went to work at Woolworth's one week after I turned 16. They had EVERYTHING!   You could get keys made, blinds cut, goldfish, turtles and birds.  You cold have jewelry? engraved, candy bought that was weighed by the smallest fraction of a pound.  There was a bakery where you could get bread sliced thin or wide....and then the 'fountain'.  Pop an orange balloon in October to determine the cost of pumpkin pie.  I hated it when I was put behind the fountain....but I got tips and it really did become a lot of fun for us that worked there.  Being a student, I did Monday and Friday nights and Saturdays."


Linda Anderson commented on your link:

"Malcolms was a tiny jewelry store across from Josephsens (with the clock). Got all my charms there for the bracelet. And RE: the luggage store, wasn't it just the Luggage Shop? I know I must have bought 50 purses there through the years. Downtown Moline was so cool then and a big deal to ride the bus downtown (down 27th Street) after school to the library. Greg this is fun, so keep up the blog! "


GJ - I bought the engagement and wedding ring for Chris at Malcomb's. She bought my wedding band there. The elderly owner helped us pick out something in our price range. I did not have the cash that day, so he tossed her rings into an envelope. Chris thought that was funny. I redeemed them soon after.


Kris Streed commented:

"In case anyone is interested, Dr. Streed did my teeth.  :-)"


Linda Anderson commented:

"Hah! Did you get a discount?!"

Kris Streed commented:

"You're right Barbara, LaRose Shoppe it was and I also remember getting small bags of candy at Woolworths that had been weighed. And, I got my goldfish and a turtle there as well.  Also remember in high school Mickey Johnson bought a purple plastic ring down there and a bunch of us trooped down and also bought purple plastic rings. :-)   Loved the fountain too.  Kath, I don't remember a drug store in the 5th Ave. Bldg.--Rexall???  Linda, did you know Irene Snell?  She went to the Gospel Temple too and worked for my Dad.  Greg--you have 771 friends?  I don't know that many people!"


GJ - 775 now. I make it a rule - never kid about dental work - ever! :)
Kathleen Wilcox Kapetanakis commented:

"Ya know, I think it was a Rexall. Don't you all wish just once we could walk downtown Moline again like it used to be. Linda, did you grow up in Moline? It was all I knew til I moved away with husband. I think it was just friendly, small and really all we knew. "


Moline Public Library

Moline was the first city to name its library
after the benefactor, Carnegie.

Moline invested in a library early in its history, but the old Carnegie library was not the first. Moline was founded in 1848 and incorporated in 1872. Soon after incorporation, Moline passed a library tax and established one of the first libraries in the state at 310 15th Street.

In 1901, W. A. Jones of the Moline Daily News wrote a letter to steel baron Andrew Carnegie, asking for funds for a new library. The first one was overcrowded and forced people to cross railroad tracks for their reading.

Moline was turned down by Carnegie but later received $40,000 from him toward the new library. Our library was the first to have Carnegie's name engraved above the entrance.

I remember being dropped off at the library, where I spent many hours. Downtown Moline was good for many things - the library, Fannie Mae candy, Dr. Paschall's office, and the library.

The basement was reserved for the children's library. As I recall, it was paved with that sheet linoleum so popular in public buildings at the time. The linoleum--and the cleaning compound used--gave those floors a distinctive aroma: practical, easy to maintain. No one worried about a child getting sick or having lower GI problems on that flooring.

The library was magical, from the massive Carnegie entrance to the stereo viewers in boxes. As we grew older, the Carnegie named became associated with history and we were part of that history, if only in a minor way. The Homestead Strike helped pay for the bank-like building where I spent so many mornings.

The stereo viewers were great fun, even if they were only in black and white. A metal frame allowed stiff, curved double-photographs to be mounted in the viewer, where everything took on a 3-D appearance. We had some at home and at Garfield. The cards now sell for $50 and $75. Like the Mickey Mouse watches we made fun of, those cards should have been kept in a safety deposit box for our retirement fund.

I went through the library collection and read every book I could. The most fun was the Freddy the Pig stories, which are being revived to some extent. I read them to our son.

The collections of classic fairy tales were easy to keep track of, by color. I took out each color and read them all.

I loved the Heinlein science fiction books, reading every one.

Later, when my mother wanted to keep me busy during her art classes, she dropped me off at a nearby public library. I found out how much fun it was to go through old magazines. If Life magazine was interesting at home, it was even more so for the WWII years, and the Great Depression. The Depression had to be great, because my parents never stopped talking about it.

New libraries, like new bookstores, lack the fascination of the old.

This stereo photo viewer would have been a better investment
than Enron was.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lyda Rose - From Moline


My favorite musical is "The Music Man" because it reminds me of my hometown area. We were always crossing the river to see people and places in Iowa.

Meredith Willson grew up in Mason City, Iowa, and he created this musical as a tribute to the people he knew. Many characters and names are from Mason City. The song "Lyda Rose" includes the name of his favorite aunt Lyda and his mother (Rose). In the musical, Lyda Rose Quackenbush hailed from Moline.

Willson, played the flute, like me, but much better than I. He joined Sousa's band and played in Toscanini's New York Philharmonic. He was far more than a song writer, composing symphonies and leading orchestras in Hollywood for the music industry. 

Willson's big moment in TV history was a flop, so he had the time to write his first musical, which went through 32 revisions before opening as a smash hit. Robert Preston created the character of Harold Hill (whose real name was Greg) on stage and in film, making any other interpretation seem amateurish.

In small town America, which still exists, people trust each other and help each other out. Recently my car went belly up at a Shell after an earlier jump start and a quick fix at a Goodyear store. A man stopping at the gas station drove us to his house, grabbed his tools, drafted his son, and drove back with us to diagnose and fix the battery. They installed it faster than AutoZone could check me out. He zoomed away in his truck, stopped, jumped out and came back. "Pray for me. I am starting a new business." 

Moline was like that. I developed a flat at midnight, working at Melo Cream. The Shell station across the street was closed and I was a new driver. One customer came out, changed the tire in a few minutes, and was back drinking coffee at the counter. He was uncomfortable about being thanked.

I am having a great time blogging about Moline. I keep looking up websites and pictures, learning more about those memories, hearing from classmates about their similar experiences. 

I remember two Moline girls who were good friends in the flute section in our band. One is follower on this blog now. The other one lives in...Mason City. They recently got in contact via Facebook.

By coincidence my wife Chris was a librarian in South Bend, and later went to library school in Columbus. I often called her Marian the Librarian. She went to my family reunion in Iowa once, and we laughed about how the musical described them all so well:

Iowa Stubborn

Oh, there's nothing halfway
About the Iowa way to treat you,
When we treat you
Which we may not do at all.
There's an Iowa kind of special
Chip-on-the-shoulder attitude.
We've never been without.
That we recall.
We can be cold
As our falling thermometers in December
If you ask about our weather in July.
And we're so gosh darn stubborn
We could stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye.
But what the heck, you're welcome,
Join us at the picnic.
You can eat your fill
Of all the food you bring yourself.
You really ought to give Iowa a try.
Provided you are contrary,
We can be cold
As our falling thermometer in December
If you ask about our weather in July.
And we're so gosh darn stubborn
We can stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye.
But we'll give you our shirt
And a back to go with it
If your crops should happen to die.

So, what the heck, you're welcome,
Glad to have you with us.

Farmer and Wife:
Even though we may not ever mention it again.

You really ought to give Iowa
Hawkeye Iowa
Dubuque, Des
Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown,
Mason City, Keokuk, Ames,
Clear Lake
Ought to give Iowa a try!

I read some blog and Facebook comments about Moline Memories to my wife the other day. She said wistfully, "You Moliners really stick together."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

From Kym Gram

I have been enjoying those Moline Memories. When I get time, maybe over the week-end, I will try to find pictures for you.

Here are a few memories that came to my mind I don't care if you put this on your site. Maybe it will jog others memories too,

  • PX restaurant on 23rd ave.
  • Cozy Corner by Coolidge
  • Omar man
  • Fuller brush man
  • Snow cone truck
  • Parades on 23rd Ave in the summer.
  • All the fun things to do with parks and rec. at Roosevelt in the summer.
  • Bible School @ Roosevelt.
  • Winning Miss Roosevelt and losing at Miss Playground. I still have my ribbon, it no longer goes around my chest!
  • Royal American Shows
  • Moline Pool and Riverside park
  • You could walk everywhere and not worry about "bad" stuff happing to you.
  • Dispatch paper boy. Ours was one of the Pulford boys.
  • Starlight park
  • There was also a drug store on 23rd Ave. that had a real soda fountain.
  • My Mom's dress shop and beauty shop both on 23rd Ave.
  • The record store where you could by a 45 for less then a dollar.
  • The five and dime store.
  • Shopping downtown Moline
  • My favorite was Moline Library, there was just something comforting to about that building.
  • First Christian Church Moline
  • Varsity drive-in
  • Going to the movies at the Paradise and one over on the Iowa side.
  • Drive in movies or passion pits as my Mom called them!
  • Growing up and loving it on 33rd street. 2417-33rd St to be exact
  • The park size swing set my Dad built for the backyard.
  • Playing kickball
  • Looking for 4 leaf clovers in Karen Patronagio's backyard.
  • Coolidge Jr. High and feeling like a dork.
  • MHS and feeling like a bigger dork.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Neighborhood

My mother posed with my sister, about 1946.
Wharton Field House is in the background.
That tiny elm tree behind them grew into
one of our large climbing trees.
This is on 18 Street A, 
looking across 23rd Avenue.

My neighborhood around 18 Street A seemed unchanging. My childhood friends lived in the same homes when we graduated from Moline High.

Across 23rd Avenue was Wharton Field House, where we walked for all the major events: basketball, the Harlem Globetrotters, Mr. Youngdahl's funeral, joint religious services, and professional wrestling. Browning Field was good for all the track meets and football.

Across the street was Ken Wiley's home. He was a year older and prone to adventure, more like Huckleberry Finn. If we went to the apple orchard a block away, he wanted a ride in the little cable car constructed to carry apples across the ravine. I got to pull the rope. But when the car got stuck halfway, Ken was stranded in the air and we had to yell for help from the owner. We learned that green apples were not poison and did not make us sick.

Near Ken's house, on 23rd Avenue, was the DeKerrel home. Ruby babysat me and Adolph drew signs for Melo Cream. They always seemed to be smiling when I was young, and they still were when I took my wife over to meet them, many years later.

Next to Ken Wiley's house was a paved alley that ran two blocks to the Hasty Tasty Restaurant. Connected to that building was a barber shop. The barber was very cool - he owned a Corvette. My mother cut our hair to save money, so I did not see a barber until I made my own money in the bakery business - washing dishes.

The Hasty Tasty was the uptown gathering place, ideally situated near Garfield Grade School and the Wharton/Browning Field sports center. Whitey's was also close, so all our gustatory needs were met in one location, including Country Style iced milk.

Darlene Gabriel's house was right across the alley from ours. We could back out of our garage and into their car parked in the alley. I came very close once, but that is another story. Darlene's father always grew tomatoes and gave them away. My father loved garden ripened tomatoes, so I carried them home when Ernie was picking them. I also delivered Melo Creams to the Gabriels and everyone else around. We often had extras that my father wanted given away.

If I needed a tool, I could always go to Mr. Block's home, next door to us. He would carefully unlock his garage, pick out the tool, and make sure I brought it back. Neighbors helped each other out and kids ran errands.

Tom and Rick Hanson lived farther down the alley, so Tom and I often got together. Years later, Tom and Darlene got rides to school with us when my mother taught at Coolidge. Tom is in that early sledding picture my mother got into the Dispatch.
Tom talked about becoming a dentist, but became a doctor, a cardiologist, I believe.

The Malmsteds lived on that stretch of 23rd Avenue. He owned a wood-paneled car, which I thought was exotic. Mrs. Malmsted ran a hair salon in their home, so my mother walked over for perms.

The alley had a y-shape, I think. The Pobanz family lived farther down on the y. The alley emptied onto 18 Street B, another example of municiple creativity. We had friends on B at various times. The Lodico family boasted two sets of twins with a solo in-between, five boys in all. We saw the two youngest (Dave and Dennis) at various times. We saw one of the older brothers in fast-pitch softball games.

Terry Carlson also lived on B. He became a basketball star at Moline High.

Someone owned a St. Bernard dog on that alley, safely held within a large fenced yard - when fences were almost unknown. One of the dares was to send a kid across the large yard without encountering the slobbering, friendly dog. We got one younger kid to try. The results were truly disgusting. The dog intercepted him, held him by placing huge paws on his shoulders, and slobbered buckets of canine saliva on his head until the owner rescued the kid. The boy had to go home to wash up and change clothes, doubtless eager to blame us for daring him.

On big adventures, we headed for the wild area behind 18th Street B. We could sled down a hill behind one house. That ravine had a place we called our cave. It was just a hollowed out area in the bank, but that was enough to fuel our imaginations. We often replayed WWII, calling each other Schweinhund and machine gunning each other from behind bushes and trees.

The ravine featured a real creek. Our parents tried to explain that the water was not exactly pure, with septic tanks still being used. The water was usually cold and shallow, one more hazard to face in our adventures. If we walked the creek far enough, it brought us to a dairy farm. Once we took all the adults on that trip in the winter, walking on the frozen crick.

The people who had access to that crick and ravine were amazingly patient with the neighborhood kids. They had a daughter (much older than we were) who owned a horse. She let us pet him and feed him carrots and apples.

Across 23rd Avenue lived the Reischman family. He owned a gas station and Cindy was about my age. We saw them fairly often.

Our house had a large yard, so all the neighborhood children were welcome to play there. My father once said, "I don't care if they pound the grass down to the soil. They are having a good time."

We had three elm trees, good for climbing. Each brother had his own tree, so we often fussed over territory. "He was climbing in my tree today!" - that was a common complaint. The backyard maple tree was too gigantic for climbing, but it was good for leaf-raking and curb-side leaf-burning.

We kept a large metal tub in the garage. We filled that with water and hosted a neighborhood swim on hot summer days.

We also had one of the first TVs, so the living room was lined with kids watching cartoons in black and white on a small screen. The spell-binding nature of TV made our parents eager to send us outdoors "to blow the stink off."

We also had a great comic book collection, heavy on Superman and Classics Illustrated.
Fresh money meant the ability to visit Whitey's or Country Style, and the chance to buy more comics at the Rexall Drug Store. One friend from the neighborhood (on the walk to Garfield) wrote a few years ago and said, "Remember reading all those comics?"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Moline High School Through the Years

Moline High School, around 1916

MHS in 1940, still on the 16th Street hill,
overlooking the Mississippi River Valley.

If someone in the family was a teacher,
the name Allendale often came up.
This mansion was donated to Moline to use for education.

MHS moved close to East Moline, in a new $4 million campus,
complete with a swimming pool, in the 1960s.

The old MHS building became SSU - Sixteenth Street University, or Blackhawk Community College. When the new Blackhawk campus was built, Beling Engineering bought the old building.

Many MHS graduates turned back time when they went into higher education, using their parents' school building to start college.

Photos - courtesy of John Robeson.

Click here for an interesting history of Moline schools, created by the Class of 1968.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

M - O - L - I - N - E !
Mary Gail Laverenz

Do you remember Mary Gail Laverenz back-flipping across the basketball court at Wharton Field House as the crowd spelled out M - 0 - L - I - N - E !

The roar of the crowd was deafening.

A photo would be great.

I recall at the time that only one other person did the same acrobatic cheer, Joline from Moline. I have no other information than that vague memory.

I found Mary Gail's name listed for a birthday at Trinity Lutheran Church, Moline. Let me know if I have the right person.

She is on the cast recording of this Broadway show.

Wharton had that monstrous scoreboard hanging over the court. Now it is gone. Who can forget how it blocked the view and seemed to limit play?

Often Repeated Sayings of Our Parents

I wonder how many of us heard these things, repeatedly, when they were growing up:

  1. Close that door. Are you trying to heat the whole outdoors?
  2. Stop leaving the lights on. The electric bill was almost $25 last month!
  3. You don't realize how spoiled you are. When I was your age...
  4. Eat your food. People are starving in Europe. (1950s)
  5. We are going downhill, just like the Roman Empire.
  6. Stop hitting your brother.
  7. I think a tornado went through your room.
  8. Go outside and play, blow the stink off.
  9. Who put the lettuce behind the curtain? I found it cleaning up. Greg?

Add more in the comments section.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Norman Rockwell in the Home

Norman Rockwell - Family Tree

Norman Rockwell defined our week as I grew up in Moline. We always received the Saturday Evening Post, so we looked forward to his covers. The same magazine covers were kept by our teachers and framed for our classrooms, so the humor continued. In doctor's offices, I still see the famous illustration of the boy examining the doctor's diploma as he awaits his shot. The humor of the painting dispels the anxiety...somewhat.

We also received Boy's Life, another large and well written magazine. Rockwell painted for them as well. Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts were big in that era. I had a uniform, handed down, and peaked at the level of Wolf, with one gold and one silver arrow. I quickly ran out of awards which could be earned without going outdoors. Reading the Post was more interesting.

When my wife and I saw a sign for the Norman Rockwell museum, we went there without hesitation. Moline was very much a Norman Rockwell town, with parks and baseball games and amateur theater. Any day at Melo-Cream brought an array of colorful characters, from the DJs of WQUA to the permanent residents living on the margin of society. Several visitors could be counted upon to ask for a little work to tide them over, from time to time. My father would give them a broom, which they pushed slowly and reluctantly through the shop, growing thirstier by the minute for their reward. One man, round enough to be the Pillsbury Dough-boy, told me about the cure for alcoholism - eating brewer's yeast each day. That quenched the craving for John Barleycorn. He did not seem to be benefiting from the cure.

Even the most eccentric characters were no threat. Like Mayberry on TV, Moline had characters who knew their limits.

One time our night watchman came in for a rest and coffee. His technique was to leave paper scraps in doors, to check on whether anyone had entered a business after hours. Someone pointed out that the slips also told robbers when he had last been there. No one minded much because robberies were extremely rare, even at a 24 hour shop like Melo Cream.

The watchman was complaining about how tired he was when a well dressed gentleman said, "I have cool room where you can rest as long as you want."

The watchman said, "No thanks."

When they left, I asked one of the workers, "Who was the man in the suit?"

"The funeral director from down the street."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Garfield Class Photo

Miss Cruz is standing.
Front row from left: Unknown girl, Sue Fusselman, Trish Lindquist, Rick Countryman, Sharon Brotman, John DeVos, Unknown boy, John Hilbert, Butch Trevor, Darlene Berg.
Middle row: Linda Swanson, Christine Michaelson, Unknown girl, Unknown girl, Sandy Smith, Unknown girl, Sally Robbins, Kent Lindskog.
Top row: Paul Savigano, Joan Sandberg?, Stephanie Sundine, Unknown girl, Unknown boy, Unknown girl, Unknown boy, Harlan Morgan.

Linda Swanson Nygaard contributed the photo.

Name updates are welcome. Thanks for the help.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Milk Man and the Iowana Princess


The milk man delivered milk and other wholesome products to homes on his route. I do not remember glass bottles, but cardboard cartoons.

Many people have fond memories of Iowana Dairy Farms and the Iowana Princess.

Milt Boyd played Trader Milt
and Grandpa Happy.
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