Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ingredients Matter - Melo Cream Doctrine

Three fathers: Homer Jackson, Greg Jackson, Martin Jackson. We let my wife pose for the calender too.
Martin and Tammy's son, Alexander, looks just like Martin in this pose.

Classmates still talk about Melo Cream doughnuts. When the Hasty Tasty bought out Melo Cream, to keep producing the same doughnuts, the first objection was the cost of the flour.

Doughnut flour can be bought from any wholesaler. My father insisted on a special flour from California. Shipping hundred-pound bags from California to Moline, Illinois, is rather expensive. Hasty Tasty was not amused.

We used the best chocolate for icing. Nibs were melted slowly, with vanilla icing added after. Chemical chocolate was available. Many companies use a form of carob. Remember the husks the pigs ate in the Parable of the Prodigal Son? They were carob. Pig food. We used rich, dark chocolate.

Two kinds of sugar can be used. Beet sugar and cane sugar are exactly the same in their chemical formulations. However, any baker will say, cane is better. A room of beet sugar smells funny. Not bad, just off. We used cane sugar always, and it cost more.

We added such things as pure cinnamon, nutmeg, and flavor enhancers.

Bread doughnuts were made with wet yeast, which we had to buy from Johnson's Bakery. We were too small to be a stop. Dry yeast works too, but wet yeast is better. We added eggs (not dried eggs) and potato flour to the mix. We even kept old dough in the freezer because a lump of old dough made a fresh batch even better. These were extra steps, but they added to the quality of the bread doughnuts.

The nuts we used were superb. We bought the biggest and best pecans and walnuts, not the crumbles. We got boxes of top quality coconut. Raw peanuts were the large size. We fried them, using them ground for Barlow doughnuts and peanut topped doughnuts. Going to the basement for supplies was fun. I could nick a warm danish from the cooling rack at the top of the stairs. Finishing that, I had coconut, walnuts, and pecans to enjoy while searching for that elusive pail of flour. "Have you found it yet?" Quick swallow - "Not yet. I'm looking."

Coffee was another opportunity to save a few pennies. We had a Maxwell House sign up, but we blended it with Yuban for better flavor. Instead of perking cheap coffee, we used a drip maker and the blend - gourmet coffee for 10 cents a cup. When the coffee was a little bit old, we threw it out and made more. More than once I threw it out as a customer protested, "I don't mind. I don't mind."

I am drinking my own home-made gourmet coffee now.

Perfectionism works well in making good food and deserts, but not in making a lot of money. Most people do not know the difference between the best recipe made with painstaking care and a mediocre recipe thrown together by an uncaring slob.

Many people are publishing essays that say, "Thanks for the life lessons, Dad."

I am simply saying, "You ruined me, Dad. I cannot settle for second best."

My father is on the far right, his brother a little bit to his left.
The shop was at 1313 - Fifth Avenue, near WQUA...forever.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Near the Historic Site of Melo Cream and WQUA:
To Become Loft Apartments

Moline building to become loft apartments

buy this photo Developer Mark Roemer plans to create loft apartments and retail space in the former Phillips mini mall in downtown Moline. (Jennifer DeWitt/QUAD-CITY TIMES)
A Quad-City developer has plans to bring a downtown Moline building back to life as loft housing.
Mark Roemer has a contract to purchase the former Phillips Mini Mall, located at 1320-1322 5th Ave. Through his Phillips Lofts LLC, he plans to convert the four-story building into 18 two-bedroom, market-rate apartments with 2,400 square feet of commercial space available on the ground floor.

“This is just a good project that I think will help Moline,” he said. “There is a lot of exciting stuff going on in Moline and I just want to be part of it.”

The Phillips Lofts project will restore the one-time Phillips furniture store and former furniture warehouse to an active use, said Ray Forsythe, the city’s planning and development director. “The good thing about Mark is he is already in downtown Moline and he knows the market.”

This will be Roemer’s fifth apartment project since 2002 in downtown Moline, where he owns about 44 apartment units with adjoining commercial space.

Forsythe said the Phillips building has sparked many inquiries from other developers over the years, but previously the owner, Roger Colmark, was not willing to sell. Colmark is the Sterling, Ill., developer who began restoring the historic John Deere House in Moline about 15 years ago, but was forced to abandon the project due to a foreclosure.

“Roger had the (Phillips) building full of John Deere memorabilia that he was going to use to fill the John Deere house,’’ Forsythe said. “Once he lost the John Deere house, he was willing to let go of that property and Mark seized the opportunity.”

Roemer said he hopes to close on the purchase in August and begin what will be a renovation of about nine months. He estimates he could begin leasing the lofts next April or May. He would not disclose a purchase price.

He said he knows demand is there from his other downtown properties. “We always have a steady stream of inquiries and a lot of times we do have a waiting list,” he said, adding he sees a lot of potential on the west end of downtown.

Roemer also is acquiring the 50-space parking lot directly to the west at 1312 5th Ave. to provide secured parking for the Phillips Lofts tenants as well as for some of his other downtown tenants. Any available spaces will be rented to the businesses that now use the lot, he said.
“Anytime you have cool loft-style living space that will attract younger people,” Roemer said, comparing the latest project to his Boston Lofts at 1441 5th Ave. He added that many of tenants are young professionals and downtown employees.

This is Roemer’s first project to involve tax increment financing, or TIF, and historic tax credits. According to Forsythe, the Moline City Council approved a TIF rebate of up to $240,000 at its meeting on Tuesday. He said Roemer will receive the rebate over five years from the additional tax increment the improved property generates.

The project also is in an Enterprise Zone, which allows for a sales tax exemption on all construction materials, he added.

The Phillips Lofts renovation comes as several other development projects are in the works in downtown Moline. They include the 69-unit Enterprise Work-Live Lofts at River Drive and 19th Street and development of a new Amtrak station, Forsythe said.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Moline Icon Dies - Thomas Lagomarcino


Thomas Lagomarcino

June, 13, 2011 | Sign the Guestbook | Email Announcement

MOLINE — Thomas P. Lagomarcino, 95, of Moline, passed away Saturday, June 11, 2011, at Trinity Medical Center, Rock Island.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at St. Mary’s Church, Moline, where he was a life member. Visitation will be from 3 until 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Rafferty Funeral Home, 2111 1st St. A, Moline, with a Christian Wake service at 2:30 p.m. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery, East Moline. Memorials can be made to St. Mary’s Church, Alleman High School, Trinity Pathway Hospice or a favorite charity.

Tom was born December 7, 1915, in Moline, the son of Angelo and Luigia (Schenone) Lagomarcino. He married Elizabeth Pinch on August 27, 1949, in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Tom was owner and operator of Lagomarcino’s Confectionery, Moline, with his sister, Mary, and brother, Charlie, and later his wife and children. Tom welcomed customers into Lagomarcino’s store with his smile, calling them “my friend,” treating them with sweets and entertaining them with Big Band music along with his witty and wise sayings. Many were reassured by Tom that, “there are no calories here, just energy units.”

Tom enjoyed boating, traveling and especially spending time with his family. The Rock River was a second home to Tom. He loved to take family and friends on boat rides, feed the ducks with grandchildren and relax at “camp” – his haven on the river. Tom enjoyed many wonderful trips with his wife, Betsy, especially to Italy where he had a chance to visit his “roots” and be surrounded by his beloved language.

Survivors and (spouses) include his wife, Betsy; children, Mary Beth Lagomarcino (Terry Otten), Moline, Tom (Sandy) Lagomarcino, Moline, Ann Lagomarcino (Brian Pyszka), South Bend, Ind., Paul (Valerie) Lagomarcino, Naperville, Ill., Lisa (Phil) Ambrose, Davenport, and Carol (Mike) Babcock, Bethalto, Ill.; 19 grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

He was preceded in death by his stepmother, Carmella, brother, Charles, and sister, Mary.

Condolences may be left at

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dave Coopman's Quad City International Airport -
The Perfect Gift for QC Fans, Moliners in Particular

Those who want an important and fascinating book about aviation and Moline will love this contribution by Dave Coopman.

Three of his books can be found at this Amazon link:

David Coopman's books.

The ones listed are:
  1. Quad City International Airport
  2. Davenport's WOC AM-FM-TV
  3. Rock Island County

He has also written about WQUA AM and KSTT AM.

Industrial Power
I grew up taking the Moline airport for granted. Little did I realize how the industrial power of John Deere gave us so many opportunities seldom afforded a town of equal size.

Also, our area had many pioneers who were willing to take advantage of the new technologies, and we benefited from that love of adventure. The Palmers got the area into radio at the beginning of the era, which led to President Reagan getting his first job in the Quad Cities. The Palmers were also far ahead of others in alternative medicine. Our chiropractors in Phoenix named their dog Palmer in honor of the doctor.

Dairy Queen and Chicken Delight were two far-sighted food franchises.

I never made the connection between Kris Streed's family and the airport. I knew her at MHS and Augustana, but we never stopped to talk about airplanes. She contributed a number of photographs to the book, because her father was one of the pioneers of local aviation.

The Moline Airport
Frank Wallace brought aviation to the Quad Cities, trained in flight by Wilbur Wright in France. Wallace Field was the first, on the Iowa side, in 1919.

Gus DeSchepper was trained at Wallace Field and helped start Franing Field and an airplane business there.

One of the most unusual pioneers was a Belgian priest who came to Moline to found Sacred Heart Church (below). Rev. John Culemans was trained by fellow Belgian DeSchepper and had his own plane. Father Culemans was instrumental in Moline buying the airport.

Richard Streed partnered with DeSchepper in the aviation business (p. 14).

The Moline airport was one of the first and a good stopping place on the way to Chicago or St. Louis. Charles Lindbergh stopped at Moline a few months after his historic flight, 1927. Augustana College held a inner in his honor and an enormous crowd of 50,000 gathered to see him off.

Deere Velie Connection
The Velie family was related to the Deere, so they had the capital to make carriages, cars and airplanes (p. 24).

We remember Velie for the Plantation restaurant at his mansion, but he is also known for his luxury car and airplanes.

Famed stunt pilot Vern Roberts (who inspired Lindbergh) became the manager of the Moline Airport in 1927 (p. 25).

Most of us associate Mosenfelder with men's clothing, but Gabe Mosenfelder was also one of the early fans of aviation. He flew for the Curtiss Flying Service, out of Moline.

Someone should be saying at this point, "They all lived?" This was a dangerous avocation in the early days and not always safe today. They were brave men. And one was a woman - Amelia Earhart visited Moline shortly before she went missing in 1937. That riddle has not been solved to this day.

Dr. Warren Streed, the dentist (Kris' father) is pictured on page 32. I recall from Facebook that he was a wing-walker, too. He is pictured in flight on page 34. He was a founding member of the QC Airmen's Association, pictured on page 35.

Great Historical Photos
Coopman is a master of historical detail, balancing the significant facts with the fascinating stories.

One great contribution is the ad for the Moline Airport Motel - "Nothing Like It Anywhere." It had six apartments and was heated in the winter (p. 40).

The growth of the airport, from grassy field to concrete runways, is another interesting aspect of the book, told in great detail, with many explanatory photos.

Moline became the main airport because statistics showed our city was the center of QC population (p. 57).

Many of us remember the excitement of going to the airport and watching aircraft take off and land. Air travel was still rather expensive and glamorous in the 1950s and 1960s. If we got to fly anywhere, we dressed up in our Sunday best.

Famous people appeared at the airport. I went to the Nixon rally there during the 1960 campaign. Reaching up through the forest of hands, I shook his, just before he went into the plane and left.

My wife, son, and I saw President Reagan at the Saginaw, Michigan Airport, inside a hanger, 1988. No one shook his hand that day, but we were very close, in the VIP section. My wife said, "Are we VIPs?" I led them in, saying, "Very Important Pastor."

JFK was also at the airport, as I recall. My family was not about to see a Democrat candidate.

Newest Version, 1985 to the Present

I thought the Moline Airport was quite spiffy when I got to visit it. My first flight was going to a bakers' convention in Boston. We flew a DC-3 to Chicago, a bone rattling journey. Then we got on a jet to Boston. My father never got over the speed of air travel. We were on the streets of Boston and he said, "We were in Moline a short time ago!"

My parents grew up on farms without electricity. My mother bought her first computer at the age of 80, after the prices went down. I wonder if any generation will see the same advances in so few years.

The latest version of the airport is detailed by Coopman, with many explanatory photographs. In 1988, President Reagan landed at Moline Airport and spoke at WOC radio (p. 104).

The official name is now the Quad City International Airport, a name earned by its prominence in the region and its direct flights to Europe.

Coopman has written a fine tribute to the pioneers who built and maintained their own planes, worked for a bigger airport, and made our little town a center of progress.

John Boland - Another Author from Moline High, 1966

John Boland, MHS 1966.

I did not know John Boland at MHS. I think we had the same drowning class, and I recall his name showing up every time a writing award was given out. I tagged them for Facebook, and they appear on his FB page.

He just sent me two books he has written. They came today, but I wanted to mention his work before I reviewed some other Moline books.

He has been involved in journalism, business, and mystery novels or stories for many years.

His journalism is linked here.

His published short stories are found here.

His novels are here.

Some of his books are available at Perfect Crimes.

Many of us enjoy murder mysteries or think we might write one some day. I will write again when I have done some reading in Boland's books.