the Busy Bee

the Busy Bee Restaurant
or Cafe

F. R. Dalbey, proprietor, purchased the stock and fixtures of the Farmers Restaurant, then changed the name to Busy Bee Restaurant to keep pace with his much increased business.  This reastaurant was located on the east side of Main Street, where the Ceramics Shop used to be.

Frank Dalbey built a new building and he along with his wife Roxanna operated a restaurant known as the Busy Bee Cafe.  Roxanna was a wonderful cook and they had a good trade.  The business also sold yard goods as well as shoes, overalls, dresses and groceries.  The Dalbeys lived in the quarters above the cafe, and had rooms for transients.

     On December 31, 1918 the hardware store on the northeast corner of DeWitt St. and Dubuque St. caught on fire.  Clifford Grund came home on the midnight train and as he turned to go east to his home, he saw fire in the basement windows.  He ran to the telephone office and put in the alarm.

     The fire burned the hardware store, and the next building, which was a garage, and the next, which was a harness shop operated by Henry Becker.  The firemen had to take the big hose through the Busy Bee Cafe and up the stairs to a window where they could run it out and fight fire from above.  Thus saving the restaurant building.

     The spectators came in and stole candy, cigars, fruit and anything they could put in their pockets.  The building was water soaked, water all over the floor, running down the stairs.  Display cases were broken and much of the inventory looted.  (written by Leoan Keesee Coates, Dalbey’s granddaughter)

click to enlarge

This is what the East side of Main Steet looked like on a postcard dated 1910.
The sign on the building close to the left end says Busy Bee Restaurant, Lunches & Soft Drinks.

(Click to enlarge this photo.)

1915 - Main Street, East side

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(Click to enlarge this photo.)

This is what the North part of the East side of Main Steet looked like on a postcard dated 1915.  The signs on the buildings say, starting from the right, 1) Estate Stoves, Dalby - 2) Thompson Auto Co. and Auto Supplies, 3) Harness Shop, and 3) the Busy Bee Restaurant.


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