Ellsworth in the 1930s - Page 3


In 1930 the population of Ellsworth was 405.

Ellsworth Turkeys in the 1930s

Turkey has been the byword to progress for Ellsworth in a colorful history that began in 1929 with only fifty birds and one flock owner.  This humble beginning may be attributed to town banker, Homer Brinton, who raised the turkeys on his farm.  During the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, the processing was done in the bank basement.

In 1929, William Thompson, a young farmer and college graduate raised 50 turkeys on his farm, assisted by his brother Raymond.

By 1935 the turkey business on the Thompson farm a mile east of Ellsworth was a mass operation.  Raymond quit his teaching job and went to work with the turkeys full time.  They installed four incubators in 1936.  Other farmers in the area became interested in turkeys.  Through the years, there was a complete turn around on the Ellsworth faming community; changing it from a general farming territory to an area whose very life blood was turkey raising on a large scale.

A photo on Page 5C shows people waiting for food at a Turkey Day celebration.


Click to see a page of advertisements in The Ellsworth News on October 22, 1931.

The Depot turns red in 1933

These paragraphs are from an article in The Ellsworth News, August 23, 1933:

"The Chiago & North Western paint gang was in town one day last week with a barrel of red paint and a spray gun, and when they got through, the depot was the color of a boiled lobster.   It used to be slate color; now it's red.

It is understood that in some localities (not on the North Western), in order to make an impression on the world's fair travelers, the depots are only painted on three sides, front and two ends, but I'll vouch for the fact that the depot here has paint on all four sides.  Some of the women folks are inclined to think the color is a little loud, but gee whiz, who likes red paint better than the women folks?"

The Ellsworth Library

      The Ellsworth Public Library was started in September, 1935 as a project of the Women's Study Club.  It was started on a small scale with the members and friends donating books.  In 1936, the Library was located in the Mrs. Nellie Olson building on the east side of Main Street.  From then on the library grew with the help of friends and many local organizations.  In 1941, the growth was such that the members of the Study Club asked the town of Ellsworth to take it over and a tax was levied for it's support.

     The Library now is housed in a modern building across from the old library.  See this building. This was built in 1962 with the cost of approximately $16,000.  Each year's budget is submitted to the town and money is appropriated for this.  Something new is added each year, and many organizations have helped with gifts.  There also have been many Memorial Gifts to the Library.  The Library has about 3000 books on the shelves and 20 magazines, encyclopedias, reference books and material.  It is also associated with the North Iowa Library Extension and 700 books are received every four months on a rotating basis.  There is also an art print program which is made up of reproductions of famous paintings.  These prints are checked out like books and are ready to hang on the walls of homes for a period of 30 days.  Different prints are brought here every four months.  The Library is used by people in the surrounding territory - Radcliffe, Randall and Jewell.

     Much credit is given to Mrs. George (Leslie) A. Hanson  who helped with the Library from the beginning, and served as Librarian from the start until 1956, when she moved away.  Mrs. Merle (Selma) Shade who had been assistant took over and served until September 1, 1973.  Mrs. Shade had helped in the Library from the first and served 36 years, until her retirement.  Mrs. Harold (Melva) Sogard was appointed Librarian and assumed her duties on September 1, 1973.  After her death in 1974, Mrs. Mark (Jan) Sandvig was appointed by the board June 1, 1974 and as of 1979, is still in that position.  The present board is comprised of the following:  Mrs. Vernon (Jerry) Peterson, chairman; Mrs. Raymond (Marion) Skarvedt, secretary; Mrs. Ernest (Ilene) Johnson, treasurer; Mrs. Blanche Risetter and Mrs. Roger (Pat) Volkmann.  Past Board members were Esther Mansager and Mrs. Fred (Sharon) Cook.  As of 1979, there are over 10,000 books in the Library, a new movie projector, slide projector, screen and tape players (cassette).  Items added recently are cassette tapes for children and adults and cassette language courses.  Also, art prints to be kept at the Ellsworth Library permanently have been added.

     The Library is still funded by the town and since 1978 the county shares funds.  Thanks to the additional funds, audio visual equipment, new art prints, a new lit globe and many more books are available to the public.  The Library also purchases movie services from the Kendall Young Library each year to help get a better selection of movies for the patrons.  The Library is still affliated with North Central Library System and is able to get many interlibrary loans through them.  The service of rotation of books was discontinued in 1975.  The Librarian was able to go to Mason City and pick out over 3000 books and 15 art prints to keep in this Library permanently.  This was a share each participating Library in the region was allowed to take.  In March of 1979, the Library was given a new look with pale gold paint on the walls and brown, copper and gold carpeting through out every room.  With new storage cabinets, it looks much different than it did before.  Each summer there is a children's reading program sponsored by the State Library  in Des Moines.  The Ellsworth Library has steadily improved on material and attendance.

(written in 1979 by Selma Shade and Jan Sandvig)

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These homes are north of the school, on the east side of the 1800 block of DeSota Street.   The second house was made from the 1900 back portion of the wood-framed old school when it was no longer needed and was dismantled.

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The east side of Ellsworth's Main Street, looking towards the north.
Although the date of this photo is not known, the cars look as if they are from the 1920s.

The Elevator Company

This Farmers Elevator Company that began in 1916, operated from 1920 to 1936 as a cooperative stock company.  In January of 1935, there were only four persons who came to the annual meeting.  This was not enough for a quorum, so the meeting was adjourned to a later date.  In February of 1935, a meeting was called and directors were appointed and a drive for new members was started.  The company reorganized as a membership company with memberships selling at $10 each.

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This photo from a 1926 postcard shows six businesses along the tracks on the east side of Main Street.  At left you see the coal bins, two grain elevators (east & west), the early lumber yard, the stock yards, and the depot.  At the south side of the tracks, you see the Osborne flour mill.  Mr. P. B. Osborn, the owner and operator, began operation of the mill in 1899, producing 75 barrels of flour a day for the townspeople, as well as for the neighboring territory.  Mr. Osborn was widely known for his abilty as a miller.  Later, flour from the larger company mills from the larger towns was shipped in, forcing Mr. Osborne to discontinue his business.  The building was vacant for many years, until is was razed to enable the road east of Ellsworth to be straight.

The assets of the old company were transferred to the new company and the name was changed to the Farmers Cooperative Company of Ellsworth, Iowa.   The name has now changed to the Ellsworth-Williams Cooperative Company, but it is still organized under the same charter that was registered with the state of Iowa in 1935.   A newer photo of the elevator company showing when it was modified with much concrete, is on Page 5C.

Potgeter Grain Company

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The Potgeter Grain Company ran the Ellsworth Plant for grain storage until 1948.


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