1895 Ottumwa Bill

One of my friends at work visits a lot of estate sales and garage sales and recently ran across something that interested me.

He was telling me a story about how he had found some old Boy Scout Merit Badge books. He had brought them to work to give to another employee and while they were at his desk an item fell out of one of the books.

He started describing the item and mentioned the name Ottumwa. I was surprised and had him repeat it as I couldn’t believe he was mentioning Ottumwa. If you follow my blog you know that I lived in Ottumwa when I was young, so this was definitely interesting to me.

Ottumwa Iowa, Coupon, 1895 Coupon, Great 5 & 10 Cent StoreHere is what he found. It is a Bill or Coupon that is good for 10 cents off a One Dollar purchase. The date on the coupon is June 1st, 1895.

The coupon was to be presented at the Great 5 & 10C Store at 107 Main Street in Ottumwa.

Confederate States of America, Richmond, Confederate Currency, FacsimileThe back was also interesting as it was a facsimile of a Ten Dollar Confederate note. I am sure that this was an eye catching coupon in 1895.

107 E Main Street, Ottumwa, IowaHaving grown up in Ottumwa, I knew about where the store would have been. You can see where it is in this image from Google Maps.

I looked for some old images of the street, but was unable to find any on-line. Perhaps if I can find some I will write another post using the pictures.

With the coupon being from a 5 & 10 Cent store, I also thought about the many trips we took to Woolworth’s when I was growing up.

Plowboy Bar and Grill, Ottumwa, Iowa, Main StreetI also looked at the street view from Google Maps and found that the current image has a sign for the Plowboy Bar & Grill. I heard that there were some interesting things that happened there. The sign in the window says that it is For Sale by Owner. Most likely it has a new owner by this time.

ottumwa, Google Maps, Sattelite View, Canteen in the AlleyI also took a look at the satellite view in Google Maps. The building is the one with the light gray roof. What is really interesting to me is the alley behind the building.  You can see a little building peeking out from under the parking garage that is behind the building.

If you are from Ottumwa you probably know what this little building is.

Canteen Lunch in the Alley, Ottumwa, Iowa, 1936, Loose Meat SandwichesHere is a picture of the building before the parking garage was built over it. The Canteen in the Alley was such an iconic image of Ottumwa that it was spared the wrecking ball and the parking garage was simply built over it.

The Canteen moved to this location in 1936, so you couldn’t go get a canteen and then walk across the alley to use your coupon in 1895.

I could share many memories of the Canteen, but will save them for another post. Plus, I need to acquire some pictures to illustrate it before writing it.

A very small world to run across an Ottumwa related item in California 🙂




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3 Responses to 1895 Ottumwa Bill

  1. A great find and a really good post!

  2. How fun! I always think of Radar from M*A*S*H when I hear of Ottumwa, since that was his hometown.

  3. Glenda McDougal says:

    Very interesting ….

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