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