pgs. 124-129; History of Sioux City, Iowa 1923

Book cover

A Brief Pictorial and Commercial History
of Sioux City, Iowa

published 1923

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J. V. Thorndike Co.J. V. THORNDIKE CO.
Ford, Lincoln and Fordson Dealer

From a small auto repair shop, employing four people, the J. V. Thorndike Co. has grown to be the "Largest Retailers of Automobiles in Sioux City," and the oldest Ford dealer in the city.

Mr. Thorndike entered business in Sioux City in 1916, with a garage and repair shop. The present plant, handling Fords, Fordson tractors and Lincolns, is a modern agency, employing 43 people in the plant and 12 salesmen. A large and well-equipped service department occupies over 27,000 square feet of floor space and the parts and accessory department carries a stock valued at over $20,000. Last year this organization sold 831 Fords, Fordsons and Lincolns and expects to sell about 1,200 in 1923.


The Akron Milling Co. was organized in 1893, by William Slaughter and E. A. Fields, for the milling of corn. It is now housed in a five-story building at Second and Pearl streets. Mr. Fields has been in active charge of the business since organization. Under the trade name of "Peerless," they manufacture and sell a line of corn meal, grahams, and corn, oats, barley and other cereal feeds. A force of 20 people is employed in the mill. The products are sold mainly in Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska, although many mixed cars are shipped to Wisconsin and to the Pacific coast states. Besides these trade marked lines other cereal products such as pancake flour, chick and poultry feed and other goods are made under private brands for their trade.


WM. L. STEELE, Architect

More buildings have been designed in and around Sioux City by Wm. L. Steele than by any other architect. Mr. Steele came to Sioux City in 1907, and has designed practically every class of buildings that have been erected in the city. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Department of Architecture, 1896. For many years he worked with leading architects of the country including Louis H. Sullivan and S. S. Wewman, of Chicago; Thomas Rodd, Alden & Harlow and S. F. Heckel, of Pittsburg. Coming to Sioux City, he immediately began some important structures. One of the most striking examples of his work is the Woodbury County Court houseWoodbury county court house, declared to be one of the finest pieces of architecture in the west. Some of the schools he has designed are Trinity College, public schools in Sargeant Bluffs, Danbury, Cherokee, Fonda, Hunnard, Meriden, Dixon and many other towns. He has erected public buildings in Hartington, Hawarden, Armour, S. D.; Union county, Charles Mix county, Lake Andes and others. He also designed the Shore Acre Boat Club and many other public buildings. His churches include St. Cassius Catholic, Danish Lutheran, First Congregational First Christian (remodeling), Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart, in Sioux City, and many in the surrounding territory. His hospitals include St. Vincent, St. Anthonys home, St. Monica's, and many in the trade territory. In Sioux City some of his best known buildings are Live Stock National Bank, Davidson building, Sioux City Journal, O. J. Moore, Crane Co., Kresge store, and hundreds of homes.

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Builders of Memorial Art

The founder of the Rapalee Mounment Works came to Sioux City in 1900 from Tyndall, S. D., where the company has been in operation for some time. They first located at 410 West Seventh street. The following year an elaborate plant was built at the present location at 605 West Seventh street During the 23 years since they first opened the Sioux City factory the equipment has been added to in keeping with the business until now it is perhaps one of the best, if not the best, equipped plant of its kind in the state of Iowa. Pneumatic tools of all kinds, sand blast for lettering and carving, overhead cranes for moving the large stones, polishing machines and other equipment is used in the modern shop.

The work of the company is more of art than business. Giant roughly hewn stones from the quarries of the east are dressed down and transformed into beautiful memorials. The designers employed by this concern design war memorials which are later turned out in the plant. The men who do the work are the best that can be had and are real artists carving figures and letters from the hardest of rock. Five traveling salesmen cover the radius of 100 miles from Sioux City. They sell over a hundred thousand dollars worth of monuments annually. Everything in the line of memorials and cemetery work is carried. The stocks run into many thousands of dollars, although much of the work is to order. Special designs are submitted on request for memorials of any size and of any material. No more beautiful stones can be found than those made in the plant of the Rapalee Monument Works.

P. V. Rapalee who succeeded his father in the management, is carrying out the ideas and policies that the firm has maintained since it was first established. The principle of using only the best materials and workmanship has been recognized from the start. The firm has the reputation of square dealing that they can well be proud of and enjoy the distinction of carrying the largest stock of finished memorials in the west.

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King- Hamilton Laundry Co.KING-HAMILTON LAUNDRY CO.

One of the leading laundries in the north Missouri valley was instituted in May, 1922, when Claude C. King, who had operated the King Model Laundry for 15 years, purchased the Hamilton Laundry and merged the two in to the King-Hamilton Laundry Co., as it is known today. Both firms had been well known and popular in Sioux City and the territory. The plant does a large family laundry business, providing the public with six distinct services for family work. The dry cleaning plant is separate from the laundry and is one of the most complete in the middlewest.


BETTY STYLE SHOP, Millinery Shop

One of Sioux City's most exclusive and up to the minute millinery shops is the Betty Style Shop. This shop was established by Ida E. Buttke, who knows what women want and demand in headwear. They handle Vogue, May Smith, Schwaulbe, Cupid and the Betty line of hats. The Betty line is designed and made in this shop.


Sheet Metal Contractors

When the beautiful new Nebraska capitol building which is located at Lincoln, Nebraska, and which will be among the very best of state capitols of the United States, is completed, it will have at least some parts made in Sioux City. The Interstate Cornice Works, of Sioux City, has the contract for a modern ventilation system for this building. The Elks Club building and the new high school at Omaha, Nebraska, are among their out of town jobs. One of their Sioux City jobs which has attracted much attention is the ventilation system in the new Masonic Temple, at Ninth and Nebraska streets. This concern was organized in 1912, by J. E. Johnson, who continues the management of the firm. Later, Mr. W. L. Groh, who had been acting as superintendent of construction, acquired an interest in the business. They have at present between 30 and 35 men on the productive pay roll, all of whom are skilled sheet metal workers. They do contracting work in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota. The work of this concern includes everything in the sheet metal line such as cornices, ventilation systems, and other work of this nature required in building construction. Columbus College, at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was outfitted by this Sioux City concern.

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Westcott Undertaking Co.WESTCOTT UNDERTAKING CO.

Among the professions which have developed rapidly in the past few years is that of the modern funeral director and embalmer. Indeed the profession has reached a high state of efficiency. No establishment has given this line of business more careful and painstaking attention than the firm of Westcott Undertaking Company, established in Sioux City in 1882, when it was not much more than a village. They have become leaders in their profession because of their method of serving. Their fair treatment and honest dealings have built for them a reputation with the public that cannot be shaken. Incidentally it has meant that the public is assured of a place where they can turn in the hour of need for complete charge of funerals and burials.

C. F. Doughty is president and Harry Chandler, vice president of the company. A. J. Hennessey is secretary and treasurer. These men with their able and courteous staff of helpers put forth their foremost efforts towards pleasing their many hundreds of patrons. The organization is complete from the standpoint of equipment and stocks, as well as service. They maintain a reliable and dependable motor ambulance service available at all times for public use. All of the men connected with the company have had many years of experience in their line.

In accordance with their progressive yet reliable policies, they have kept in close touch with everything modern in their line. In the business portion of the city they maintain one of the most beautiful and modern funeral parlors to be found in the country. Recently, however, to meet the needs and wishes of those desiring home funerals, they established a funeral home in a large two-story brick residence in Morningside under the name of Morningside Mortuary. Both of these establishments offer real conveniences to those with whom they deal and show the progressive spirit of the company and the business men behind it.

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Manufacturers of Woodwork

The Curtis organization began operating in Sioux City in 1897, when they took Curtis Sash and Door Co. buildingover the Fletcher & Hutchins wood-working plant. F. L. Hutchins, who was a member of the old firm, became vice president and manager of the Curtis Sash and Door Co., and has remained in that position to the present time. The present plant covers 10 out of 12 lots in a square block. It has railroad tracks through the center, making unloading from cars possible at almost any part of the giant plant. There are over 500 feet of storage sheds for rough stock. These sheds are 50 feet wide and are double decked, much larger than many small town lumber yards.

Inside the plantThe Curtis organization, of which the local plant is a part, consists of plants in many leading cities of the country. Their products are standard and enjoy a nationwide reputation. Their advertising schedule for the coming year includes space in many national publications such as Saturday Evening Post, American Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, House Beautiful, House and Garden, Country Gentleman, Architectural Forum, Architectural Record, Architecture, Journal American Institute of Architects, National Builder, American Curtis Sash and Door, insideBuilder, Building Age, Permanent Builder, National Real Estate Journal, American Lumberman, Retail Lumberman, and Mississippi Valley Lumber man. These magazines have a total circulation of 6,970,019.


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The products consist of all kinds of woodwork for residences and public buildings, bank fixtures, store and office fixtures and other wood products. They make Loading docknumerous pieces of built-in furniture for the home, including buffets, cabinets, breakfast nooks and clothes closets. The territory of the Sioux City plant is parts of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming and Montana. They employ over ISO men in the large factory with four men traveling on the road.

The Curtis Bros. & Co. organization was established in Clinton, Iowa, in 1866. In addition to the Sioux City plant, called the Curtis Sash and Door Co., they control the following plants: Curtis Bros. & Co., Clinton; Curtis & Yale Co., Wausau, Wis.; Curtis, Towle & Paine Co., Lincoln, Neb.; Curtis, Towle &: Paine, Topeka, Kans.; Curtis-Yale-Holland Co., Minneapolis, Minn.; Curtis Door and Sash Co., Chicago; Curtis Detroit Co., Detroit; Curtis Co., Inc., Clinton, New York and Baltimore.

Another area of the plantCurtis woodwork is standardized as to sizes and is produced in quantities. This accounts to a great degree for the success of the company. Quantity production with wide distribution through the various houses and sales agencies. of the Curtis people has enabled them to reduce prices. The large warehouse in Sioux City is kept stocked with standard equipment which enables them to give prompt service and fill orders while most concerns would still be figuring the job.

WarehouseA most complete plant is found at the Sioux City institution. Giant power driven saw, a battery of moulders and a six-inch veneer saw are some of the machines used. Shavings are used in the boilers; sawdust is sold to be made into sweeping compound and packing—thus efficiency methods are used all through the plant, resulting in lower costs to the consumer.

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