This week we are featuring two recently donated Charlson's Clothes Shop items, a Hart Schaffner Marx hanger and a large apparel box. These items can be seen in our Charlson's exhibit at the Story City Museum located at the corner of Broad St and Hillcrest Dr. In the upcoming months we will be featuring collection items that correspond to the 1940 Story City Herald Anniversary Book advertisements. Thanks to Sandy Jacobson for donating these items.
The first advertisement we will be featuring from the 1940 Story City Herald Anniversary Number book is from Charlson's Clothes Shop. The Charlson's Clothes Shop was located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Broad St and Pennsylvania Ave. This building is still referred to as the "Charlson Building" even today. The businesses currently occupying this building are Edward Jones, InVintg, and the Story City Greater Chamber Connection.
In the beginning of January of 1904, the Donhowe Clothing Store, a predecessor of the Charlson's Clothes Shop, moved into what is now considered the Charlson Building. A men's clothing store continued to occupy that location for 81 years. It was owned by the Donhowe brothers until 1909 when Henry Donhowe sold his interest to Ed Charlson. From 1909-1918 the store was called Donhowe & Charlson. In 1918 Peter Donhowe became the cashier of the Story City National Bank and Ed Charlson bought out his interest in the clothing store. There were a few name changes between 1918 -1920, but by 1920 ads were being placed in the Herald with the Charlson's Clothes Shop name.
When Ed passed away in 1955, Alfred Jacobson and Arnold Johnson became co-owners of the shop. In September of 1969 when Alfred retired, he had been associated with Charlson's Clothes Shop for fifty years. Bob Lekwa had worked for Charlson's for several years and took over the business when Arnold Johnson retired. Bob ran the shop until Charlson's closed in 1985.
This year (2015) marks the 75th anniversary of a supplemental book published by the Herald in 1940; it was titled The Story City Herald Anniversary Number – A Quintuplet Celebration. This quintuplet celebration was for five historical events in Story City’s past including the platting of Story City in 1855, Story City becoming incorporated in 1881, the first newspaper established in 1881, the present Herald starting in 1891, and Paul A. Olson serving as editor of the Herald since 1905.
The Anniversary Number books were printed in October of 1940 and consisted of 128 pages. Copies were sold for 15 cents each or two for 25 cents. A few copies of the book were printed on “book paper” instead of newspaper and were sold at 25 cents each. P.A. Olson explains on the first page of the book that there is almost a total absence of local photos. This was due to the fact that three other publications were printed between 1930 to 1940 which featured more photos than reading material.
The majority of the material in the Anniversary Number book focused on local history. This included “letters from subscribers” which the Herald had encouraged over the years. The “Looking Back” section that is a familiar sight to Herald subscribers even today has been a feature in the Herald for more than 75 years. P.A. chose to include a “Looking Back” section in the Anniversary Number book that covered 1893-1920. There are also several advertisements from local businesses printed in the books.
Over the course of 2015, the Herald will feature an article about the Anniversary Number book on a monthly basis. The Historical Society will also be featuring the 1940 local business ads on our website (storycityhistory.org) and Facebook page on a bimonthly basis. If you would like to see one of the Anniversary Number books in person, please stop by the Carriage House Museum. The Historical Society has several books published by P.A. Olson and the Herald that are available for research purposes.
As P.A. Olson printed on the front of the Anniversary Number books, “It’s history that concerns you and me... let’s take time to look back in order that we may go forward intelligently.” We hope that you enjoy looking back at Story City's history along with us in following months.