by c. weibye wilke
“I remember when … ” Grandpa would begin.
This was my cue. I’d scootch my chair closer to the kitchen table and put on my good listening ears. I loved it when Grandpa told his stories—especially those about his growing up.
In 1898, people traveled by horse and buggy and lit their homes with kerosene lanterns. This was also the year Grandfather’s father, my great grandfather built a hardware store. It was made entirely of wood—unfortunately. It burned down within the year.
Great Grandfather built and opened a new store in 1901. This one was bigger; two-stories tall and made of bricks. The first floor had hardware, grocery and dry goods departments.
The hardware department sold pots and pans, glassware, kerosene lanterns, furniture, nails, paint, milk pails, and many other items needed by families in the community.
The grocery department sold food including flour, meat, cheese, tea and coffee. The local farmers brought in eggs to trade for items that they couldn’t grow. Things such as work boots and denim coveralls, school shoes, and calico fabrics for dresses—all found in the dry goods department.