General Store

The general store was the hub of existence for many small communities. All manner of material could be purchased or ordered over the counter. Meat and cereal, clothes and shoes, soap and string, medicine for man or beast, churns or new fangled ice boxes could be purchased. The early post offices were set up in the stores. This building is a replica of the old Country Store. The material used in its construction includes 100-year old clapboard and many of the items were taken from the old May’s General Store in Columbia, Iowa, when it was closed. The store was a place where neighbors met when they went to town for food, clothing, wire, furniture, mail, and to have a friendly game of checkers. In many respects it was a social place for news or gossip. Credit cards were not known, but credit may have been extended and the unpaid sales slips put in an asbestos lined “safe”.

Of special interest is the old White Frost round ice box with its three revolving shelves, and the early vacuum cleaners.

Medicines from Stomach Bitters to Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, from stomach medicine to cold medicine were in big demand and on sale at the stores. One item that seemed to be a common element in all liquid medicine was alcohol, such medicine having a content of 1 1/2% to 13 1/2% alcohol.