We just returned from a wonderful Viking Danube River Cruise (Budapest, Hungary to Nuremberg, Germany).
I wanted to continue the dialog about Forest City in the 1970s and, in fact, I am including a couple of pictures graciously loaned to me by the Winnebago Historical Society.
I am going to try to recreate downtown Forest City as it appeared in the early 1970s.
Many of you are too young to even imagine how vibrant our downtown was 50 years ago. We had not yet felt the "Walmart effect," which would forever change the landscape of small towns throughout America.
In this piece I am just going to try to reconstruct our downtown as it then appeared. In later writings I may comment on some of the specific businesses.
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I will first comment on the photo which has Forest City Bank and Trust (now FAVA) in the forefront. Moving right from the bank we find Nels Branstad's Law Office, Coast to Coast, Pinckney Drug (later purchased by Ed Messer), McCauley Photography, Wally's Furniture, Reuben's Department Store, Nelson Jewelry and the Totem Pole Restaurant. The Wieble and Stipp Law Office was located in the upper level of one of these buildings. Down the street west from the Totem Pole was Mike Becker's Village Lounge.
Across the street going north we find the Winnebago County Abstract Company, Jerry's Tavern and Pool Hall, Harrison's Store No. 2 (later the Donut Shop), Red's Barber Shop, W.C. Hansen and Son Hardware Store, Sheller's Barber Shop, Morris/Missal Insurance, Bowen Foods and the office of Dr. Millard Thompson, Podiatrist. Across the street where the Chinese restaurant is now located and we find the gas company office, office of Dr. Don Rolfsen, Chiropractor, Graham's Dress Shop, the Forest City Theatre and a Gambles Store.
Now we look at the other photo which shows Harrison's (across the street from Gambles), Ron Rollefson Appliance Store, Bob Smith Hardware and Tire Store, the Forest City Bakery, Montgomery Ward Catalog Store, Johnson's Drug Store, Don's Food Mart and Bruce Anderson Clothing. Going south across the street we find the Summit, Stokke's Furniture and Carpet, Forest City Hardware, Office of Dr. J.T. Mangan, M.D., Marie's Beauty Shop and the Cooper Building which housed the Cooper, Sinnard and Beebe law office and a travel agency and later Jordal Insurance. Gjelten Shellberg, Architects, was across the street south from the Cooper Building.
I am certain there are errors both as to names and locations of businesses and some of those named may have existed either before or after 1970.