We're ready for company
By BILL GRAY
Mt. Pleasant News
Are we looking our best for our impending flood of guests?
I say, Yes! And it’s a good thing, too, because you never know when J.C. Penney might visit – or maybe our bridge players who rubbed elbows recently with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates convinced them to enjoy the upcoming Midwest Old Threshers Reunion.
I know. Most of you were not alive during Mr. Penney’s lifetime, and a whole lot of you didn’t realize the Penney’s stores were named after this gentleman – a genius retailer of the early to mid-20th century. Recently, we had a small item in our “Today in MP News History” column noting Mr. Penney’s visit back in the 19-oughts.
Alert reader Stan Walgren, former resident now of Wapello (and also the founder and owner-operator of Walgren’s in New London) recalls Mr. Penney visited Mt. Pleasant again in the mid to late 1950s. “The store was on the east side of the square,” he writes. “Herb Keefe was manager.”
That was a few decades prior to my arrival in southeast Iowa, but I would guess it was a nice-looking store like most of the operations Penney’s had open in communities both smaller and larger than Mt. Pleasant up into the 1980s and ‘90s. Like practically every community this size, Penney’s is gone, but unlike many communities this size, we still have some pretty good-looking buildings
Those will be on display for Threshers visitors, and we should be proud of them. Of course, our plans for some of our structures, including the Saunders School, the Van Allen House and now the Union Block, and still in the planning stages, but even for these we’re showing signs of progress.
Looking good, I say. And have you noticed we’ve got some nice residential construction going on? Make your way down Bell Street and notice two new houses going in, and there’s a big building going in just off east Washington – but I can’t tell you exactly which side street because I’m always busy staying between the orange cones when I notice it.
And that remark may cause you to scoff and wonder, “Uh, Bill, when you say we’re ‘Looking good,’ have you considered Washington Street?”
As a matter of fact, I have. And did you know there are many folks in communities larger and smaller than Mt. Pleasant who would be more than willing to put up with a little construction if they knew their community’s main thoroughfare was getting a complete makeover like ours?
Sure, it’s not pretty now – and like everyone else, I’m ready to turn south onto Grand Avenue just any time now – but it’s tolerable when you consider the reward of a beautiful completely new four-lane street. (or three-lane, but let’s not get a debate on that until the question comes up).
Meanwhile, homeowners do a mighty fine job in this community of keeping houses and lawns tidy – though I know visitors forgive the clutter when garage sales are under way as they are now in earnest!
And how can you not like a community with all of this garage and yard commerce going on?