Humboldt Landmark: The Old Irving Store

by

Vernon Bahr

The Irving store was built by Vic Clow around 1915. Itwas financed by his father. He operated a general store and a machinerysales where he sold John Deere farm equipment. His wife operated a millineryshop in the store also.

The local farmers had a bumper grain crop in 1918 and formeda corporation. They bought the store hoping to make a profit on their investment.George Hare became the manager and Collins Johnson was the clerk. Aftertwo years, a Mr. McCrystal took over as manager of the store but thingsdidn't work out for him. He folded in 1922.

Jim Irving opened the store under new management. He operateda general store selling all kinds of merchandise. Local farmers broughttheir eggs in to sell to Mr. Irving. Walnuts, candy, and cookies were someof the items one could buy in bulk. These items were kept on the counterin large glass containers. Mrs. Irving anticipated the needs of the womenand had dresses ordered for them. Most of them were even spoken for beforethey arrived.

On Saturday nights the ladies would gather at the storeand sit and visit, catching up on the latest news. Often their laughterwould be heard blocks away.

The Irvings operated the store until 1949. The last personto run the store was Jack Everingham. He had the store for about two yearsand then sold out which marked the end of the store. Ownership of the buildingchanged when Ben Matthews bought the building from the farmers organization.The ownership again changed when Carl Wiese bought it and used it only forapartments, the bottom floor was apparently vacant at the time. The topfloor had been used for apartments from the time the building was used.Virgil Bockwitz took over ownership in 1951. He made the first floor intoapartments which were rented out to teachers.

Later, the first floor was remodeled and used for a cafe.It was rented out to Mr. and Mrs. Ward Finney. It named "Wards"Cafe. They operated the cafe from 1959 to 1963. The last change of ownershipof the building was in 1963. Kenneth Voit bought the building, remodeledit and used it for a cafe. He renamed it the "IT" Cafe. They movedaway in about 1965 and the building has been vacant ever since. They stillhold ownership.

Interviews

Earl Bahr, Walter Clow, Mrs. Ruby Finney, Silas Matthew,Mrs. P. N. Tri, Ernest Turner, Carl Wiese, Arnold Wieseest Turner, Carl Wiese, Arnold Wiese