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Tribune photo published August 27, 1957
Saturday morning was an extra holiday for some 650 Ames youngsters. The small fry, and some not so small, are shown marching down Main street on their way to the Collegian theatre to se a free movie, courtesy of the J. C. Penny Co. store here.The most prominent structure in the background is the Spurgeon's Store at the corner of Burnett and Main. That building was constructed in 1909 by Frank E. Morris for his livery business that until that year (and since 1893) had been located at the site of today's Sheldon-Munn Hotel. View a photo of that original Frank Morris Livery (opens in new browser window).
|In the spring of 1909
he [Frank Morris] erected his present livery stable, which is the
largest building in Ames. It is three stories and basement, with
gable roof, is fifty-one by one hundred feet and fifty-one feet in height.
It is built of glazed brick and is used exclusively for the livery business.
Its location is at the corner of Main and Burnett avenue, and Mr. Morris
has about twenty-five head of horses, together with vehicles of all kinds,
and three hearses and a number of closed carriages for funeral use.
His livery barn is accorded a liberal patronage, and the business has grown
along substantial and gratifying lines.
1911 History of Story County by W.O. Payne
The building sat vacant for several years after North Grand Mall opened, but in 1976 the east portion (326 Main) was divided to hold many small shops (a mini-mall) including Minsky’s Pizza, a jewelry store, Pandora’s Box antiques, Figure Plus Fashions, Dagwoods Sandwich Emporium, Cook’s Emporium, Chic Salon, State Job Service of Iowa, Downtown Deli (beginning in 1982) and many more.
After 1976 the west half (228-330 Main) became the home of Cheese and Puppets until 1994, and Big Table Books began operations there in 1993.
Upstairs tenants have included the US Dept. of Agriculture, Doane Agricultural Service, KASI Radio, John Hancock Insurance, ACTORS, the Puppet Perch, theYarn Shop, and others.
Main Street, circa 1910
Main Street photo postcard retrieved from the 1915 City Hall Time Capsule
We may have a decision by the end of August, even, he said. We are still looking at issues like tax increment financing and historic preservation tax credits. Historical preservation and restoration is expensive. But these kinds of financial incentives can make it viable.
The McKel Group has done other historic preservation projects, which include the Iowa House Bed & Breakfast Inn in Ames and Court Center on Third Avenue in Des Moines near Principal Park. Iowa House at 405 Hayward is the former location of Delta Chi fraternity. It was built in 1924, and has 13 rooms in its recently completed B&B renovation.
McCullough said he has always liked old buildings, but demolishing them is cheaper than restoring them. Without financial incentives, it is hard to make the project successful. One case in point, he said, is the former J.C. Penney building at 702 Story in Boone. The McKel group also did that project.
But it could have been so much nicer with the financial incentives we are looking into for the Town Centre building, he said. McCullough said a destination project is being considered for the Town Centre building with two or three restaurants. He also has sketches of entertainment space and an outdoor patio overlooking Tom Evans Park. Russ does not imagine any residential space in the building.
This Tribune photo from December of 1957 shows the former Spurgeons's building being remodelled for the expansion of the J. C. Penney's Store. The sign reads, Coming Soon - A Greater more Modern Penney's for your Shopping Convenience - Watch for the opening date!
1970 Postcard view of Ames Main Street
back to photos previously featured
in The Tribune's series entitled From the Archives