Many ups and downs over years for Perry’s shopkeepers

Wild and Rall -- Shoes for All was the slogan of Perry's early retailer of footwear.

Perry’s shopkeeping class — the French call them the petite bourgeoisie — has presented a varied and colorful appearance over the years, with piety, parsimony and profit seeking their chief motives for action in the marketplace. After declining steadily for the last 40 years, Perry’s retail trade appears to be reviving.

One of the tenants in the new Breed block in 1900 was the T. J. Gilbert Hardware Store. In about 1920 he sold out to G. C. Parson but when Parson became postmaster in 1923, the place was sold to the Smith Hardware Co. After fixing up the store at great cost, a fire gutted the store Jan. 25, 1929.

The McCreary brothers, Rex and Ward, started a hardware store in the Pattee Hotel in 1923. After a time, Ward left to run a store in Adel, and Rex started selling farm machinery a block or so west of the main store. In 1951 the hardware part was sold to Glen Beebout of Knoxville.

Back in 1893, F. H. Ried had a jewelry store in the old union block at Second and Warford. Soon after his death in 1919, the store was taken over by Milliken and Majors. Later Majors dropped out and did optometrist work, and in 1960 the jewelry store was sold to Ed Bacon.

J. B. Coakley had a drug store just west of the First National Bank, but in 1919 in was sold to Ray Smith and Howard Baker. About two years later, Smith bought out Baker and moved to Second and Warford. After Smith’s death in 1950, it was sold to Otto Mau.

E. P. Dooley started out as a clerk in Isaac Townsend’s store but on the death of his boss, Dooley and Will Motts, bought the place in 1896. and later in the year Dooley bought out
Motts. After just getting started on his own, the big Perry fire of 1898 destroyed the store, but he soon rebuilt and sold out about 1945 to the Stoners, who later sold to Lloyd Holcomb.

John Daw first worked with Dooley and then purchased the John O’Malley drug store in the Clement block. But when the place was burned out in 1906, he bought the Mitchell building at Second and Lucinda and remained there until his death in 1959.

The McDonald drug store had its start in 1924, when Fred McDonald bought out the Gardiner Drug Co. Sometime in the fall of 1928, McDonald moved a few doors to the south and a few years later moved more north to a double-width store.

For many years this Walgreen store, with restaurant service, was a very popular place. In 1961 eating service was stopped and after modernizing the interior, it was sold to Pete Kalianov and Don Steffensen.

The Chas. Graves dry goods and ladies ready to wear was started sometime in 1905 in the Myrtle block at Second and Willis. In 1923 it was sold to Connor’s Inc., and they moved it 12 years later a block north to the old Fair store. In 1947 ownership was transferred to the Woodward Co., who the sold it to Anthony’s in 1958.

For well over 40 years, the clothing store of O. F. Roddon was well known. One of his workers, Clarence Wiltse, became his son-in-law and when in 1923 Roddon sold out to the Gildner chain, Wiltse became manager under the name of Gildner-Wiltse Co. About 1940 the store closed.

Wild and Rall started a shoe store in the early 1890s. They used to advertise, “Wild & Rall–Shoes for All.” In 1902 Rall bought the store and changed the name to Rall Shoe Co. and then he move to Cedar Rapids and started a store there, but he left Harry Markress in charge here. Later it was changed to Markress Shoe Co., then in 1944 the Foley Shoe Co.
Sometime in 1958 in was bought by Wayne Fobes of Storm Lake then in 1961 by Don Strassburg.

The Hines shoe store was begun by E. C. Hines in 1931 at 1116 Second St. In May 1947 it was sold to Harry Eddy. The Pete Soumas store, with sales and repairs, was begun in June of 1917 at 1113 Second St.

Jack Bruce’s first butcher shop was at Second and Pattee but after the place burned down, he reopened at Second and Lucinda, where he remained for 15 years. His brother, Harry Bruce, later occupied the place, and in 1922 Jack opened a grocery and meat market at Second and Otley, then a second store at Second and Rawson and a third at 1504 Sixth St. These he called Snowball Markets.

After Jack Bruce’s death in 1932, the downtown store was rented to Frank Bordenaro, who ran the Perry Fruit Market. In about May 1952, the place was taken over by Raymond “Mutt” Smithson.


  1. Raymond “Mutt” Smithson was my UNCLE. My MOTHER was Velma E. Smithson (Ward). Mom passed away in 2012 just shy of her 90th birthday. Dad (Robert Ward, Sr) died in 1998 at 75.
    On annual visits from our home in Colorado I got to “work” at Uncle Mutt’s store on Railroad street. He had a pair of binoculars that he’d keep “watch” on this brother’s place (Stub’s Place).
    Got to deliver groceries in Mary’s YELLOW Cadillac as I had just turned 15? Legal no. FUN, yes.
    Miss WALT’s SPORT shop where I also “worked”. Walt was quite the joker.
    Many many fond memories of the SMITHSON clan.
    Love to hear from other relatives.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.