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MEMORIES IN FOCUS: Old Settlers' Day from 60 years ago

Kindergartners through third graders at principal Maude Thompson’s Bown-Corby School honored the 1879 train that was the first to arrive in what was then known as Marion Centre with this model that traversed downtown for the 1958 Old Settlers’ Day parade.

In 1958, the parade was bi-directional, with units going east on the south side of Main St., turning around, and returning west on the north side of the brick-surfaced street.

Businesses visible in the 300 block of E. Main St. included (from right):

  • Van’s Clothing Store and, above it, the American Legion post, in a building that Great Plains Computing now calls home.
  • Coon’s Restaurant, in the now-vacant Donaldson and Hosmer Building, primarily known in later years for housing a series of law firms.
  • Western Auto, now home to Edward Jones Investments.
  • Beaston’s Market, where Barely Mak’n’ It Antiques is located.
  • A pair of storefronts, including that of Jackson’s Clothing Store and Marion National Bank. The bank, which occupied the western storefront, expanded into both storefront locations when it constructed a new building in 1979.

The original bank and Western Auto storefront were vestiges of what originally had been four identical storefronts.

Further to the west, were the still-remaining Bowron Building and the old A.E. Case building, which burned in 1968.

Old Settlers’ Day began in 1881 as a series of old timers’ events and was revived and officially named in 1912 as a countywide event.

The county’s first train arrived in Florence on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe main line in 1874. Marion’s rail service began on a Santa Fe branch line, now abandoned, in 1879. Service on the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific line that still exists as a Union Pacific line began in 1886.

Last modified Sept. 27, 2018

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