Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Things change, but the memories remain!

The merry-go-round in Memorial park.

I was born in Ottumwa, IA and Pat moved there when he was 7, in 1965.  There is a line, actually a river, dividing the north and south sides of town and a rivalry between the two sides. I was a south sider and Pat a north sider. Located in Wapello County, Ottumwa currently has a population of nearly 24,000.  

I remember spending summer days playing outside, coming home when the bell rang for dinner, checking in when the street lights came on, and finally home for the night after we were done playing night wars.   

I rode my bike about a mile to the municipal pool or the library branch on the south side many afternoons.  If you were lucky to have a few cents left after swimming, you would stop for some penny candy at Cals' Jack and Jill, a small grocery store across the street.  It was a great time to be a kid.  

We did a tour of Ottumwa, reliving memories.  

For many years Ottumwa had a small zoo at Memorial Park.  Under the water tower there were small animals like monkeys, and a few larger animals, including a Buffalo, in a larger fenced area.  

Grahams Dairy Freeze, a landmark since 1908.

I couldn't resist a chocolate baby cone with crunch cote.  Pat had the flavor of the month, Honeymoon . 

Opened since 1927, the Canteen has been serving loose-meat sandwiches in this alley since 1936.  I actually hadn't eaten here until a few years ago but it's well known throughout Iowa.  People order and have them sent to them.  They are that good!

This parcel of land had a large municipal pool complete with a low and high diving board.  At a young age I learned to ice skate here on my double bladed skates.

The swimming pool has long since been filled in.  A blue section from the pool area was peaking through. The concession/changing building became apartments and a school was built on the property.

When it was built in 1929 it was the largest municipal pool in Iowa.   The high diving board was so much fun.  Now  Ottumwa has a beautiful waterpark by the river.

Wapello County was named for Fox Indian Chief Wapello.  He died in 1842 and requested to be buried here, just outside of Ottumwa.

Chief Wapello's grave.

A large presence sitting on a hill is Ottumwa High School.

Today the Bridge View Center is an event and community center.  When we were younger The Coliseum was in the same place.  I remember going to Jerry Lewis telethons at The Coliseum where they always had at least one famous person.   James Arness and Pete Duel stand out.

Once called the city of bridges here are 3 of its current bridges, the Market Street Bridge, Jefferson Viaduct and US 63 Bridge.  Long gone is the Vine Street or "singing bridge."

Wildwood park hill--the place to go sledding.

The Wapello County Courthouse with Chief Wapello on top.

This parcel of land is to have an apartment complex...

...I knew it as St. Joseph Hospital, and it was where I was born.

My first year of college was spent at Ottumwa Heights college, later to become an addition to Indian Hills Community College, which is where Pat went.  The original complex was destroyed in 1957 by fire.  

Ottumwa Heights, originally a liberal arts college for women, can be traced back to the 1860's.  It was operated by the Sisters of Humility of Mary and became co-ed in 1969.

There is Cemetery next to the campus just for the Sisters of Humility of Mary.

On the left is St. Patrick's elementary school where I went.  Not saying we were bad kids, but our second grade teacher said she was leaving the order because of us, lol.

We lived across from my Jr High School.  Pat's, Washington Jr. High, is no more.

I spent my entire youth on Friendly Lane.

Pat's home in Ottumwa.

Pat went to St. Mary's elementary school.

We took Pat's Mom and sister down to see Pat's cousin and check out where they had lived prior to Ottumwa.  Although it's changed a little, like being bricked, this was Pat's house on their farm that his Dad built near Hillsboro. IA.

Pat's grandparents house, now unoccupied, but with lots of memories.

The barn his grandpa built is still standing.
I can't zoom in close enough but Pat said his Grandpa said the design on all of the bricks were his footprints.  Truth or fiction?  Who knows, but at least a story that remained with Pat.

We were in the same grade but never met until we were out of high school. We had fun sharing our various Ottumwa experiences this trip.  Yes, things change, but the memories are still there!  Now on to make new memories.
Where are the Piepers now?  Hannibal, MO


  1. I can’t believe you had your first canteen just a few years ago! WOW!

  2. Another very enjoyable post! Thanks! Carol

  3. Anne thank you so much for the memories. Our family spent many happy times at 1 Friendly Lane. Wildwood park our go to place. Have a wonderful week cousin. St Patrick k thru 3rd for me

    1. Not 100% sure which cousin you are 'anonymous,' but thanks for your comments!

  4. It was great seeing you and l loved all your memories from your childhood