Sentimental Sunday: ‘Parking’ Downtown in Monroe, Jasper County, Iowa in 1896

Monroe Mirror, [Jasper County, Iowa], 24 December 1896, Vol. 25, No. 9, Page 4, Column 2. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

The day before Christmas was a busy one in Prairie City, Iowa in 1896!

Many of us get sentimental for simpler times, but this article shows that things weren’t that much simpler, just maybe on a smaller scale.

Our Roberts-Murrell ancestors may have been a part of the crowd, looking for a place to hitch their horse and buggy: John Roberts, Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, George Anthony Roberts, Ella Viola (Daniel) Roberts, and Edith (Roberts) Luck.

Iowa winters are cold and blustery, and getting in to town on December 24th would have had its challenges:

How to keep warm in the buggy without a button to turn up the heat?

What would the horses eat if the ground is covered with snow and the grass under all dead/dormant?

What if big trees were covered with ice and fell across the road?

Waterways were often used for travel in winter, but how do you know the ice is thick enough to hold a heavy sleigh and team, and then all those gifts one might bring back from town?

Somehow these questions make jockeying for a parking space at the mall seem much easier, and exhausting fingertips on a computer keyboard (or phone) for online ordering almost too easy!

Next week- a description of a trip to town during the winter of 1906, by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck. Have a Merry Christmas!


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Monroe Mirror, [Jasper County, Iowa], 24 December 1896, Vol. 25, No. 9, Page 4, Column 2.


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