1876 striped wood floors

August 28, 2011

striped wood floors in Fairfield Iowa.

Between 1876 and 1879 a number of stores on Fairfield’s Square installed striped wooden floors, usually in alternating bands of walnut and ash or walnut and maple.

Photo, above right, is a floor in the Cafe Paradiso, located at 59-61 West Broadway at the corner of North Main Street. The Paradiso occupies two adjacent store-buildings; J. E. Roth built the east one, No. 59 West Broadway, in 1871. When he remodeled it in 1879, the Fairfield Ledger commented, “The new store room of J. E. Roth & Co. is finished in all its details. The stock was again removed into it last night, and the boys are as pleasant as can be to-day — if J. Edward is away from home. New and modern shelving, a handsome and durable oiled walnut and ash floor, new counters splendidly furnished, fresh painting and graining, bright walls and ceiling now give Roth & Co. the largest and best dry goods room in the city, at least that’s what they think.” ( Fairfield Ledger, April 2, 1879, p. 3, col. 5)

The other three photos, left and below, are of a private residence on Kirkwood built around the same time.

Loudon building, Broadway, Fairfield, Iowa.

Looking East on Broadway Ave., Then and Now

Then: Looking east on Broadway Avenue from the Louden Depot in 1929, we see a long row of automobiles belonging to the employees of the busy Louden Machinery Company, at left, and of other factories nearby. The Louden Company bought four lots here at 605-607 W. Broadway in 1892 and built their 6,000-square-foot factory here that year.

Now: In 2011 the neighborhood is noticeably quieter; the Louden building at left now houses studios, offices, apartments, and Vivo’s Restaurant, advertised by the new portico. At the same time, the house at 602 W. Broadway, right, has lost its portico and flanking trees, but its gabled roofline and distinctive oriel window remain quite recognizeable. The old house at 604 W. Broadway at far right has given way to a parking lot which has made Broadway quieter still.