Then and Now: North Main Street, Fairfield, IA

January 21, 2011

North Main Street, Fairfield, IA.

Above: Looking northeast at R. H. Spence’s carriage shop, 121-123 North Main Street, Fairfield, IA ca. 1909, with some of Spence’s vehicles on display out front. R. H. Spence sold buggies here from 1905 to 1915, and afterwards served two terms as county treasurer. He then worked in the Farmers State Bank, on the site of his old shop, before serving as city clerk from 1930 to 1947. To the right of Spence’s shop is a vacant lot at 119 N. Main; to the left across Briggs Street is the Courthouse; and at far left is the the old jail, at 50 West Hempstead, Fairfield.

Below: Much the same view in 2011. Spence’s carriage shop was succeeded by Allen & Streed, farm implements, in 1915, and when the Farmers State Bank rebuilt the building in 1921 and opened in 1922, A. W. Streed was the bank’s vice president and R. H. Spence was cashier. The Fraternal Order of Eagles next owned the building for nearly 50 years, from 1939 to 1988. To the right, when Thomas C. Allen and August W. Streed vacated their premises for the Farmers Bank in 1921, they moved their hardware firm one door south, building on the adjoining lot at 119 North Main. Afterwards known as the Allen-Snyder Company, the venerable hardware business has been owned since 1937 by three generations of Luckmans: Sam, Kenneth, and David. To the left, the recently-restored tower roof gives the courthouse much the same silhouette as in 1909, while the old jail has been replaced by a newer building (barely visible behind the large evergreen), just across the street at 51 West Hempstead, which now houses Jefferson County Human Services.

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