The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 27, 2013

The House That Went Up the Hill

A favorite turn-of- the- 20th-century saying was, “Waste not; Want not.” People from all walks of life saved things. Even the very rich did things in a frugal way. Millionaire W.J. Young was noted for his parsimonious habits; he lived in a common house and worked his entire life. His widow built a terrific mansion on 7th Avenue So., which became famous as the Amvets Club in the 1940’s. Progress came, and it was torn down to make way for the first Eagle Super Market, which was torn down to make way for the second Eagle’s, which was torn down to make way for a drug store that went out of business and became, again, a grocery store! And so it goes. Mankind cannot seem to make up its mind.


However, it wasn’t that way a hundred years ago. I once found a box in my Aunt Irene’s attic that her mother had placed there during the “roaring 20’s” and it hadn’t been opened in decades. Inside, were all the family treasures…. Like the telegram that told of my grandfather’s death in 1901. But the most notable thing in the box, wrapped in a 1927 newspaper, was a petrified parrot! Yikes, they kept EVERYthing! These were poor people who horded and tried to preserve all that they owned. They had known hard times and adhered to and lived by that old adage cited above.


However, the most outrageous case of conservation was moving a house up Congregational Church Hill, in 1902. Dwight Lamb and his family were living on 6th Avenue So. and 5th Street, when his wife may have mentioned, “Darling, let’s move up to our new lot on the bluff overlooking the Courthouse and the River.” He likely inquired what kind of house she would like to build. She responded, (in my imagination), “Oh, I just love this house. Please let’s not leave it behind.”

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