To this day, thousands of Clintonians say, “I was born and raised in Lyons.”
Founder Elijah Buell first set foot on the banks of what would become Lyons, Iowa in 1835. He built a cabin, laid out a town, platted the community, raised a family, sold land, gave away land and had to go to Dubuque to permanently claim it.
One hundred years later, Lyons would have perhaps its biggest Centennial Celebration ever… on September 19, 20 and 21, 1935. According to “Muffy” Zastrow, 95, there were other celebrations in the summers before this monumental one and also every year thereafter, up through the 1950s. I, personally, recall a giant Ferris wheel on Main near Second Street in 1956, and six blocks of activities!
The Lyons Shopping Center had contiguous buildings from McEleney’s, then by the bridge at the river, out to the Lyons Lumber Co. run by the Borbecks on Third Street. The Struve Mill and Reimers Grocery Store on the south side were beyond it, and it wasn’t far to the one-mile house. Just short of that, on the north side of Main, was Whiskey Hollow, Tritschler Brewery on the hill, and Waldorf Service (which is now a house) at the corner of Main Avenue and 10th Street.
Commerce was then thriving. Muffy recalls hundreds of small businesses, and each supported a family. Darlene’s Dress Shop was west of Muffy’s Men’s Shop. Across the street was the bank that became the Masonic Temple. Muffy went to high school on the park, where he also played basketball and was drum major of the band — one of four that marched up Main Avenue in 1935. He recalls a stage was constructed in front of Paaske’s where various acts entertained crowds. The steamboat “LeClaire” was moored on the river and was the site for formal speeches.