By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
Has everyone gotten adjusted to Daylight Savings Time yet? It is kind of strange at first because it stays darker in the morning now and is lighter later into the evening. We will eventually get used to it. Hasn’t the weather been fantastic for the most part, with temperatures in the 70s? The spring flowers will be in bloom before you know it.
There is nothing better than a delicious, chewy, fudge brownie. I have made brownies since I was a kid. I remember years ago at my early attempts at baking them. It took a few tries when I was young, to realize a brownie does not spring back, when you push down on it, when it is in the oven like a cake will.
I found out if the recipe says to bake them for 30 minutes, only bake them for that amount of time. If you keep them in the oven longer than that, they get hard and crunchy. Then you lose the chewy consistency of the brownie.
I came across this new brownie recipe lately and it sounded like it would be a great treat.
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
¾ c. brown sugar
¾ c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring to blend them together. Once melted, remove from heat. Add the brown sugar and the white sugar and mix together. Cool slightly.
Then stir in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. Stir in the flour and salt and mix well. Using cooking spray, prepare a 13x9 baking pan. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool. Cut into squares and serve. For a delicious tastey treat, brownies are really good if you place a dip of vanilla ice cream on top of them, add hot fudge sauce and finish with a dollop of real whipped cream.
You know how today, when a business is celebrating something special, like introducing a new product line or enticing customers to shop at their store during the holidays they hold an Open House? When they do that, they usually have things on sale and provide refreshments and treats to their customers to thank them for visiting their business.
With that in mind, did you realize that one such business in Exline used to hold something similar to that, about 100 years ago, right here in Exline?
Back in the early 1900s, the town of Exline was a booming coal mining town with one coal mine even being within the city limit’s. This caused the town’s population to swell to nearly 1,000 people in those days.
A businessman in Exline named Samuel C. Cook, was originally born in Mahaska County on Nov. 2, 1868 where he grew up on a farm. He worked for a business called Davis and Company for seven years. After that, he then moved near Dean in Wells Township in Appanoose County and farmed there for four years.
By 1909 he moved to the town of Exline and bought the mercantile establishment of Clarke & Burgher, who also operated a funeral business as well. Mr. Cook continued to operate the funeral business along with the store and even sold caskets as well as, providing burial services.
At times, Sam had different ladies who were his bookkeepers at the store. In 1910, 16-year-old Cora Mae Johnson served in that capacity and by 1913, Miss Carrie Seitz was the bookkeeper. Houston (Huse) Cochran was the store’s special alesman.
Mr. Cook’s mercantile business, was housed in a large three bay store along East Main Street, right near the corner of South First Street in what they called the Bradley Block, since the Bradley Bank sat right on the corner next to Sam’s big, brick building, in it‘s own separate building.
Cook’s establishment, was known as being one of the largest businesses of its type in southern Iowa at that time. They sold an array of products, including household items together with Queensware dishes, furniture, stoves, general merchandise, a fine selection of pianos, harness, Rock Island plows and DeLaval Cream Separators, Moline farm implements wagons, sulky plows, gang plows, the Johnson line of spreaders and even threshing machines. He also sold corn and steel grain binders, Diamond Edged tools and an array of other hardware, as well as horse drawn Staver buggies, along with gas engines, pumps, tanks and fencing supplies.
His business even rented out horses and buggies to traveling salesmen who would arrive in town on the train. These salesmen would stay at the hotel, just down the street along Main Street. Once the salesmen rented a buggy, they would go into the countryside to try and sell their wares to the farmers and their families. At times over the years, he even had different partners that were in business with him off and on.
Once Sam Cook got his business established, the firm began to have a “Spring Opening” in March. These events were utilized to draw in customers to introduce their new product lines and have sales on various items in the store.
Their big sales would be held for three consecutive days each March to showcase their large stock of merchandise and supplies that they sold. These annual events were highly advertised and would draw in customers from miles around to view the products and see demonstrations of the equipment. This event was also utilized to kick off the upcoming spring planting season.
At these events they even demonstrated some products to the customers. One year they featured a new brand of stove called the Bridge-Beach Range which showed how easy it was to operate. Another year, representatives of the company called A.E. Campbell and Brothers were there on behalf of the Western Electric Company. They had a demonstration set up in the store that featured electric lighting plants for sale to farmers out in the country, to provide electricity to the farmers in rural areas. One year they sold one such plant to a Mr. F.M. Tull, who lived on a farm south of Exline.
To thank their customers for coming out to the big event, the store would provide everyone in attendance with a free lunch each day, for the three days of the sale.
Sam Cook eventually sold his business and retired. The building continued to stand with various other businesses occupying the large, three bay building. The McClaskey-Henderson Cash Store, the Z.S, Hudson restaurant and the Hudson & Son Hardware store were the last businesses to be housed in the old brick building. That large building and those stores that occupied the space in later years eventually burned down in June of 1922, along with other businesses within that block.
So, something like having an Open House to feature a business, may seem like something new but sales tactics like that, have been in use for many years.
There is still time to purchase your brick for the pedestal to hold the old Methodist Church bell for Hero’s Park in Exline.
Each bricks will cost $50. You may have up to 17 characters on each line, with up to two lines of information, including spaces on the bricks. You may have your own name, your family’s name or have it in memory of someone. However you would like to do it.
This project is being sponsored by the Royal Neighbors of America, Exline Chapter 3000. To participate in purchasing a brick, forms are available at the Exline Old Country Store. Fill out the form and turn it in with a check for $50 at the store.
If you would like further information, you may call the Project Chairman, Mary Ann (Campbell) Hurley at 315 E. Second Street South, Exline, Iowa 52555, phone (641) 658-2691 or you may e-mail her at: mahurley@sirisonline. com.
You may also contact the Royal Neighbors of America Chapter 3000 president, Jean (Traxler) Leach at 28636 Highway T30, Exline, Iowa 52555, call (641) 658-2623 or e-mail her at: email@example.com.
Once they reach the required number of bricks, they will then purchase the bricks and have them engraved with the information on each brick, before the construction of the pedestal can begin.
So get your order in soon, before time runs out. Once they reach the desired number of bricks, no more will be available to purchase.
On Sunday, March 4, the Exline Ramblers 4-H Club held their monthly meeting at the community center. At that meeting, the members decided to pick up the trash for their Adopt-A-Highway project sometime in April. They pick up the trash along County Road T-30 that runs from the Highway 5 turn off through to the middle of the town of Exline. That will help to keep the west entrance to our town looking nice.
Jodie McCoy of rural Exline, along with her sister and her husband, Jamie and Jaren Tubaugh of Centerville all recently traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C. They went to see Jodie and her husband Scott’s son Jordan, play baseball at the Cal Ripkin Experience Spring Thing Tournament. Jordan was there playing as a member of the Marshalltown Community College Tiger’s baseball team.
Remember, the annual Spring Dinner and Easter Egg Sale is going to be held next Sunday, March 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
As March 17 rolls around tomorrow, everyone wants to be Irish for one day, whether they really are or not. I hope everyone has a fun St. Patrick’s Day.