Editor’s note: These photos were found at the newspaper, but many of them did not have names or information provided. If you recognize someone or a place and where it used to be located, or perhaps have a story to tell about it, feel free to write in to the paper or email at
• The photo of the fire drill was at North Ward School in 1963 or 1964. The girl is Francis Anderson and I believe the boy is Randy Binns. It was just a fire drill and sliding down was fun!
—Francis Brant (Anderson)
• In the Wednesday, July 24 issue of the Madisonian in the Flash back from the Past, there is a picture that we can provide information. In the attached picture, that is my husband, Randy Binns, when he was either 8 or 9 years old. He was coming out of the tunnel during a fire drill at North Ward school, which has since been torn down. Randy went on to graduate from Winterset High School and we have lived in Crescent, Iowa for the past 22 years. We do have the original clipping from the Madisonian so when we saw this in the July 24 issue we were very surprised. Thanks for bringing back some fun memories.
—Sincerely, Robyn Binns
• One of the photos you show in the July 24th Madisonian is, indeed, a fire drill being conducted at the North Ward Elementary School. The time frame would have been somewhere in the early to mid 1950s most likely. The school was razed in the 1970s to make room for the current North Ward Plaza.
The fire escape (a large metal tube about 3-4 ft. in diameter) was on the north side of the building and had the sole purpose of evacuating the “older” (4th, 5th and 6th grade) students on the second floor of the building. There was a small metal bar above the opening of the fire escape that you hung onto then swung yourself into the large metal tube. The opening faced to the north but immediately curved to the west to begin its downward slope.
I distinctly remember about half way down there was a small ripple sticking up in the joint of two sections of the metal tube such that you had to push yourself over to the left or right while sliding down to avoid it. Otherwise, your bottom got a jolt. The fire escape was somewhat dark inside and it was easy to miss seeing the rippled joint.
I attended this school starting in kindergarten in 1949 through the 5th grade in 1955. Previous classes had attended Northward through the 6th grade but my class was the first to move to the new 6th grade building at South Ward in the fall of 1955.
Notice the pant cuffs rolled up excessively on the young man exiting the fire escape. Many kids endured this fashion due to their mothers buying jeans many sizes larger (and thus longer) than needed to allow for future growth for the next several years. Money well saved.
—Gary R. Chickering
• I believe that it was a picture of a fire drill at North Ward Elementary, which I attended in the 1930s.
—Marilyn Easter Provost, Creston
• Aldo Café was right across the highway from Bizz Mart Super Market and right north of the Maple Leaf Motel which was right across East Lane from Linville’s Motel. The Win-Bol was north on the corner from all of this and also contained the Gold Room Restaurant. All of this was on the lot of the former Livestock Auction house. —Rod L. Dean
• The fire drill is at North Ward School, where North Ward Plaza is now.
The cage in the post office pictured was called Trailways Cafe. It was the bus stop in town before it moved to Grace’s Cafe on the square later.
The Aldo Cafe was just north of the American State Bank at the south end of Hy-Vee’s parking lot. Not where Pizza Ranch is.
• In regards to photo published July 17, 2019. The Aldo Café was located in Winterset right off the Highway into town. I worked there as a waitress for a couple of years. My first real jobs besides babysitting or walking beans. My wage was $1.62/hour plus tips. Tips range from a quarter to maybe a couple bucks (if you served a large group). If we took home 8-9 dollars in tips-we felt pretty rich. I work with Gina (Anderson). We were allowed to eat anything we wanted when we worked except shrimp or steak. The food was excellent as most of it came from the Gold Buffet next door. We served quite the breakfast crowd on Saturday and Sundays. There was a small buffet line with salads and Jello, and pudding items. Malts were a big item as well.
— Patty Denison (Corkrean)