PHOTO ALBUM - YORKTOWN, Fairfield Twnp., Bureau County >
Lyle Gudgell's Recollections of Early Yorktown, Illinois beginning about 1927
Dad always had apples and Wolf would come up and eat apples, core and all. He lived in Hoopole and he would ride the train to Yorktown and stop off to see what was new in town. Later when the tracks were torn up, he got a scooter. He was one of those loafers who didn’t live in the community, but he was around all the time. He used to go to Charlie Dixon’s and play cards. Charlie Dixon had one of those harness horses to hold the leather while you fastened the harness. When Charley had a simple job he would give it to Wolf to do. When Wolf heard the whistle blow, he would get on the train and ride back to Hoopole.
Charley Dixon had a two story building in Yorktown. It was the second building from the southwest corner. He had a hardware store downstairs. My dad and mother lived upstairs for a while. Right on the corner next to highway 92 was the Stenross grocery store. Stenross bought it from somebody else.
Across the street to the east was another hardware store that carried some groceries and clothes, too. And peanuts. When the delivery guy came by, he would bring them a gunnysack of raw peanuts, which they would roast in a roasting machine. Everybody that came in would buy a bag of peanuts. I would watch for peanut customers in hopes that they would be generous and hand me some. Or I would beg for a nickel to buy some. The peanuts still had the shells on them.
That building was replaced by the filling station and a restaurant, when State Rt. 92 came through. My Dad, John Gudgell, owned that building and Melvina, his sister, and her husband, Fred Heuer, operated it. It did lots of business because it was a truck stop on the way to Chicago to sell cattle. Anita Gumfory, Lester’s wife worked there for Melvina for awhile before she married Lester Gudgell, my brother. .Melvina and Fred Heuer lived upstairs ,and in the basement were bunks for the truckers to sleep in if they needed to rest on their trip.
There were a couple of small stores to the south along the main street of Yorktown. They all had small sheds behind them for cobs and coal.
Next to those stores was Doc. Webber’s little office, and next to that was where John Gudgell built his new brick house. Then there was a grassy lot, and then the Hoopole, Yorktown and Tampico railroad tracks. From there, South, stretched farmland and the house of Charley Dixon, which, eventually, was purchased by Lester Gudgell.
Along the railroad track, west of the main street, was the Elevator, Coal, and Lumber yard operated by Mathis. They had a coal shed next to the railroad where they unloaded coal from the train.
Heading back north along the main street was John Gudgell’s garage. It was a large building where John and his sons repaired the machinery for their dredging Company. We had draglines and bulldozers, which we used to dig drainage ditches for the local farmers. The business was called Gudgell, and Sons Dredging Co.
Next to the Garage was the show hall run by George Thomas and his brother. They put on dances, and when movies came into vogue, they put on movies. They had a piano to play music with the silent movies. Later they used the building for rollerskating. John Thomas had a big police dog named Kip, who liked to chase a ball around the dance floor. The kids would roll the ball and Kip would go sliding across the floor and slam into the wall. Eventually, the building became so decrepit that it was torn down.
Now my description of Yorktown takes us back to the Charley Dixon hardware store where we started with Wolf making harness and eating apples.
Author: Lyle D. Gudgell, written in year 2001, at 80 years of age.
Submitted by: Vivian Gudgell 11/10/04
Bob Johnson added the following:
denise, the write up of yorktown by lyle gudgell mentioned a wolf, his real name was earl, he would walk all over the country in his old dark heavy jacket. his nickname was goofy!
Posted by bob johnson on December 18, 2004
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