Following two articles and photos appeared in the Mason City Globe Gazette We thank the Globe for allowing us to reprint their articles.

Part of vintage soda fountain back in Marble Rock



Arlene Carney, president of the Marble Rock Historical Society, discusses on Wednesday the newest addition to the museum, a large soda fountain that originally belonged to a Marble Rock business. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Globe Gazette)


MARBLE ROCK — When Arlene Carney of Marble Rock received an e-mail April 1 from a man in Connecticut telling her he had the back bar from an old soda fountain that used to be in a Marble Rock drugstore, she thought it was an April Fool’s joke.

“It took a lot of conversation back and forth” before she realized he was telling the truth, said Carney, president of the Marble Rock Historical Society.

The soda fountain originally came to Marble Rock in 1904. It was sold at an auction in 1980 after the C.L. Bopp Drugstore closed.

From there it traveled from Des Moines to Iowa Falls to Missouri to Texas to Connecticut to Kentucky and finally back to Connecticut.

The man who e-mailed Carney said his brother used to own the old soda fountain back bar. No one knows what happened to the rest of the soda fountain.

He agreed to give the soda fountain back bar to the Marble Rock Historical Society if the group would pay the shipping cost. The bar was shipped back to Marble Rock at the end of June.

The structure is 10 feet long and 9 feet high. It has a marble counter, a mirror, an overhead arch with detailed woodworking and lights, and stained glass windows in the cupboards in the wooden columns supporting the arch.

Historical society volunteers put the individual pieces together, and the bar now stands in the old town hall, one of several historical buildings in the downtown area maintained as museums.

A number of items from the original soda fountain or that go well with it — such as an old bottle of mineral oil, a scale and even a mint julep maker — already were stored in various locations around town. Those items now sit on the counter of the soda fountain bar.

Another recently-completed exhibit in the old town hall is the Sult Barber Shop display, which includes an old chair, sink, barber pole and other items from the town’s barber shop, which was in operation from sometime before the end of World War I through the late 1990s.

The public will be able to view both exhibits during a Marble Rock Historical Society open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 1.

The open house is part of the Marble Rock Fun Days celebration July 31-Aug. 1.


150-year old cabin donated to Marble Rock Historical Society



Diane Black from the Marble Rock Historical Society and her 16-year-old son, Miles Black, dig through the rubble from a demolished addition to a log cabin built by town founder Jacob Beelar. Society members hope to move the 150-year-old cabin downtown before winter.

MARBLE ROCK — The Marble Rock Historical Society recently received an unexpected gift — a log cabin built in the 1850s by the town’s founder, Jacob Beelar. The two-story cabin on River Street, which is believed to be the oldest one in Floyd County, was converted into a house years ago.

Gary Schmidt and his wife, Cathy Kruse, bought the house last year with the intent to build a house on the site. Rather than tearing down the home, which has been unoccupied for many years, they decided to donate it to the historical society.

“It looks pretty fragile,” said Arlene Carney, president of the historical society. Moving it to downtown Marble Rock where other historical buildings such as the town hall are located will be a big responsibility, according to Carney. However, “We could hardly turn that down, it was so much of a treasure,” she said.

It was a hidden treasure that needed uncovering. Historical society volunteers have been busy tearing off the siding to reveal the log cabin underneath. Ron Holland Housemoving of Forest City will handle the moving of the cabin to its new site. Holland also is providing the historical society with some logs to help fill in where termites have attacked, according to Carney.

Historical society member Diane Black said the group hopes to have the cabin moved downtown before winter arrives.



Jacob Beelar, the founder of what is now Marble Rock,  built a 16 x 16' log house in 1851 on the bank of the Shell Rock River near several springs. Mr. Beelar was the first settler in the township. The next year, 1852, he brought his family from Indiana and erected a 20 x 30 two-story log house. We have no documentation, but we believe the two houses were joined together to make the present structure. The following photos will give you an idea how the two portions now look.

The Jesmore family, long time residents of Marble Rock lived in this house after the Beelars. The most recent inhabitant was John Jesmore, business man and Mayor of Marble Rock for many years. Currently most local residents have no idea beneath the siding is log construction.

The following photos were taken by Max C. Handley, Historical Society Board Member.

Overall View of Two-Story Log House With Some Siding Removed


Portion of Siding Removed from South Wall Showing Deterioration of Bottom Log


The portion extending at the left is believed to be the original 16 x 16' Log Cabin Mr. Beelar lived in his first year. It has been necessary to separate this projection from the main house so that the two-story portion can be moved. This portion was disassembled, logs numbered and placed in storage. After the main house is moved, the logs will be placed back in their original locations.


Here is the house moving on the street. There were many wires to be removed or raised.


A BIG job was moving the house onto the foundation.


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Revised 08-01-09