Hendricks expands interest in Monticello history

This is a collection of Hendricks’ Freese Motors memorabilia, including ice cube tubs, a thermometer, pens, and an ice scraper. (Photos courtesy of Bob Hendricks)

If you remember Seehusen Oil Company from Monticello, then these items might look familiar to you.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     It’s been six years since Bob Hendricks started the “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa” Facebook page. Since then, the page has grown, with just shy of 2,000 followers, and so has Hendricks’ interests in local history.

     In fact, Hendricks has a room in his home dedicated to Monticello memorabilia, old and new. Some might call it a hobby; his family calls it an obsession.

     The Facebook page started out as a way for Hendricks to share old photos of places in Monticello with his followers and watch as they try to guess the year or specific location the photo was taken. Some would even share their own memories of certain places such as the Great Jones County Fair or the Monte Theater.

     Now, “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa” has taken a new role, sharing memorabilia.

     “I like to post positive things that make people think and inspire them or help them try to connect to others,” said Hendricks.

     Stepping into the room of memorabilia, you are instantly transported back into time. Shelves are lined with ash trays belonging to Club 151 and Hiway Inn, both former Langworthy businesses; pens and pencils from businesses past and present; old telephone books; old issues of the Monticello Express; matchbooks; rulers; photos; postcards; and so much more. Hendricks even has the wedding photo of Major N.G.W. Winner and his wife, the little people who once resided in Monticello, as well as a book about their life together. The photo was taken by Northrop, a photography business that was once in Monticello.

     He also has a working projector containing dozens of old slides of the Great Jones County Fair from 1972, as well as how the old railroad depot looked before it was torn down.

     Hendricks said his page is not only followed by locals, but relatives of former Monticello people, as well as those who once lived here and moved away.

     Due to his fascination with the history of Monticello, Hendricks was approached to serve on the new Heritage Center board. Some new members are working on revamping the local history museum with the hopes of opening it later this year.

     “We’re working on documenting everything on the computer now,” said Hendricks.

     The idea is to have multiple displays that change from time to time so more people will be apt to come through the Heritage Center. Hendricks has also agreed to bring some of his unique findings down for display.

     Now that his identity is not a secret on the “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa” Facebook page, Hendricks said people contact him about unique items they have. Leroy Mootz, owner of Whiffle Tree in Monticello, contacts Hendricks from to time whenever something interesting comes into his antique store.

     Hendricks also goes to garage sales and auctions to find Monticello memorabilia.

     “People will bring certain items to my attention and I think it belongs in my collection,” he said. “People want to be part of the history collection, sharing stories about what they find for me.”

     He tries not to spend an arm and a leg on items, having paid $40 for a postcard at one time.

     “Some of those are one-of-a-kind items,” he said.

     On occasion, Hendricks has sold some items to interested parties, but does not make it a habit.

     “Now that I’m involved in the Heritage Center,” he said, “I want to save those things for display.”

     Hendricks has also brought pieces of his massive collection to Pennington Square, hoping to find a connection to some of the residents, such as Ed Brokens.

     “It sparks some memories,” he said of the residents.

     In one instance, Hendricks found an old wedding photo and had no clue who the bride and groom were, just that it was taken in Monticello. He brought it to Pennington and Vera Schoon, one of the former residents, recognized herself as the bride.

     “I just gave it to her to keep,” said Hendricks.

     Some of the more unique items Hendricks has found connected to the Monticello area include receipts and bills from the 1880s belonging to Stuhlers, and a keychain from Loops Motel and Ballroom.

     “I’ve only been able to find one keychain from Loops,” said Hendricks, and it was from out of state.


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