PHOTO: Bob Hendricks created the popular Facebook page “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa” a couple years ago. Today, the page is visited by local residents and former residents all over the country, reminiscing about life in Monticello.
PHOTO: This photo, dated Feb. 19, 1961, is a scene of downtown Monticello. The Monte Theatre was showing “No Room for the Groom.” Many people on Hendricks’ Facebook page commented on how much they missed the movie theatre. (Photo from “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa”)
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
If you grew up in Monticello, no matter the decade, there are certain things you recall about your childhood here. Some may remember the Monte Theatre, while others reminisce about the Great Jones County Fair or their time spent on the Maquoketa River in the summer.
No matter your history here in Monticello, one lifelong resident decided to create a place where everyone could share their memories of Monticello, Iowa. A couple of years ago, Bob Hendricks created the Facebook page “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa.” Since he started it in November of 2011, the page has taken off and is a hit with so many, almost 900 people, in fact.
“I grew up here and wanted to give people a place to share their own memories,” Hendricks said.
Before he created the page on the popular social media website, Hendricks did some research to make sure there was not another page out there. He didn’t want to create competition.
Around the time he got the idea, Hendricks said so many businesses were closing in town: Hardee’s, Family Foods and the skating rink, Skateway, was being torn down.
“I didn’t want people to forget about these places,” he said of the town’s history. “These places were part of my childhood.”
Looking at all of the historical pictures on “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa,” it takes you back. There are photos of the fair from years past, old pictures of downtown Monticello and the businesses that have come and gone, pictures of horse drawn buggies parked next to businesses along a dirt road and so much more! It takes one hours just to see all of the historical scenes.
“I didn’t really have a vision for what I wanted the page to be,” explained Hendricks. “Just a place for people to share memories with others.”
Many of the old photos Hendricks finds online at history sites like
Hendricks purchased an envelope dated 1899. It was addressed to a Mr. Otto Otten in Germany, with a Monticello return address. He said this has been the oldest piece of history he’s found so far.
He also came across a book that references mobster Al Capone and his wanting to run for mayor of Monticello.
Every time Hendricks posts a nostalgic photo of Monticello, he gets numerous comments and “likes” from current and former Monticello residents. He said it gives people a platform to share their memories.
“It makes people happy,” he said.
He also encourages people to share their photos of Monticello. Another facet to the “Memories of Growing Up in Monticello, Iowa” page includes current photos as well. Hendricks said he wants to share current news of the town as well with those living far away. For instance, he shared news of Logan McQuillen’s historic wrestling win last season.
“The page creates all kinds of memories,” he said, “old and new.”
While he created and maintains the Facebook page, Hendricks said he didn’t do it for praise. It was just something he thought people would find interesting and fun to spend time looking at.
“It’s something of a hobby I do in my spare time,” he said. “I just wanted the page to remind people of a simpler time, to brighten their day.”
While he knows people enjoy reading his posts, he also enjoys hearing from others and reading their memories as well. “Everything means something different to someone else.”
Sometimes, Hendricks will get requests from people, asking if he’s able to locate a photo of a certain business or home in Monticello. He then graciously takes the time to acknowledge those requests, if he can.
In keeping track of the activity on the page, Hendricks said there are people from 30 different states connecting on his Facebook page.
“They all lived here when they were younger,” he said. “It brings them back.”
One picture he posted was the former Dairy Mart, which received a lot of attention from people sharing their memories of going there for a treat. It got 200-plus “likes” and over 50 comments. Hendricks said he even got feedback from Rex Cheney’s son. Rex used to own the Dairy Mart. He said so many people were commenting on the tenderloin and onion rings they used to get from the Dairy Mart that Cheney’s son offered everyone the recipes.
“It meant so much to the family that I posted the photo,” Hendricks said. “It was neat they gave back to those who gave them business for so many years.”
Of all the photos and comments coming and going on his Facebook page, Hendricks said he learns just as much as the next guy concerning different memories of Monticello. “It spurs people to dig up the history of Monticello.”
PHOTO: This undated photo of downtown Monticello shows the dirt road that is now First Street and a horse drinking from a trough to the right. That trough is now at Riverside Gardens.