Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts


Holets Harness Shop


Joseph Holets standing in the door of his harness shop on Walker Street in Ely. His eldest daughter,
wife, son (also Joseph Holets, and younger daughter are standing by the fence.

A closeup of the Holets family from the above photo

In 1880 Joseph Holets established a harness shop on the west side of Walker Street near the corner of Downs Street.  Expansion of the warehouse soon housed an implement dealership. 

FROM THE ”ELY ECONOMY", an Ely, Iowa newspaper.  The paper has no date, but I believe the date would be about 1897 or 1898. (Since this is my husband's family I have made a few changes to the article with family knowledge.- Barb Horak)

The Holec (Holets) family came to the United States in the fall of 1857. Joseph Holets was born in 1859 on their farm about a mile south of Swisher, Iowa,and was raised there until 17 years old, attending school during the winter terms.  At that age he began his apprenticeship with J.W. Pauba, of Solon as a harness maker where he served two years and then worked for J. E. Dolezal at Ely as a journeyman for 18 months, till the death of Mr. Dolezal. 

He worked for his brother, John Holets, of Fairfax for two and a half years.  In September 1880, he married Miss Katherine Sedlacek at Danforth (later Swisher) and in November began business for himself in Ely where he has remained since and prospered in this line of business.  Mr. Holets is an enthusiastic member of the AOUW (Ancient Order of United Workman) in which he holds the master’s degree.  He and his family are members of the Bohemian Reformed church near Ely.  Mr. Holets is one of the respected and substantial business men of Ely who are doing not only for themselves but for their fellow men what they believe to be right.  His business as a harness maker is prosperous and his customers are all over this region.

The Holets harness shop after expansion to include implements. This view is looking down
Walker Street towards Dows St. with the long-gone Poduska Saloon in the background.

Article from a Cedar Rapids newspaper - in family possession - no date (Spring of 1939)

Joseph Holets, 79, retired Ely business man, was killed at 5:40 p.m. Friday, when run over by a truck, which Leonard Reyhons, 23, was backing into Ely's main street from an alley beside the retail store he manages.

Mr. Holets, who would have been 80 May 7, suffered a crushed chest and broken back.  Following an investigation with Deputy Sheriff Harlan Snyder, Dr. B. L. Knight, coroner, said there will be no inquest.

Accompanied by Frank Kos, 78, and J. C. Dvorak, 78, both Ely men, Mr. Holets had left the post office just across the street from the accident scene.  Kos and Dvorak started east on the north side of the street and Holets was walking across the road southward, apparently scanning newspaper headlines as he entered the mouth of the alley, witnesses said.  Acquaintances said Mr. Holets was hard of hearing.

Mr. Holets was born about one mile south of Swisher.  For a half-century he operated an implement and harness store at Ely.  He and his wife, Katherine, who survives, would have passed their sixtieth wedding anniversary next September.  He was affiliated with the Masonic lodge at Fairfax.

Other relatives include a son, Joseph W. Holets of near Ely, and two daughters, Mrs. Frank Henik of Mount Vernon and Mrs. Thomas Horak, route 2, Cedar Rapids; one brother, John Holets of Cedar Rapids; two sisters, Mrs. Joseph Kubicek and Mrs. A. O. Latimer, both of Cedar Rapids and seven grandchildren.  The body was taken to the Brosh Funeral home in Cedar Rapids.

Joseph's son, Joseph W. Holets was a banker in Ely for many years.

Cedar Rapids Gazette
Tuesday, 3 April 1984

     Joseph W. Holets, 97, of Ely, manager of First Trust and Savings Bank in Ely from 1943 until retiring in 1965, died Monday morning at St. Luke's Hospital of heart failure.
    Born July 17, 1886, in Ely, he married Ida Barta on Nov. 28, 1911.  She died in 1965.  He farmed and served as secretary and treasurer of the Ely Livestock Shippers Association, was secretary of the Board of Education, served on election boards and the Ely Volunteer Fire Department, and also as township clerk and town treasurer.  He was a member of Ely IOOF Lodge 581, Linn Encampment 49, Canton Rainbow Patriarchs Militant 22 of Cedar Rapids and Posledni Taborita 16 of Ely, and a charter member of Ely Rebekah Lodge 56.
     Surviving is a daughter, Gladys Holets of Ely.

Gladys Holets served as a clerk in the Ely bank for many years.

Joseph Holets and wife, Katherine Sedlacek Holets

Joseph W. Holets with his wife, Ida, and daughter, Gladys

Joseph W. Holets built a brick house where his father's harness and implement business had been. He,his wife, and his daughter, Gladys, lived there for many years. The house still stands today on the west side of Walker Street.

 The Ely Community History Society was initially funded by a large grant from the Gladys Holets Estate, for which we are grateful!


F.J. Krob 120th Anniversary

F.J. Krob & Company made some ink! They are featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Grain Journal magazine. The article focuses on the original wooden grain elevator in Ely, which was built in 1900.

Click this link to read the article on-line!
Old Time Elevator: 120 Years and Counting
F.J. Krob Co. Continues to Operate Ely, IA Elevator for Well Over a Century

 -- by Barbara Krupp-Selyem

 [photo: An early photo of F.J. Krob]


From the article: In 1910, William Howard Taft ... was serving as the 27th president of the United States.. Frank Joseph (F.J.) Krob, and his brother-in-law Wes Fiala bought the Ely elevator from C.S. King, though it wasn't long before Fiala sold his interest to Krob. Now, more than 110 years, 20 presidents and four generations later, the Krob family continues to own and operated the F.J. Krob elevator at Ely.  (below is the C.S. King Elevator that the Krob's purchased.)

 An old F.J.Krob sign posted recently on Facebook by Charlie Drahos.


Dvorak Hardware in Ely

Click the photo to enlarge it - then click again. 
DVORAK'S STORE circa 1909

J.C. Dvorak, Hardware, Tinware, Farm Machinery and Pumps. On the side of the building - Moline Wagons. To the left of the man's head - Jewel Stoves and Ranges. On the second building, below the upstairs doors - Moline Wagons and small sign to the right of downstairs door - J.L.Case. The I.O.O.F Lodge met in the rooms above the store (Independent Order of Odd Fellows). Note the wooden slat sidewalks and unpaved street.

JC Dvorak was born February 9 1861 in Luzany, Bohemia and in 1865, came with his parents to Linn County. He worked on his fathers farm and married Mary Cerveny in 1884. In 1888 he began a hardware and farm implement business in Ely which he operated until 1935. He was a prominent member of the Odd Fellows Lodge (IOOF) and served on the City Council and as Ely's Mayor, known as the "barefoot mayor" because he apparently had the habit of going barefoot.

The building on the corner was built jointly by Dvorak and the Ely IOOF Lodge No. 531, each paying half the cost with the understanding that the upstairs would be the Odd Fellows Hall.

Lumir Biderman operated the business from 1938 to 1972. Clary Illian had her pottery there for many years. This is the building that in 2020 is painted black.


Joseph Wojtishek

The Ely Community History Society has received a history on Josef Wojtishek (also seen as Vojtisek, or Woitisek) from Scott Phillips, a genealogical historian who has translated a large number of publications from the Czech language to English. 

The Wojtishek history appeared in Amerikán Národní Kalendář, Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208, under the heading of “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America"

The1898 history appears on the following links on Phillips' site "Onward to Our Past". 

Link 1 (scroll down to find the Wojtishek history);  Link 2;   Link 3

Read more about Joseph Wojtishek in an earlier blog post.
Here is the transcript of the 1898 article:
Josef Wojtishek from , Linn County, Iowa, was born in 1837 in Jimramov, Moravia on the Bohemian border where his parents worked as farmers. He attended local elementary school there. When he finished that school he helped his parents until 1853 when they sold everything they owned in order to leave for America. They hoped that their hard work would be better rewarded there. Another reason was to avoid military service for Josef and his brother. None of them wished to see them wearing the tight jacket of an Austrian soldier.

They went via Bremen to Galveston, Texas where they landed after 8 weeks of fortunate sailing. They continued on to Houston where they then stayed for 2 weeks. A Protestant preacher Bergman, from Cat Spring in Austin County, tried to convince them to move there, but they did not like the intensely hot weather of Texas, which they were not accustomed to. They were also afraid of the lack of good spring water, a really rare commodity in Texas.

Due to these reasons they decided to go back to Galveston and from there continued on to New Orleans. From that town they sailed via the Mississippi River north to St. Louis where they planned to settle. But they did not like that town too.  During this time there were some riots and therefore they decided to go to Chicago.”
“In Galena, Illinois the father of Wojtishek became very sick and on the third day after their arrival in Chicago he died. Everyone can understand the feelings of these poor immigrants staying by the coffin of the man who was their main support and breadwinner.  After they buried their father for his eternal rest, they continued on as orphans to Caledonia, Wisconsin, near Racine.

In this town there lived some other Czechs including some of their friends from the Old Country. They went there to buy some land and settle there. But the land in Caledonia was already too expensive and for newcomers it would have been very difficult to start there. Several families from Caledonia were going to move to Iowa at this time because land was cheap there and the people who had already settled there sent them good news. So the Wojtishek family decided to move there, too.

They bought a pair of oxen and together with another four families started the journey. After two weeks of traveling they reached Cedar Rapids. This was about eight miles from the place called Hoosler Grove (now Ely). At this place they occupied governmental land and started to farm. In the surrounding area were a lot of redskins in those times and also a lot of wolves. This made it difficult for the newcomers. Their first summer Josef, together with his younger brother, built a hut. Despite the fact that the hut was a primitive one they were proud of it and having one made it feel like a palace to them.

Three years later their mother remarried and in 1862 bought 40 acres in the same neighborhood and Josef remained alone on the first farm. His brother helped at both places and also worked for other farmers. In that time (1862) he married Miss Anna Riegel,[also Rigel] who came from an old Czech patriotic family.

They worked hard on the farm until 1872 and being successful, they found themselves able to buy more land. In the mentioned year he already owned 280 acres and an additional 80 acres, which they later sold. But his wife suffered from gout and could not be of much help to him. Therefore he began thinking about starting a new business. In 1872, together with one American, they established a profitable drugstore [general store] in Ely. But they went separate ways some time later. From that time on Wojtishek has had his own store and thanks to his hard work it has flourished.”

At a later time later he (Ed: Josef Wojtishek) took advantage of an opportunity to join a grain store, where he successfully worked together with his co-partner for sixteen years. In 1888 he paid his co-partner for his portion of the store and since that time he has been the sole owner of the store.  Wojtishek became a wealthy man because in addition to owning the drugstore [general store] and grain store he is a stockholder in one bank in Cedar Rapids and for some time he was also its chairman. He also is the owner of 275 acres of great soil in Linn County.

He has a three living children. His son, Fr. J. Wojtishek, is a popular physician in Cedar Rapids and a daughter Marie works as a teacher in the public schools there. The youngest daughter, Anna, still lives with her parents.
However, Wojtishek is a cool-headed man who always works with invincible energy. This is the reason for his successes in business and in farming, too. His wife is alive too and she likes to talk about their hard beginnings in this country that they overcame.
Below: Daughters, Anna Woitishek (left) and Marie Woitishek (right)