Uptown area still maintains a special flavor - Quad-Cities Online: Local

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Uptown area still maintains a special flavor

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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 1998 1:00 am | Updated: 10:41 am, Fri Apr 25, 2014.

The delicous aroma of baking bread no longer wafts over the Uptown area. Peter's Bakery is long gone from Moline's 16th Street.

Browning Field still is there, though, still home to the Maroons. I've watched many a football game there and taken in more than my share of events at Wharton Field House.

The Brotmans have long since closed their theater, and Wheelock's Drug Store, where one could get a really great malted milk, is gone. Bonte's Confectionary is gone, and Christison's Market is a memory, as is the Ben Franklin and the Fancy Filly clothing store.

Still, there are many places to dine in the Uptown area -- Hasty Tasty, Maid-Rite, Pasteur's, Hardee's, Rudy's Taco House, and Whitey's and Country Style ice-cream shops.

There also is Jerry's Market, Sundial East hair salon, Holst-Kakert, Mahar real estate, K'nees Florist, Wendt Brothers Funeral Home, Lebeda Mattress, the American Legion, several churches, saloons, doctors' offices, convenience stores, and various other businesses in the Uptown area.

Frank ``Corky'' Mahar said the area first was called Stewartville after a Dr. Stewart, who developed it in 1870 after moving here from Pennsylvania. It was annexed to the city of Moline in 1896, said Mr. Mahar, whose building at the corner of 16th Street and 23rd Avenue once housed a Schlegel Drug Store and Al Bohy's radio repair shop.

Dr. Stewart bought farmland from 23rd to 29th avenues and from 14th to 19th streets, Mr. Mahar said. Those buildings all have been replaced, with the exception of part of the Hasty Tasty, he added.

The Uptown area also is home to Willard, Grant and Seton elementary schools, and a new junior high school connected with Seton is going up across from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

WQAD-TV is adjacent to Prospect Park, home of the Quad-City Music Guild, which has produced musical treats for area residents for many years.

The park once had a swimming pool and a place to dance on summer nights. We used to go there Sundays on the streetcar with a picnic basket and spend the day with the Walter Ebeling family, who lived in a little house near the park entrance.

In my heyday, 15th and 16th streets were alive and jumping. The aroma of bread and cinnamon rolls from Peter's Bakery lured many. As I recall, it was owned by William Peters and sold to Clem Georlett and Fred and Bob Keller about 1948.

Clem ``Hap'' Georlett Jr., who now owns Edstroms Carpet on 23rd Avenue, recalls when he, his brother Dave and sister Katy washed the bakery's huge frosting-covered bread trays.

Mildred's Ice Cream shop was on the corner of 16th Avenue and 16th Street. It was owned by Cecil R. and Mildred Mills Medd, who eventually became associated with Dairy Queen.

In those early years, gardeners depended on Teske Feed and Seed Co., operated by the late Albert August Abraham Teske. They had everything for lawn and garden and could repair any lawnmower known to man. The business started about 1922 and was operated by Mr. Teske until his death in 1960.

Albert and Agnes Teske's son, Jim, opted for another career, so the business was sold to their nephew, the late Ralph Bingham, then president of Teske's. Mr. Bingham's son, Terry Bingham, now is president. One of his sons manages the Moline store, while another manages the Bettendorf store, which opened in 1992. Several other family members work at the two sites.

Up the street is Whitey's Ice Cream at the corner of 23rd Avenue and 16th Street. Whitey's since has opened several other stores around the Quad-Cities.

Whitey's was founded in 1933 by Chester Lindgren, nicknamed ``Whitey'' because of his white-blonde hair. Two years after he opened the store, 16-year-old Bob Tunberg began working there and stayed through high school and off and on over the years that followed. In 1953 Bob bought the business, which he eventually passed on to his sons, Jeff and Jon.

In 1991 the brothers started a private-label business, making ice cream for other companies using those companies' names and recipes.

Anyone within several hundred miles who has not visited Whitey's probably lives on another planet. Whitey's malts, extra-thick shakes and chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream, to name a few, are shipped to many states, to customers who long for Whitey's and a taste of home.

Up the street is another family business, in operation for 111 years. Trevor True Value Hardware is run by John ``Butch'' Trevor. He took over the business from his father in 1989. The company was founded in 1887 by C.S. and Glen Trevor as an implement dealership.

Oldtimers recall the original store at 2424 16th St., filled with milk cans, kerosene lamps, plumbing fixtures, thick rope, power tools, barbed wire and endless copper pots and pans. There also were bins of nails and screws, flower seeds and endless stuff. If you couldn't find it at Trevor's, it probably did not exist.

Butch said he is in the process of downsizing the store about 25 percent. ``My main focus is not losing any customers during the change,'' he said.

Today, the store features an elegant gift shop, Hibbel paintings, flowers and plants, and cake-decorating classes. There also is a fine line of pots, pans, dishes and glassware.

Personally, for me the only store on that street was the Fancy Filly, operated by Marion McGill, whose husband, Tom, was an area builder who operated McGill Homes in the same building.

The Filly was the place for those who sought ``something different,'' and Marion always provided the right gown, shoes and coat. Her business started downtown across from Lagomarcino's in 1971 and moved up the hill on 16th Street in 1978. Sadly, the store closed in 1996 when Marion became ill.

Many area residents and merchants still meet each morning at the Hasty Tasty restaurant. In the old days, the restaurant was operated by Fern Poston, one of the best cooks of all time. She eventually sold the business to her son and grandson, Gay and Galen Starkweather.

The family sold the restaurant in 1993, ending 55 years of family ownership. Since then it has changed hands a couple times, but it still is a meeting place.

The Uptown area has had many banks over the years. One once stood on the corner of 16th Avenue and 15th Street in what eventually became Wheelock's Drug Store. Unfortunately, I do not recall which bank it was.

Uptown National Bank opened in 1954. Two years ago it became First National Bank, but it still is owned by Frank Farrar, the former governor of South Dakota, according to new bank president Mark Mosbrucker of Davenport.

Wendt Brothers Funeral Home, founded in 1866, still is run by the Wendt family. When Earl L. Wendt joined the partnership in 1967, he became the fifth generation of funeral directors in the family. His son, Earl Wendt IV, is the sixth generation to join.

It was started by Henry Earler, who owned a furniture store and had the funeral home as a sideline. His daughter, Elizabeth, married August H. Wendt, and in 1881 he built a new funeral home in Port Byron. That funeral home later was sold to their nephew, Hubert Daley, and eventually became Gibson Funeral Home.

In 1929 the Wendts opened a funeral home at 1811 15th St. Place, Moline. The current owner, Earl III, ran the home with his brothers, Pat and Mike, until he took over the entire operation.

K'nees Florist was founded in 1885 by William K'nees, a native of Germany who worked as a florist for Charles Deere, John Deere's son. Mr. K'nees' grandson Gene and his wife, Elaine, owned the business many years. It now is owned by Lauren and Sheila Zenk.

Who can forget Abe and Barney Brotman and their theaters, which opened in 1915? The Avoy, on 15th Street for many years, later became the Roxy. The Plaza was in the Olde Towne area. I won a silk pillow there once on Bank Night.

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