By Dolores Bader
The white shaving cup with gold lettering is just one example of my addiction to antiquity, but it is far and away a favorite! The cup is emblazoned with gold lettering that tells me it belonged to H.B. Lizer. It was Lizer who was the editor of the Progress Review in 1904 when it was consolidated with another local paper, the La Porte City Press. This community’s first newspaper, the La Porte City Progress, was published in 1870 by J.T. Metcalf. I didn’t have a clue who Lizer was when I paid fourteen dollars for that cup at a Russ Miszner auction on Commercial Street in 1984. I just knew it had my name as next owner on it. Information on the bottom of the cup, also in gold lettering, tells me it was “Decorated By Koken Barber’s Supply Co. of St. Louis, Mo.”
Lizer was more than a newspaper editor. Professor Lizer was also the principal of the new La Porte City school erected in 1894. He was in charge of a staff of seven and a student body of 346. That building was a new beginning for this community. It cost about $20,000 and incorporated about 450,000 bricks. A few of those bricks now border my flower beds. I love the idea that the building that housed the presses for the first PR is now the home of Shelley and Dave Hopkins PRIMitive and Proper Antique Shop.
There are a lot of bits of history floating around this community. There are the Mayme Gill plates with a variety of local pictures. A tiny pin dish and a miniature ceramic basket feature the original high school. Both of those pieces are white with gold trim. There are the paintings of Lela Briggs and Lucille Arthur. This community has a rich history (well documented by the local museum) and we need to make sure that the past inspires the present.
Where am I headed? To Main Street. The Syndicate Block hails back to 1881. Dear Hearts, THIS IS A TREASURE that many communities would love to center on. Big Creek is a quiet beauty. We need to stop being the last town in the county and start claiming our place as a progressive community with the best in schools, churches and public services to be found in any Midwest community.