On the corner of Central Avenue and 2nd Street in Le Mars, Iowa sits a brick building with a lot of history within its walls.
This building not only has a lot of history in Downtown Le Mars. It has a lot of history in my family.Todd Anderson practically grew up at 128 Central Avenue Southeast on the main street in the Ice Cream Capital of the World.
"The business has been in the family for 52 years," he told me.
That business is the Le Mars Beauty College. which his father bought and then Todd later attended and inherited.
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Now, this chapter is coming to a close for the Andersons as they embark on a new chapter.
It's bittersweet. Definitely has its hard moments.While they look ahead to what's next, they can't help but look back at the stories formed inside the walls of this former Masonic Lodge, built in 1923.
"Every time we have somebody come through here they are like, 'gosh it has really good bones'," Stacie said. She remembers the first time Todd gave her a tour of the structure. "It's built really well. It's got beautiful detail in the brick on the exterior, beautiful high ceilings. It's on the historic registry. That is something that we worked for with the help of some amazing people in Le Mars."
The Andersons did some renovations a few years ago after receiving a Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant. This allowed them to install new windows and make overall improvements, but many classic masonic features remain.
"Things like tile on some of the original bathroom floors, the doors and the woodwork," Stacie said. "All of these things that you can't find just anywhere."
The first floor still houses the Le Mars Beauty College where customers and students can't help but marvel at the classic beauty of the lodge. Up the stairs is another piece of history. Now home to Central Dance Academy, the dancers of today find themselves in the same room as the local masons, generations ago.
"When you think of it from that perspective and the length of time it's been here and what's happened in a century, from the very first town meetings being held here," the Anderson's said. "There's so much history. If only these walls could talk."
For Todd and Stacie, 128 Central Avenue Southeast, and those who have walked through its front doors over the last 52 years, will always be part of the family.
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