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Wintry Mix: 1940

Wintry Mix: 1940

February 1940. Newsboy during a winter storm in Iowa City, Iowa. 35mm nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein, Farm Security Administration. View full size. Our readers point out the Englert Theater to the right, where "Balalaika" is playing.


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Iowa City hardware store

It's been a few years since I've lived in Iowa City, but Menard's was the main home improvement store. (Checks Google -- yep, closest Home Depot is a half-hour away in Cedar Rapids)

When I lived there, the downtown Lenoch & Cilek was a block or two south of the Englert in the Ped Mall (pedestrians only). It appears that store has moved a few blocks north of this picture.

One thing of note is that most of these commercial buildings are 2 or 3 storey mixed-use structures, with the top 1 or 2 floors devoted to apartments. Many University of Iowa students live there as downtown is adjacent to campus. Well, the campus sprawls all over the place, but its core is an easy walk from this location.

Iowa City hardware store

This is Joe Manning. Note the hardware store by the theater. The name looks like Lenoch & (something). I found two current listings in Iowa City for Lenoch & Cilek Ace Hardware. Eat your heart out Home Depot.

Movie at the Englert

They're showing "Balalaika" with Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey. Release date December 29, 1939 from MGM. In those days of course movies didn't debut everywhere at the same time. They didn't strike nearly the number of prints that they do today so it would probably take quite a while for a film like this to "trickle down" to a place like Iowa City.

Englert Theater

In the background to the right of the man is the Englert Theater (with vertical sign above the marquee). A major fundraising effort in the past decade saved the Englert from destruction, and today the theater is part of a thriving arts community near the University of Iowa campus.

More information, including a history of the Englert, is available at

Oh, Leo Kottke's gonna be there in February. I may need to pay a visit.

[Interesting. Say hi for Shorpy! - Dave]

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