Sioux City Sunday Journal, September 8, 1929 Vol 60, no. 21 Section D, p 1, col 8

Pioneer Church and Saloon in LeMars is being Razed

LeMars, Ia- Special: "Old timers" in LeMars are growing sentimental over the dismantling of the Beaufils building, one of the first in LeMars, which was erected in 1870 when LeMars was nothing more than a few shacks on the prairie and a more or less mythical plat on file at the old county seat in Melbourne. "The building first was occupied by Roe Amsden, who supplemented his business with hardy pioneers by occasional Indian trading. The upper story was known as Amsden's hall and here, by the light of smoky oil lanterns, early settlers danced square dances, hoe-downs and Virginia reels to the accompaniment of squeaking fiddles and the howling blizzards. "In the early days, religious services also were held in Amsden's hall. Bishop Sumner Lee, first Episcopal bishop in Iowa, helped services there. Mrs. B.C. Woolley, president of the Plymouth County Abstract Company, underwent the rites of christening on the bishops visitation. Her father, the late D. W. Clarke, operated an implement and hardware store in one of the few building that formed the primitive prairie village. "But before long Amsden's hall fell from grace and became a saloon, which was conducted by Pat Gainor, famous Missouri and Mississippi river pilot and friend of Mark Twain. The place was patronized by land seekers and members of the early English Colony established by Cap Moreton. Pat Gainor dispensed a well known brand of "Old Crow" which he had come to know and respect on the Missouri river steamers, and his sample room always was liberally patronized by the habitues of such famous old resorts as the English "House of Lords," "House of Commons," "The Continental," and "Windsor Castle." "In the days when LeMars had a famous race track and polo team, congestion was so bad that visitors paid $5 for the privilege of sleeping on the bar from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. Pioneers relate many a tale of wassail and song in the old building." Contributed by Jan Johnson


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