BRIEF HISTORY of the DIAGONAL PRINTING MUSEUM BUILDING
The building was built in 1909 by Dr. A. E. JESSUP
. The lot was sold to Mrs. JESSUP for $1,800 in May 1909. Dr. JESSUP and family made their home in the upstairs, and he
used the large room downstairs for a drug store. The room in the southwest corner was used for his office. The building was
used by Doctor JESSUP until 1919. He moved to another building up the street. The building was occupied by several
businesses until 1924. Thomas S. WAFFLE moved the Diagonal Reporter into the building in 1924.
started working for Mr. WAFFLE in 1922. Harold worked for Mr. WAFFLE until 1934, when Mr. WAFFLE died. Harold continued
running the paper for the estate until 1937, when he purchased the business, and in 1939, he purchased the building for
The building was renovated, and Harold, Mildred and Miles moved in 1940. The TURNBULLS would live here until 1982,
when they moved to Washington State to be near Miles and his family.
The Reporter was sold in 1972 to Helen
TERRY of Mount Ayr. She published the paper until May 31, 1979.
The mechanical equipment reains in place in the building
complex of the old method of composition and printing known as "hot-type."
Harold received his "fifty year" award from
Iowa Press Association in 1972.
In December 1983, the Diagonal Community set their goal to raise money to purchase the
Reporter Office, and open a museum. Over $7,200 was raised within a year. The museum opened on Memorial Day
Week-end of 1984.
Thank you for visiting the Diagonal Printing Museum and Genealogy Collection Center.
HISTORY OF THE HOME of The DIAGONAL REPORTER
by Mildred Turnbull, 1984
The town of Diagonal was platted on March 30, 1889, a part of the E1/2 NE1/2 Section 6, Twp. 69, Ringgold 30, and
recorded April 3, 1889, Book I, Page 62 in the courthouse of Ringgold County, Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Site of the building
is Lot I, Block 14 of the original polt, a business lot with a 25-foot frontage extending west to the alley.
platting the abstract for this property lists various owners, and after platting the following: Hettie PERRY, Minerva
HENSLEY, Mary FORBES, A. R. SHRIMPTON, Carrie CARR, and B. F. BEADLE who sold the lot to Mrs. A. E. JESSUP for the sum
of $180.00 (sic) in May 1909.
Mrs. JESSUP and her husband, Dr. A. E. JESSUP, then of Sharpsburg, Iowa, mortgaged a
farm located near Redding, Iowa for $5,000.00 in order to build the structure which stands on the site. (The mortgage
was retired in five years.)
The building, standing as erected, is two full stories built with 2x6 framing, high
ceilings on both floors, numerous windows, and "insulated" with two layers of what was then called building paper.
The lower floor consists of one large room, designed for the use as a drug store, and sunny southwest room for the doctor's
office, storage space, and a stairway leading to the the large upstairs apartment where the JESSUP family made their home.
Dr. and Mrs. JESSUP, two daughters, Vera and Ruth, and a son, Byron, moved in, in time for the JESSUP twins, Dale and
Dorothy, to be born there October 9, 1909.
Family members recall a store showcase displaying cigars and tobacco for
sale, a practice discontinued when the doctor decided not to sell anything which he himself would not use.
In the doctor's
office a barber chair served the patients, and there was an early "X-Ray" machine, made up of a series of glass wheels and
brushes. The machine did not produce pictures, and required someone to turn the mechanism, usually a form of "son" power.
In the dark recess of an under stairway closet there hung a human skeleton, long remembered by those frightened at the
Dr. JESSUP, his family, and the store occupied the building for ten years, then moving to another location on
For an interim of five years various small businesses occupied the ground floor, and various families
lived in the apartment.
In 1924, Thomas S. WAFFLE, owner, editor and publisher of the Diagonal Reporter,
purchased the building, moved his business there, and with his wife, Maude, lived in the apartment.
sole Reporter employee, moved with the business, having apprenticed in April, 1922, age 16, and just prior to his
graduation from Diagonal High School.
The Reporter, which had risen from the ashes of the Diagonal Progress,
was hand-set until later in the twenties when a Mergenthaler Linotype was installed, replacing and removing the drudgery of
letter-by-letter composition and distribution.
This employer-employee relationship continued until Mr. WAFFLE'S death
in 1934, with TURNBULL taking charge of the business for three years for the estate.
After 15 years of employment, Mr.
TURNBULL purchased the weekly in 1937, and two years later also purchased the building when it went on the auction block
for delinquent taxes. Purchase price $105.
The TURNBULLS renovated the building with Harold, wife Mildred, and their
son, Miles, moving there in 1940, continuing residence for 42 years.
The Reporter was sold in 1972 when the owner
retired after fifty years with and as The Diagonal Reporter. The mechanical equipment remains in place in the
building, a working complex of the old method of compositition and printing known as "hot-type."
The building stands,
four-square and sturdy, following 75 years of usefulness, a community landmark providing a decade of shelter for a doctor
and his family, and for 60 years known as the Reporter Office.
It has been said that the heartbeat of a community
went in and out that door.
It has withstood the passage of time, hard use, neglect, lightning strike and tornadic
winds, as well as the loving care of its owners. In spite of this and because of this, it stands.
NOTE: Upon entering the museum, immediately to your right is a nice window providing a view north up Main Street. Betty RUBY told me that Mildred TURNBULL had the window installed, then situated her desk by the window so she could watch the action on Main Street as she worked throughout the day.
Betty also told me that when Dr. Arthur Earnest JESSUP had the building and his medical practice on the first floor, the JESSUP family resided on the second floor. Dr. JESSUP had the second story windows situated opposite of one another from one side of the building to the other. This, he believed, would insure that his family would not be infected from any of the diseases and illnesses he was treating on the first floor. ~ Sharon R.Becker
Submissions and photograph by Mike Avitt, June of 2010
Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County Iowa, Page 8
By Mike Avitt
Congratultions to Paragon Publications (Mount Ayr Record-News) on its purchase of the Diagonal Progress newspaper. I was reminded
of this transaction when I bought a copy of, "Round the Community," by Harold E. Roberts. Mr. Roberts was publisher of the Creston News-Advertiser from
1974 to 1984 and his book is a collection of short biographies of people Mr. Roberts knew or was familiar with. Some of the Ringgolders he covered were
Lewis Slavik, Milt Henderson, Pearl Kokesh, and Harold and Mildred Turnbull.
Harold Turnbull was associated with the Diagonal Reporter for 50 years.
He was born in Blockton, Iowa on March 16, 1906 and moved with his family to Knowlton around 1910. Harold attended Knowlton school until 1920 when the
school discontinued its high school grades. He graduated from Diagonal High School in 1922 and began work at the Diagonal Reporter in April 1922.
Mr. Turnbull married Mildred Anne Wiley on March 10, 1928 and Mildred's main contribution to the newspaper was a column she wrote called, "Bird Notes." This
column was widely known and followed.
The Turnbulls bought The Diagonal Reporter from the Thomas Waffle estate on January 11, 1937. Harold had
been managing editor for the paper since the owner, Mr. Waffle, died in February 1933.
In November, 1966, Harold
suspended publication of The Reporter for a period of time due to health reasons. He and Mildred sold the newspaper to Helen Terry on May 1, 1972 and
eventually retired to Washington state. Harold passed away July 14, 1990.
The building in this week's article was built in 1909 by Dr. Arthur and Mrs.
Jessup. He was born in Macksburg and practiced medicine in Sharpsburg before coming to Diagonal in 1909. There was a drug store and doctor's office on
the main floor while the family had living quarters upstairs. This structure became a museum in 1983.
The Diagonal Reporter moved to this
building, I believe, the first week of January 1918. A paragraph in the December 26, 1917 Mount Ayr Record-News says Carson Williams had leased
the Jessup building and would start a new newspaper, The Diagonal Reporter. Dr. Jessup was moving his drug store stock to the Ostrander building
which used to house Carson's Cash Grocery.
These moves were necessiated by a tragic fire on Dec. 11, 1917 in which the First Natoinal Band and the
Diagonal Progress newspaper office were lost. All past issues of the newspaper housed in the office were destroyed. Carson Williams had traded his
Diagonal Progress newspaper operation to Ross Rees seven months previous for
a variety store in town.
After the fire, Rees left town and Carson Williams went to Kansas City and bought new equipment. He immediately started a new
newspaper called The Diagonal Reporter. But Carson would not have the the paper for long. In an editorial on the front page of the July 4, 1918 edition,
Mr. Williams explains he has leased the newspaper to Thomas Waffle of Lorimor. Carson had been reclassified in the war draft and he felt certain he was
going. Mr. Waffle hired Harold Turnbull in April 1922.
Two more things I want to mention about Thomas Waffle. The Lorimor centennial book says Thomas
Waffle was owner of the Lorimor Journal in 1919. This is possible because both Lorimor and Diagonal were on the Chicago Great Western Railway
and the number of passenger trains would have allowed Mr. Waffle to travel between the two points with some frequency. Still, the work load would be
tremendous and I would want to see a 1919 Lorimor Journal before I etched it in stone.
The other thing is my Twice-A-Week News notes
say Thomas Waffle bought the Diagonal Progress from Charles Wroughton in August of 1899. On May 4, 1900, The Diagonal Progress celebrated
its eighth anniversary with Thomas Waffle as editor. So he was a busy man.
~ Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker