Connected Bloodlines

Country Life Revisited: Part 11: Transcription



Gm = Hazel Louise Miller Lowell

Gp = George John Lowell

J = Gerald Ray Lowell

M = Mitchell Scott Block

Gp: Oh, you know, I forgot to tell Mitch, about when we went by that Ellis corner that big barn, that was a big time still in the old days. It was a biggie. I think the Mafia in Chicago owned it. The only reason they caught ‘em eventually was that they were going to Sioux City to buy sugar by the truckload and this truck was every day or so going to Sioux City to buy a truckload of sugar. They got suspicious and followed this truck home and then they found the operation. And, they had the still, was in that big barn and what was normally the hay mow was the top of these big vats. These vats sat on the floor and the top of them was up there in the hay mow. Several of them. And the smoke and stuff they run that out to the silo, see, to camoflauge their operations.

J: I love it.

Gp: That was during Prohibition days.

Gm: And there was smoke coming out from underneath that silo.

Gp: Well, after they discovered it, you could see from the silo’s eaves there was a little gap between the roof and the up and down part you could see where the smoke would come out from around there.

Gm: I can still see those big vats and that stuff. After they discovered it and arrested these guys, then they let everybody come out and look at it.

Gp: They said it was a good quality booze.

J: Were they shipping it out then, Grandpa?

Gp: Oh God, yes. Like I say, they was probably trucking the finished product back into Chicago. See, actually, it’s less than 600 miles from here to Chicago. And those bootleggers, they had those big fancy sports cars and probably, you know, 75-80 mph and they could make it easy.

Gm: Say, have we passed the school.

Gp: Hayward School?

Gm: Yeah.

J: It’s right there.

Gp: This is Williams and I29. It contaminated all this ground.

Gm: They had to kick the kids out of the school, all of last year. They bought this school for something like a million dollars. The building cost $3M.

Gp: Here to our right is Pfeifer’s Implement. The guy who runs it is an old buddy of your dad’s.

J: Is this the road where the Train Motel is on?

Gp: Yup. You’re going to pass it up on the right.

J: It poured here. There’s puddles everywhere. [the car hits a big puddle of water]

Gp: Holy mackerel!

Now, your Train Motel is coming up.

Gm: Right in here.

J: Here it is, right here.

Gp: They’ve taken these sleeping cars, when there used to be sleepers on the train and made them into motel units.

Gm: My gosh, it must have poured.

Gp: Well, it usually happens. I spent all day yesterday watering. [laughter]

Gp: Where we are about to cross the bridge up here used to be the city dump for years and years and years and years.

J: Here's the river.

Gp: And right in here was the Willowdale House [whorehouse.]

J: The Willowdale House?

Gp: This is where you would find those characters that we saw up at the K-Mart. [prostitutes]

J: Ohhhh.

M: Well, there’s the K-Mart. That would explain why they were there.

Gp: Well, they were there before the K-Mart!

Gm: Look at the water standing here!

Gp: Now, where would you guys like to go and eat? Do you want to go to 707 and eat ham or...

M: Yeah, except that Alice Alice is expecting us home for dinner.

Gm: Well, it’s already about 7 o’clock. You won’t get home until 8:00.

M: Linda and Tom were going to be coming back from Minneapolis and they were going to be home around 8:00.

J: Let’s call them when we get home.

Gp: Let's go out and eat first and then call them up. [laughter]

Gm: You want to get them in trouble, don’t you!

Gp: Well, then you’re safe see.

J: Yeah, you’re safe, but we got to go back home.

Gp: Well, you just tell them Grandpa said.

J: I think she was planning a late dinner.

M: Yeah, it is our last night there, that’s why Linda and Tom were going to come back tonight so we could have dinner together.

Gp: Now, these apartments on the left.

J: That’s where Faye Stauffacher lives.

Gp: I’ve heard lots of comments, pro and con, about those apartments.

You know, Jack and Florence got about as nice an apartment as you can have, I mean, for ordinary people. Very good security. Very nice apartment. Well-kept up inside.

J: Does Jack drive anymore?

Gp: He don’t, but he could.

Gm: He just sits in the chair there.

Gp: I think it’s just a cryin’ shame that he does that. I see all...

There’s pros and cons about whether he could have gotten away from that oxygen but he said that he had to have it. I see all kinds of guys shopping in the grocery store with that little tank in that cart. He could have it in his seat, aside him.

Gm: Well, if Jim is around, he’d go out; he’d come over to our house if Jim was there. He don’t mind it with us.

Gp: Well, in the first place, Jim, you know, Jim supposedly knows all about that oxygen tank, all about this and that, and Jim is big and can help him around a bit.

Gm: He's got a lot of faith in Jim. You know, when they had that family reunion that big West Sioux reunion you know, Charlie wanted him to come down there. And he wouldn’t do it. And the night where they had a lot of goings on, Jim got him and brought his tank and everything and spent the evening out there and then had a good time.

J: Great! I heard it was quite the bash.

Gm: Yeah.

Gp: We bought the book on that--the one that Clayton Smith wrote [The West Sioux Story. 1985.] We haven’t got it yet.

J: Oh, you did?

Gp: You might be interested in it.

Gm: You’d probably be interested in it.

J: Oh, very much so.

Gp: And, I think in it is the map that I made about West Sioux in 1910.

J: Can I still buy one of those books?

Gp: I think so.

They were harassing Jack and Florence. I could find out for you.

J: Would you please? I’d love to buy one. Get one for me.


Gp: I don’t think your Dad is getting one. The thought kinda’ was that we’d get this one and when we were through with it, then Jim could have it, because the other two boys never had the connection with West Sioux. Jim did.

I mean, Jim was born there, but that wasn’t that much, but …

Gm: Jim and Alice went to everything and they knew more people than we did.

J: They were really West Sioux’ers.

Gp: Yeah, you see, they spent many years in West Sioux.

See I drew this map of who lived where in 1910 and Clayton's got a copy of that in this book.

J: Well, if you could find out, Grandpa, I’d love a copy and I’d pay you for it or whatever needs to be done.

Gp: Okay. I think they were ten bucks.

J: Well, here we are. It looks like you got drenched.

Gp: Do you want to push the button, Mitch?

Yeah, we should get out before you pull the car in [arriving at 707 S. Menlo, Sioux Falls, SD.]

Gm: Well that was …. [tape cut off]