Family Adventures · Iowa Icons · Museums and History · Roadside Iowa · Southwest Iowa

Iowa’s First Aisle with a Helpful Smile


Beaconsfield, IA: Ringgold County (Our 37th County!)

I remember countless Sundays with my Mom at the North Dodge Hy-Vee in Iowa City. I ordered the same thing every time from the “Deli”. Half order of biscuits and gravy, two sausage patties, and two eggs scrambled. Since then I have evolved my order but not by much. The original North Dodge Hy-Vee was the place where I had my first job when half the building shared its space with Drugtown and the department I worked in was called “The Deli” and then Vee’s Kitchen. Today that building has given way to a much bigger and state of the art facility just a half-block away from the original location. I’ve traveled all  over Iowa and have relied on Hy-Vee many times. From the mega stores in our major metro locations to the old school locations like the one in Lamoni that still has carpet on their floors. But where did this Iowa staple have its beginning? Would you believe that one of Iowa’s largest employers started in Iowa’s smallest populated incorporated towns?

15 souls call Beaconsfield, IA home and they utilize the first Hy-Vee as their commuity building. The great depression was obviously a very trying time for millions of Americans, but it was also a time period that brought forth thousands of entrepreneurs and Iowa saw a major impact with this culture of extremely hard working men and women who stopped at nothing to raise healthy families. Hardwood flooring, tin ceilings, and not a single chicken fryer could be seen at the first Hy-Vee. This little brick building spawned an army of future stores and a legion of loyal customers all over Iowa and Midwest locations in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri. The Beaconsfield “hay-days” may have been decades ago, but this little town’s history can still be seen.

The old jailhouse still stands next to the town park where the old schoolhouse bell is proudly displayed. The town water pump is still positioned on Main Street at the four way stop next to the Methodist church that continues to welcome its congregation every Sunday. Beaconsfield may be small, but the imagination of its citizens reaches to the stars. Quite literally for current NASA astronaut and Biochemist, Peggy Whitson. Beaconsfield is her hometown with nearby Mount Ayr, Iowa being her birthplace. This historic town may be small, but it produces leaders. If you love history, then you need to turn down the back roads and see the rural Iowa landmark of Beaconsfield.

Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin

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