Ridgeway’s Sesquicentennial — 150th Celebration to be held June 3, 2017


Ridgeway - H.W. Klemme came to the Ridgeway area and settled on a farm 3 miles southwest of Ridgeway.
In 1872, his son William H. Klemme, came to Ridgeway to manage a drug store, owned by his father-in-law Dr. George Bolles. He did not like this business so started the Klemme Lumberyard.
Ole Rue owned this lumberyard for many years. After Ole, his son, Loren Rue owned it. 1966-1973.
Stanley (Slim) Maroushek owned it for a short time.
Ridgeway Lumber started its family history in 1975 when Corliss and Glenda Peters purchased the building at auction for the railroad access. Corliss would transport fertilizer in for his farm near Bluffton. In the fall of 1975 Corliss used the alleyway of the main building for his corn storage.
In December 1976, Corliss decided to reopen the lumberyard as Ridgeway Feed and Lumber. The business consisted of lumber, building materials, paint, and feed. With the train running through Ridgeway, some inventory came by rail cars. The lumberyard was run by Corliss, Glenda, and their four daughters while still farming in Bluffton. During this time, Shelly studied at NICC Calmar for Building Materials Management to learn how to estimate and blueprint.
In the late 1980s the city wanted to build a new fire department. The business had land across the street with an old coal building Corliss used to hold fertilizer. The city agreed to purchase the land and the new fire department was later built on site in 1991.
In 1992 the four daughters Denise Gjere, Cindy Bappe, Shelly Novotny-Bohr, and Becky Baumler purchased the business and it was renamed Ridgeway Lumber. Shelly and Denise along with their families ran the lumberyard with Cindy joining in 1997. In 2000 Jane Frana also began working in the office.
Many of the third generation helped out when needed at the lumberyard throughout the years. Pete Gjere started full-time in 2004 and left in 2010 for other opportunities. Ethan Novotny joined us full-time after graduating from Wartburg College in 2011.
Over the years the lumberyard has added a few buildings for inventory expansion, but the main building is still standing after 163 years. With the building being older than the city explains why the building is set lower than the new roads. The city storm sewer ran below the alleyway until city maintenance corrected it.
With updated technology, we have obtained better capabilities for designing/blueprintig new homes, remodels, sheds, and other projects. Jane started using a program to draw houses, which made Shelly glad that she didn't have to draw plans by hand which was done for many years. After Ethan came on, we have improved our software to provide better blueprints, 3d images, and larger to-scale prints.
In 2016 we celebrated our 25th Year for the sisters as owners. We are planning to continue our family history for many years to come with Ethan leading into the next generation.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to Breaking News feed