Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Alton, Iowa showing St. Mary's Catholic Chuch 
near the top of this photo.

St. Mary's Catholic Church - Recent Photo

St. Mary's Academy had its inauspicious beginnings in a tricked out stable in the fall of 1885, organized by three sisters of St. Francis from Dubuque:  Sr. Clara Hartmann, Sr. , Seraphine O'Donnel and Sr. Alberta Steifer.  Monthly tuition was $1.50 per pupil.

This Photo is a 1939 snapshot of Grade One students at the St. Mary's Academy in Alton, Iowa.

Front Row:  Clarice Hodapp, Audrey Mae Pottebaum, Darlene Mousel, Glenis Kellen, Hilda Jochim, Mary Ann Kass, Lyanne Schneider.
Second Row:  Jack Even, Delores Gaul, Wallburga Miller, The Haupert twins, Patty Von Arb;
Third Row:  Art Braun, Donny Wayne Probst, Lowell Vorthems, Eugene Potebaum, Leonard Reefe, Cy Zenk.
Fourth Row:  Duane McCarthy, Geroge Jungers, Duane Biever, Harley Engledinger, Paul Minten and Darrel Vorthems.    
Photo submitted by Duane A. Biever

This photo is a 1943 snapshot of the Graduating Cass of 1949 at the former St. Mary's Academy in Alton, Iowa.  

Front Row:  Hilda Jochim, Patty Von Arb, Glenis Kellen, Duane Biever, Paul Minten, George Jungers, Donald Minton.
Second Row:  Darlene Mousel, Mary Ann Kass, Lyanne Schneider, Donny Wayne Probst, Duane McCarthy, Harlen Engeldinger, Donald Garmin.
Third Row:  Darlene McGrath, Loyal Konz, Cy Zenk, Art Braun, Jack Even, Jane Full.
Fourth Row:  Johnny Schnoes, Walbuga Miller, Margaret Braun, Delores Gaul, Our Teacher - Sister Iola Byrne.

This photo features Alton telephone operator, 19 year old Florence Morrison.  The picture was taken on November 7, 1914.  All those cord pair connections that she has plugged in equate to individual telephone conversations.  I count 12 corda, which is six pairs - so six conversations are taking place.

1915 Iowa state Census, Card No. 330

Florence Morrison-white, single, age 19
Alton, Iowa (town )
Occu: Telephone Operator
Total earnings 1914= $240 (which works out to $20 per month)
Education: Grammar 8
Birth Place: Iowa
Own home or farm: No Roman Catholic
Father's birth place: Iowa
Mother's birth place: South Dakota


  1. Beautiful glimpse into the past! Thanks for sharing! God bless!

    1. Thank you Shari, Alton is not my hometown parish but it was not far away. The Church remains a landmark. The town hasn't grown a whole lot since these photos were taken. God Bless you and your family. Ron Klemme