Blohm’s Grocery

George Amus Blohm, age 20, came to America in 1870 from Germany (Pellworm Island, Schleswig-Holstein) with his parents and eight younger siblings–because his father didn’t want his sons fighting for the kaiser in the Franco-Prussian War. (Schleswig-Holstein was part of Denmark when George’s parents were born.)

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The Martin Christian Blohm family. George A. Blohm is second from the right in the front row.

In 1888–130 years ago, he opened a butcher shop on Polk Street in Dexter, Iowa, handling all of his own butchering, smoking meats, rendering lard, plus making wieners and bologna and sausage.

In 1906, he bought a store on Dexter’s main street, built in 1918, which he converted into a meat and grocery store. His oldest daughter Martha began working in the store full time soon after this when she graduated from high school. All eleven Blohm children worked in the store at some time. Walt said he began working in the store soon after he learned to walk, or so it seemed. In the early days of the grocery and meats there were four free deliveries a day. Later a restaurant section was added.

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Blohm Grocery 1906. Martha Blohm, her father George A. Blohm, unknown woman.
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Blohm Grocery, third building from the right, red brick, 1968
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1909 picture of Dexter businessmen. George Blohm is fourth from the left in the middle row.

George Blohm died 100 years ago this November, while three sons served in WWI. From his obituary: “Mr. Blohm leaves to mourn his sudden departure his widow and the children Carl, Martha, George, Hanna, wife of Mr. Ira Cox, Carry [sic], wife of Mr. Lawrence Marsh, William, Ruby, wife of Mr. Kenneth Neal, Edwin, Walter, Frank, and three grandchildren. Carl, George and William are in the service of our country, the latter being with the American Expeditionary forces in France. One son, Martin Anton, the oldest of the family, preceded his father in death nine years ago last May. There are three brothers and two sisters to survive Mr. Blohm: Anton of Carroll, Ia., John of Colorado Springs, Colorado, August of Des Moines, Iowa, Mrs. Mary Reynolds of Winterset, Iowa, and Mrs. Lena Aikins of Van Meter, Iowa.”

When Carl Blohm returned from the military he took over the butchering. Carl and wife Wilma also made ice cream and ran a restaurant area.

In July 1933, the Barrow Gang hid out in Dexfield Park. Buck had a severe head wound. Clyde made several trips into Dexter for food and medicine. Five days in a row he ordered a chunk of ice and “five dinners to go” from the restaurant section of the store. Clyde promised to take the dishes and silverware back, and he did. [The Dexter Museum has a large display of Bonnie and Clyde pictures and memorabilia.]

1939-1942, Martha, Ed and Walt Blohm operated a restaurant known as the “Indian Grill,” which closed when Walt was called to the army during WWII. Martha and Ed continued to operate the grocery and locker.

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Indian Grill

1940 – A locker plant was installed and Ed became the full time butcher. After 1942 it was operated as a grocery and locker. [The building was later sold to Juanita Brading, and was torn down in 1990. There is just a “park” area now, to the south of the Dexter Library and Library Hall.]

Peggy (Blohm) Wells as her aunt Martha Blohm at the Dexter Sesquicentinnial celebration “Cemetery Stories,” Aug. 4, 2018.

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Sources: History of Dexter, Iowa for Dexter’s Centennial in 1968, page 30.

Clipping called “Family Affair Through the Years,” also obituary.

Running with Bonnie and Clyde – John Neal Phillips, pages 146-149.


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