Grace Ransom Tea Room 1933

The Dexter junior-senior banquet of 1933 was held in Des Moines at the Grace Ransom Tea Room, considered a high-class place to eat.

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Grace Ransom opened her tea room in 1927–which seated 238 customers, on the second floor above the Walgreen Drug Store at 7th and Locust, after operating tearooms in New York and Boston. The waitresses wore colonial costumes. Known for its cinnamon rolls and fruit salad, the tea room was the first restaurant in the city to introduce sherbet in the center of a fruit plate.

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It must have been a thrill for small town high schoolers during those Depression years to dine at the well-known tea room. Three years earlier, the Iowa Home Economics Association held their annual meeting and luncheon there.

The Dexter Class of 1933 graduated May 11.



Their superintendent, Wesley D. Clampitt, had gone to school with Clabe Wilson, father of Delbert and Donald–county school, that is, at Frog Pond School in Guthrie County.

Marker near Talon Ave. & 290th Lane, north of Beaver Creek

Classmates Ray Thrilkill and Howard Davidson had attended Penn No. 4 country school in 1927 with Del and Don, then they all attended high school together in the town of Dexter.

After graduation classmate Howard Benz joined the US Navy. A year later, the Wilson brothers would follow, ending up on the same ship.

Old classmates Don Wilson, Howard Benz, and Delbert Wilson–USS Chicago, 1934.

Do these three look like they’d have dined in Grace Ransom Tea Room just a year earlier?




  1. Another great story. It is too bad there is not a tearoom that has the same menu now. It sounds delicious.

  2. I love that I came across this! Howard Davidson was my maternal grandfather. I was googling some random things from Dexter/Van Meter and was fortunate enough to come across this!

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