Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society


    • Personal Memories




    Lottie Ogle's Log Cabin Ventures

    How one got by and made a living during the "Dirty Thirties"

    Mrs. Bert Ogle, better known as Lottie Ogle, lived in Section 9 in Squaw Township of Warren County. This was a heavily wooded area and is a beautiful scenic drive in the 1980s.

    This business venture began about 1930. When Lottie built small tourist cabins of the native timber on her farm fashioned much like the pioneer log cabin of pioneer days. She lived in one of these cabins until she built a large log house for her own personal use. This house was her residence the remainder of her life. She then built a barn for her livestock also of the logs of pioneer architecture. She then continued building, making a large dance platform which became very popular far and near for her Wednesday and Saturday nite round and square dances.

    She then built the log enclosure of the dance platform and it became a dance hall and round and square dances were held year around.

    She served hamburgers made from her home butchered beef. She served hot dogs and soft drinks. She had her own special fruit drink remembered at the present time as a julip but stressed it was not a mint julip but had the flavor of orange.

    She also served a chicken sandwich and this became a well known favorite of her customers. This was described as a cooked chicken then ground and made into a pressed chicken sandwich. She also served coffee. It became a well known night spot. Where many young fellows took his best girl for an evening entertainment of food, drink and dancing. Yet under the cover of darkness others were trying to beat the Grreat Depression and make a living by selling illegal liquor. On every stump in this wooded area in the still of the night, money was changing hands in a large bootlegging business of homemade beer and whiskey. Was no one aware of this illegal and immoral participation? It is the legend that Lottie kept her part of the business legal and looked the other way as to any other business that might of taken place. The legend is also that probably the sheriff of the county too turned away from any investigations that might have proven to have been a problem if examined too closely.

    Lottie used local talent for the music needed for her dances this too was a source of income for these persons in trying times. She also had well known bands. One well known band was Earl May's Band of Shenandoah, of the Earl May Seed Company which exists today.

    "Fat" Stewart was known far and near as an excellent caller for her square dances. When she had well known personalities performing the crowds came from Des Moines, far and near until parking spaces could not be found for all the cars.

    So from the timber land of her property she built the structures for her living and business, from the livestock she raised, butchered, cooked and served her own food all from her own land. She used what she had and made with it a living.

    Little is known of her tourist cabins. Just how or how much they were used there is very little said.

    Fire destroyed the dance hall. The date is unknown at the present time. The origin of the fire, time of day or night is also unknown. Further research will be done to finish this research paper.

    Many older people in Warren County remember Lottie and tell the unconfirmed story that after the fire there were two chimney left standing. These fell over when Lottie died.

    (This research paper was hand-written by someone who belonged to the Warren County Historical Society. The handwriting appears to that of Edith Conn, a former librarian of the Warren County Historical Society Research Library.)