Residents in the Plymouth County seat of Le Mars were left with a void when the Royal III movie theatre closed its doors in November 2009. After sitting empty for over a year, Sioux City resident Eric Hilsabeck purchased the former theatre December 29, 2010. Before reopening, the interior will be updated to comply with current building and fire codes, and the restroom and lobby will be enlarged. In addition, the three theatres will be upgraded with new seats, curtains, and speakers, plus high-definition projectors and screens capable of showing 3-D films.
The city is assisting the project with a $150,000 forgivable loan. Hilsabeck says the revamped Royal III Theatre will show first run movies at least 50 cents cheaper than the closest cinemas in Sioux City and Sioux Center. The theatre is expected to reopen this spring.
With a population of just 132, Oyens is the smallest community in Plymouth County in northwestern Iowa to have an active post office. The part-time office sits on the west side of Main Street, open mornings six days a week. Postal service was first established in Oyens in 1878, more than three decades before the town was officially incorporated in 1909.
The Westmar Memorial Park was dedicated in August 2004, seven years after the university closed its doors. The park is filled with mementos from the former university, including the bell tower, gazebo, and the college sundial. The bricks used in the entryway above were taken from Dubs and Wernli Hall, two buildings which were torn down in 2002.
Westmar College operated for 107 years, which included a five year stint associated with Teikyo University, a global consortium of schools and colleges based in Japan. While some college buildings have been repurposed, many on the campus remain empty. For more detail on the history of Westmar, check out the Westmar Alumni and Friends Association website.
You won’t want to take a trip to Le Mars, Iowa without making a stop at Bob’s Drive Inn. The fryer food or hot dogs are good meal choices, but the small restaurant is most famous for its taverns.
For those of you not familiar with the terminology, taverns are simply loosemeat hamburgers. I’m not sure how the hamburger is cooked, but it’s greasy and tasty and goes great on a soft bun with cheese and condiments. Check out Bob’s if you’re in town – it’s open seven days a week beginning at 11 a.m.
Continue reading Feature: Bob’s Drive Inn (Le Mars, Iowa)