Museum 75th Anniversary

Friday, February 9, 2018

Millerton's General Store

Best Store in Town

A staple in any small town is a general store.  Millerton, Iowa had one of the best that still is in operation today in 2018. 

Fry's Store in Millerton is well known to anyone in several counties, especially farmers, electricians, plumbers, or anyone looking for that hard to find replacement part.  If it was made or still made today Fry's probably has it somewhere in the recesses of that old building.  Francis Fry opened the store in Millerton, Iowa in 1944.  The following, written by Herb Owens was published in the Des Moines Register in 1958.

Nine Buildings, 125,000 Items!

Millerton, IA  - A 5-foot bookshelf wouldn't hold all the catalogs necessary for running the general store operated here by Mr. and Mrs. Francis Fry.

From cookies to corn-cribs, the Fry enterprise include a stock of more than 125,000 items and occupy nine buildings in Millerton.

Francis Fry, 46, is a highly versatile artisan who handles repairs on radios and televisions sets, carburetors and brake systems. He also repairs - and carries a full line of repair parts for -all lines of small motors, like those for washers and lawnmowers. 

Fry sells and installs electrical systems, plumbing systems, heating systems. And he has four service trucks - each for a different service so there's less loading and reloading. 

Wife Handles Grocery Unit 

Mrs. Fry, the former Dorothy Krouse, handles the grocery, sundry and light hardware departments of the business. Before the grocery line was taken on, Mrs. Fry had become adept at finding the right auto or small motor part for customers. 

Currently the Frys have but one full-time employee. He is Kenneth Reynolds, 20, an alert, industrious youth who gradually is learning most phases of the business. 

Electronic work is Fry's favorite activity. As a youngster he started experimenting with electricity in the 32-volt home plant on his father's farm. He was 14 when he did his first professional electrical wiring job. 

At 16 he opened his first radio and electrical shop in Corydon. And in 1935 he built his first television set and scanner, demonstrating picture reception on a 3-inch "tube" at the Corydon shop. The telecast, from Kansas City was specially scheduled for Fry's demonstration.

During World War II, Fry served as an electronics instructor in the army. Upon his return, he went back to business quickly. He acquired a Millerton building for storage - and it soon became his operating headquarters. 

"The business just grew," Fry said. "One thing led to another. For instance, from installing stock watering systems, I got started in plumbing work. I, and the fellows I had working for me actually studied nights to learn the business. 

Editors Note:
Francis Fry passed away December 16, 1989 at 77 years of age.  A jack of all trades and master of many. 


  1. Wow, when I saw this picture, I knew immediately who these two were, even though, they looked a bit different when I first met them, how cool, thanks for sharing this! Two of the kindest, sweetest, most caring giving, honest people I have known. Love both Dorothy and Francis Fry, thanks!

  2. The wife (Sue Bettis) & I were talking about Francis, his business & his stories in the Army, the Car with a tree thru the bumper & many a night swapping stories with my brother Bill & Francis when we stopped by. Bill & I worked Refrigeration and need parts sometimes. Two years of life I will never forget.