For some life-long Lennox residents, the popcorn wagon on Main Street is a fond memory. In an article published in The Lennox Independent in 1976 the history of this community icon was retold.
Back in 1920, an enterprising young Lennox man, Ted Poppinga, purchased a Peerless popcorn machine from confectionery store operator Henry Brockman Sr. His father, Jake Poppinga, and Matt Morris, a tinsmith, fashioned a wagon for him from an old windmill which had stood on the Cuno Smith farm.
Ted Poppinga married Minnie Smith and they, along with their daughter Vera, operated the wagon on the Main Street of Lennox on Saturday nights and at ballgames for 28 years. During her high school years, Vera often divided her time between the soda fountain at VanBockern’s Drugstore and the popcorn wagon just outside. Other locations on Main Street also served the popcorn wagon over the years. Ted was employed as the postmaster in Lennox.
In 1943, Mr. and Mrs. Poppinga sold their business enterprise to Marvin Smith, the latter’s nephew, and moved to Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, along with his mother Mrs. Sophia Smith, ran the popcorn wagon on Saturday nights and hauled their wagon to the athletic field for the home Oriole football games.
It was that same popcorn wagon that stood at the Civic Auditorium in 1976. At that time it had been newly-painted orange and white. The decorative trim around the top of the two-wheeled, rubber-tired wagon was said to have been kept fairly well intact, and the all copper popcorn bin had remained bright and shiny. The heavy iron popper had been replaced only once in those first 56 years.
So what happened next? Now, 99 years after the wagon was built, it sits inside the Carriage Shed behind the Lennox Area Museum, awaiting its second act.
The popcorn wagon was donated to the Lennox Area Historical Society by the City of Lennox around 2008.
The Historical Society is raising funds to restore this iconic piece of town history. One way they are raising funds is with an upcoming afternoon tea to which they are inviting the public.
The event will be held at the Lennox Area Museum on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
LOGIN to read more.