The elderly minister was retiring after a lifetime of service to his congregation. At his retirement party he was asked, "If you could have one wish what would it be?" After a moment of thought he replied, "I wish my 20/20 hindsight could have been 20/20 foresight."
Don't we all have that same wish? Looking back over a lifetime we all recall missed opportunities that we thought of, but for one reason or the other, never followed up on. Timing is everything!
Thirty-five years ago a friend of mine and myself had the bright idea that one of the major fast food operations would go great at the Iowa Great Lakes. We even went so far as to obtain all the particulars for securing a franchise, training at their corporation headquarters, discussing leasing or building and location. Thirty-five years ago the whole set up would have been cheap, money wise, compared to today. After lamenting the situation over for several months we dropped the idea as being very unprofitable. Twenty/twenty hindsight tells us it would have been a good investment but the timing was not right.
In 1949 Connie and I moved to Greeley, Colorado to further our education. We had only been married a year so our earthly possessions were relatively small but yet more than we could stuff in or pile on top of our 1942 Mercury automobile. A two-wheeled trailer seemed to be the answer but none were available so a local craftsman built us a trailer on an old car chaise. It was adequate for our needs and we made two trips to Colorado with that trailer. People were on the move in those days and if we had been more observant we could have developed a national network of U-Haul trailers. We had the idea but didn't follow through so 20/20 hindsight again. The timing was right but we didn't follow through.
Bottled water has caught on! Who in their wildest dreams would think that just plain old pure water in a bottle would sell? Not only is it selling but also one sees bottles of pure water everywhere. Even Coca-Cola has bottling pure water now available at most fast food concessions. This is an idea that has caught on.
Pure water from springs has been around for centuries at the Iowa Great Lakes. Many years ago there was a clear pure spring in Maywood just inside and to the left of the center stone pillars. My parents built the cobblestone cottage just inside to the right of the pillars and the lot now occupied by the former Brooks Country Club building was vacant. There was a nice Weeping Willow growing near the street and back of it to the east was a beautiful natural mineral spring. We used to dip cups of water from that spring but years later it was destroyed. Twenty/twenty hindsight again!
In 1953 we had purchased a lot at Terrace Park. We moved into a 12-foot by 20-foot former tenant house from Connie's folk's farm. We doubled the size to 24-by-20 in 1954 and in 1960 doubled the size of the cottage to 24-by-40. We also planned to have a basement area under the new addition. While excavating for the basement the backhoe unearthed an artesian well. The water really flowed from that well and it was very pure and cold. With little thought for the future of mineral water we capped that well. Twenty/twenty hindsight tells us we could have capitalized on that well but timing is everything and bottled pure water was not even thought of at that time.
I am sure some of you old timers can tell me more locations of springs in the area?
Timing is everything and here at the Iowa Great Lakes pure water was bottled and sold many years ago. An ad in the 1933 edition of The Iowa Lakes Beacon prompted this article. The ad was about the Badgerow Egralharve Mineral Springs products. Mr. Gordon Badgerow had acquired the property where the mineral spring was located in 1891.He had purchased 80 acres of land on the west shore of West Lake Okoboji from Rev. Seymour Snyder. Rev. Synder had homesteaded the property in 1862. There were three quarters of a mile of lakeshore and the springs were located within the fringe of trees.
The spring was called Mini-do-ka. Generation of Indians had known about the mineral springs for centuries for its health-giving properties. The Indians brought their sick to the spring for cure.
The Badgerow estate was called "Egralharve" from the names of their three sons, Egbert, Ralph and Harve. A summer home was built in 1891 and in 1912 a factory was erected to bottle the water and market it from the mineral spring.
The late Art Bascom related to me that his family frequented the Badgerow estate many times. Mr. Badgerow had beautified the area and had erected picnic tables and chairs. There were pony rides, donkeys and reptiles. It was quite a park. The Bascoms would pack a picnic basket, catch a ride on one of the lake steamers and spend the day. The family would enjoy the place and partake of the mineral water. Art exclaimed it was a truly an enjoyable experience.
A former employee at the factory told me that much of the mineral water was distributed in large glass containers to soda fountains at drug stores, hotels and cottages. Some of the mineral water was bottled in smaller "pop" bottles and several of the bottles are on display at local museums. Over the years the spring area has been filled in so today it is difficult to locate but the last time I was there it had a sort of box over the spring.
Mr. Badgerow had the mineral water analyzed by Gustavus Bode, an analytical chemist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Bode's examination revealed that the water contained: Chloride of Iodine, Bicarbonate of Calcium, Bicarbonate of Magnesia, Bicarbonate of Protoscyde Iron, Alumia and Silica.
The Coca-Cola Company today markets purified water enhanced with minerals for a pure fresh taste under the name "Dasani." It also states its "Nutrition Facts" having sodium, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride and salt.
The Egralharve Mineral Water and Dasani both are classified as 'pure water'. Dasani purified water does not endorse its product as a "decided and favorable effect in diseases of the kidneys, urinary organs and dyspepsia" as did the Egralharve Mineral Water.
Mr. Badgerow was way ahead of the times and the factory ceased to exist several years after 1933. Timing is everything and the mineral spring at Egralharve was closed. People were not ready for pure water in a bottle in the 1930s. Not only 20/20 foresight is needed but also timing is important.
The Maritime Museum has several pop bottles with the name of the Egralharve Bottling Company on them. The glass bottles are very collectable items and worth a bit of money.