Cedar County Historical Society & Museum

 1094 Hwy 38 * Tipton, IA * 52772

Tinsmith Shop & Hardware Store

 UPDATE: The Tinsmith Shop & Hardware Store is getting a new front porch!

          Thanks to an EXTREMELY generous donation from Walter Hanson in memory of his wife Vesta, we were able to finish the entire building in 2012; electricity, insulation, walls, ceiling, trim and all.  The store portion is amazingly beautiful - CCHS members put the carsiding on the walls ourselves and polyurethane it, then our contractor Grayland Crist did the ceiling and finish work on the walls. 

          We can't wait to get the tinsmith shop contents brought down and set up here!  Once that's done we can start stocking the store.  We think we have more than enough for displays already, but we're salivating at the chance to get it set up. 

It's likely you'll have noticed the beautiful Cook's Hardware sign on the front.  That was from the original hardware store in Mechanicsville, as the front doors are.

          A little history behind the "original" Cook's Hardware and tinshop - John Cook bought the hardware store with a partner in 1926 and was the sole proprietor within three years.  His son, Jim Cook, later had the store.  Both worked in the tinsmith shop, which was located above the store.  It employed as many as 10 local men, mostly during the colder months, when they would fashion duct-work and other tin products.  The tinsmith shop was closed up several decades ago, and hasn't been disturbed since.  Marie Cook, Jim's widow, will donate the contents of the tinsmith shop to the Society, including the equipment and original patterns for making tin products.  The Cooks have also donated the original Cook's Hardware sign for the front of the building.  Colette, Jim & Marie's daughter, is the Industrial technology instructor at Linn-Mar high school.  She has been a wonderful asset to the Society - including drawing the plans for the new building, donating her labor, and her woodworking class at Linn-Mar constructed the walls as part of their class.

          The building in the Village is a scaled-down version of the building in Mechanicsville which was built by A.B. Heston in the 1880s.  It was constructed to look like a false-front wooden frame building, with the large display windows in front similar to the Cook's Hardware building.  We even have the original front doors from the building - 9' tall and very grand-looking.  Another original item will be the wall dividing the store in the front of our building from the tinsmith shop in the back.  This wall was recently dismantled from the tinsmith shop in Mechanicsville, and will be reconstructed in the Tinshop soon.

          With all these exciting developments comes the question..."How do we pay for all this?"  You can help!  Your tax-deductible donation can go towards a designated building, or towards general Village needs such as paths and boardwalks.