The Palmer Candy name has been well known in Sioux City for over one hundred years. From a relatively small beginning in wholesale groceries, the company became the largest confectioner in Sioux City and one of the largest in Iowa. The company’s name is now recognized across the United States. Just as important, however, have been the actions of five generations of the Palmer family since their arrival in Sioux City in the late nineteenth century.
Brick and Tile manufacturing has been a very important part of Sioux City’s history. The earliest settlers in Sioux City and Woodbury County recognized the possibilities of rich clay deposits in the Loess Hills and started making brick and tile for many building projects. By 1890 there were seven brickyards in and around Sioux City producing tens of millions of bricks a year. In the early twentieth century the Sioux City Brick and Tile Company started operating in Sergeant Bluff and has been an integral part of the community since that time.
The history of the Sioux City stockyards goes back to the very earliest days of our town. It is a colorful story that includes livestock and businessmen, immigrants and packing plants, glory and tragedy. It involves historic Sioux City names like James Booge, John Peirce, F. L. Eaton and Holman Waitt. At one time, more livestock was sold at the Sioux City yards than anywhere else in the nation. The commission firms flourished, acting as agents for the producers who sent their cattle here to be sold. The eighty acres of pens, chutes and buildings hummed with activity. Thousands worked in the packing plants and related businesses. Many a father would say to a child scowling at the smell of the yards, "Smell that? That's the smell of money."
From varnish and paint to glass and garments the Aalfs Manufacturing Company has been an important part of Sioux City since 1892. Though the business has undergone major changes in is past, Aalfs has long been a well-recognized name in the community. More than manufacturing, however, the Aalfs family has contributed both time and money to make Sioux City a better place for residents.
Nittert Aalfs and his wife, Wilhelmina, moved to Sioux City in 1909 hoping to open a new wholesale house. Nittert already had a successful paint company in both LeMars and Fort Dodge, Iowa. Upon his move to Sioux City, Aalfs tried to expand his business by selling both wallpaper and paint. He had several customers; most were other Sioux City businesses. From this small start, though, he transformed Aalfs Paint and Glass Company into one of the largest distributors of paint and glass in the Midwest.
Jolly Time popcorn began in the basement of the Cloid H. Smith home in the year 1914. At the time popcorn was not available in most grocery stores. A grocer who wished to sell popcorn would have to buy it in bulk or on the cob.
Mr. Smith began his business career in Odebolt, Iowa. He was at different times a druggist, an inventor of veterinary medicines and hand lotions, an oil driller in Texas, and the owner of the first telephone company in Odebolt. He moved to Sioux City in 1912 and sold his business to the Bell Telephone Company. With part of the money from the sale of his company he purchased farm land north of Odebolt. This area was known for the popcorn it raised.