Champlin Building

1908 photo from Champlin family album, courtesy of Lynn Lloyd

In 1904 A. L. Champlin established the first general store in the campus area at the corner of Ash Avenue and Lincoln Way.  While he and his wife, Angie Culbertson Champlin, lived at 114 Welch Avenue, they operated a farm south of town where they raised stock.  The Champlins owned the area along Boone Street (Lincoln Way) between Welch and Stanton where they operated a livery service and grocery store.  The livery barn is visible at left in the photo above.  In 1908, Mr. Champlin began the construction the first brick building in Campustown with the plan of housing both a drug store and his grocery business.  The second floor was social hall, used for University functions and by both the Presbyterians and Methodists before their Campustown churches were built.  When the livery business declined, A.L. Champlin would build on his block an auto garage and two theaters, the Ames and Varsity.  View more images of the Champlin Building and the Welch Avenue intersection.

Ames Times, October 8, 1908


A.L. Champlin of the Boone street store, has a new building well under way, that eclipses the old store completely.  The old building which was a frame affair, has been moved off the former location and a new brick structure is going up, which is 50 by 90 feet.  The lower floor will be devoted to merchandise and the second will be a social hall, and report says that there is to be a roof garden on top.  Mr. Champlin has certainly made a success of the business in the fourth ward.

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Excavating the basement of the Champlin Building A. L. Champlin is seen at left, hands on hips.

1908 advertisement

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Interior view of Champlin Grocery, 2428 Lincoln Way

Ames Daily Tribune and Ames Evening Times, May 1, 1928


A business transaction of probably the most general interest to older residents of Ames of any that have occurred in years, was put thru this week when the complete stock of A.L. Champlin's pharmacy at the corner of Welch avenue and Lincoln Way passed into the hands of Charles Reynolds, D.L. Iverson, and F.C. Courtney.  Reynolds and Iverson are the proprietors of the Students Supply store and the Ames News stand.

...A.L. Champlin started in business 24 years ago in a little frame building in Campustown, 24x14 feet.  In 1908 he built the building housing the drug stock which he has just sold, and has managed it since that time.  Twenty-four years ago during his first venture into business here, he said, he started single-handed, doing all the selling, delivering and draying himself.  When school opened in the fall, he then employed a man to help him.  As his business grew, his personnel rose from one man to 15 employed in the doublestore in which he finally became established.

Until 1920, Mr. Champlin operated the entire corner of Lincoln Way and Welch, the frame building of his original store, garage, theater building, six stores in the front part of the garage building and the drug store.

Mr. Champlin's career has not always been the smoothest.  He has incurred the damage by fire of three of his Campustown buildings, once in 1919, again in 1922 and later in 1923.

About 1,400 students were in attendance at Iowa State college when Mr. Champlin embarked on his first business venture here 24 years ago.  Nearly every building on the campus besides old Agricultural building, Morrill hall, Margaret hall and the old building lying adjacent to the hospital on the north, have been built since he opened his first little frame store.  The Curtiss residence, also, is another landmark of old days, he said.

Twenty-four years ago, he said there were only three houses on Ash avenue, one on Lynn avenue, four on Stanton avenue, eight on the east side of Welch avenue, and four on the west.

Mr. Champlin, in relating his experiences in his 24 years of business here, spoke at some length on the generous and friendly spirit of co-operation shown him by the students of Iowa State college who, he said, in all that time never caused him the slightest trouble in any way.  Occasionally, in the exhilaration of some recent athletic victory, students, especially college ones, are apt to run amuck and "crash the gates," figuratively at theaters, etc.  Mr. Champlin on the other hand, has never received, he says, other than friendly advances from students.

Mr. Champlin with his family, will spend the summer, as has been his custom for years, on his stock farm a few miles south of town.  Mr. Champlin is an extensive breeder of Percheron horses.

Mr. Champlin shows Kronprinz, champion Percheron, in front of the Champlin property on Boone Street.  Note the dirt surface of the Lincoln Highway.  ISC Alumni Hall and Music Hall are visible in the background, but Lake Laverne has not yet been constructed in this 1914 photo. 

View Farwell Brown Photographic Archive images of this same area

A.L. Champlin is seen at the intersection of Boone Street and Welch on one of his daily trips to his farm south of Ames.  Note the old ISC Hospital (sanitary building) at left.

Inset of a 1920 Sanborn Insurance map showing the Champlin Block

2008 view of the Champlin Building

This building was demolished in 2014 for make way for a new Kingland Systems building