Celebrating 200 Years – The 2016 Boller Road Trip.

When I first wrote Our Boller Story back in 2006, I challenged us as a family to accomplish two dreams by October 2016.

Dream #1 – to replace the nearly non-existent Indiana gravestone of George F. Boller – the first Boller in our immediate family to set foot in America in October 1816. More on how we accomplished this dream here.

Dream #2 – to come together as a family in October of 2016 – the 200th year of the Bollers in America – to celebrate this special anniversary.

Here’s our report on that special day…

200-Oct15.jpg

As you can see from the pictures below, we accomplished our family celebration goal on Saturday, October 15, 2016! And what an enjoyable day it was! The purpose of our 2016 Boller Road Trip was to re-visit some of the Boller homesteads and historical places from past generations. Allow me here to share some special pics from the twelve stops and the two drive-by’s enjoyed that beautiful day…

3105 Raven Court – Iowa City (1987-1990) – Our first stop was at our Boller home on Raven Court. Sandy & I moved to Iowa City in 1987, living here for three years before moving on to Cedar Rapids. These were tough years of transition for all of us – but a good reminder of God’s faithfulness throughout. Read more here.

175 Westminster Street – Iowa City (1966-1991) – George & Dixie Boller built this home in 1966 when we first moved to Iowa City from Mt. Pleasant. At the time, we were the last house on Westminster Street with nothing north of us but empty fields! Read more here.

407 E. Henry – Mt. Pleasant (1957-1966) – On to Mt. Pleasant, and this two-story house that was built right after the Civil War in the 1860’s. Still lookin’ pretty nice all these years later. We were so fortunate that the present owners welcomed us, showing us around the house. We shared old pictures with them and it was truly a blessed visit down memory lane for Eric and me. Read more here.

Elementary/Jr. High School – Mt. Pleasant (1957-1965) – Here’s the first school building my brother and I attended when we moved to Mt. Pleasant in 1957. Eric was here from 1957 to 1960 before becoming a football star at MPHS. I was here for the duration, from 1st grade to 8th, before moving over to the high school for my freshman year in 1965-66. Read more here.

Now a middle school, this was originally Mt. Pleasant’s High School. My mom, Dixie Boller, taught her 7th grade reading class on the top floor (NW corner) from 1957-1966. This is the location of the infamous “Mom gave me a B when I really deserved an A” incident – where – she admitted later in life – her youngest son deserved an A on a project, but gave me a B because she didn’t want to appear as though she was being too generous with her son. Ouch – that hurts!

Town Square – Mt. Pleasant (1957-1966) – Here we are at the very center of Mt. Pleasant – City Square. For 60+ years, there’s always been an old thresher – steam engine – displayed in Town Square as a year-round reminder of the annual 5-day Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Reunion held at McMillan Park. I practically lived at Old Threshers each year when we lived in Mt. Pleasant and have loved all forms of steam engines ever since. Click here to read more.

The Mt. Pleasant News – Mt. Pleasant (1955-1965) – Just off Town Square are the offices of The Mt. Pleasant News – where my dad took his first job as a printer/linotype operator (1955-1965). Above – that’s Eric buying a paper in front of the building. Read more here.

One of my most memorable recollections from our Mt. Pleasant years includes both The Mt. Pleasant News (above) and Town Square – which was the location for a somber memorial service held on Monday, November 25, 1963 honoring the late President John F. Kennedy. Schools were closed that day and the park was packed with mourners gathered from around Henry County.

City Park – Wayland (1946-1957) – Heading back north from Mt. Pleasant, we come to Henry County’s Turkey Town, USA. Wayland has long been the home to some of the largest turkey farms in the Midwest. When my family lived here, Wayland’s city park was the home to the annual summer-time celebration – Turkey Day – where all the townspeople gathered to celebrate the big white-feathered bird that put Wayland on the map. One of those celebrations in the mid-50’s brought an abrupt change to the festivities when some of the turkey meat that was used for celebration sandwiches got a bit too warm in the July sun – making nearly every resident in Wayland a victim of the Turkey Trots the next day! Can anyone say salmonella?

304 W. Front Street – Wayland (1948-1957) – Wayland was the home of the Boller family from 1896 through 1968. My great grandparents, Daniel & Barbara (Miller) Boller, moved here in 1896 to start Boller Furniture Company – which included D.J.’s work as a mortician. Their son, Waldo and Olive (Hulme) Boller, continued the business into the early 1940’s. My dad, George Boller, was born in Wayland in 1921, and our Boller family lived in this small home on W. Front Street from 1948 until moving to Mt. Pleasant in 1957. Read more here.

1948house
Picture from the mid-1990’s.

203 E. Main Street – Wayland (1920-1970) – The long-time home of my grandmother, Olive Boller. Our Mom & Dad lived in the second-floor mini-apartment after returning to Wayland after WWII (1946-1948). Back in the day, the now enclosed entry-way was a beautiful open-air front porch complete with Grandma’s flowers, and a big porch swing. Grandma Olive lived here from soon after her marriage to Waldo Boller (1920) until the summer of 1969 when she moved into a nursing home in Iowa City. My father sold the home in 1970 after she passed, making this historic home part of Our Boller Story for 50 years! Read more here.

Picture from the mid-1990’s.
Picture from the mid-1990’s.

North Hill Cemetery – Wayland (1907-present) – On our way out of Wayland, heading north toward Washington and Kalona, we stopped, of course, at North Hill Cemetery. In 1907, D.J. and Waldo Boller organized a team of nine Wayland businessmen to incorporate and establish North Hill, located at the top of one of the rolling farmland hills just north of Wayland. This small cemetery has become the resting place for four generations of our Boller family, and will eventually be the resting place for my older brother, Eric, and Sandy & yours truly. But no hurry! Read more here about North Hill Cemetery.

Below are a few ‘North Hill’ pics from a family visit in the mid-1990’s…

The Boller section of North Hill Cemetery includes 12 lots for Generation Three: Dan J. & Barbara Boller, Generation Four: Waldo & Olive Boller, and Ora Frank Boller, Generation Five: Kathryn Boller, George & Dixie Boller, and Generation Six: William Edward, Eric, and Marty & Sandy Boller.

408 4th Street – Kalona (1894-1902) – As we came into Kalona, we drove by the home where my gg grandparents lived for a short time after leaving the Boller farm in 1894. It’s here the Boller family celebrated their big 50th wedding anniversary celebration in November of 1899. Read more here.

Kalona Brewing Company – Kalona, Iowa. We ended our big day with a family celebration hosted by the Kalona Brewing Company. We all had some delicious brick-oven pizza and some German brew while enjoying each other’s company. A great ending to a very special day.

On our way back to Cedar Rapids, after a full day of touring, we passed by two important historic places in Our Boller Story.

The Peter Miller Cemetery – Johnson County (1854-1907) – Here, my gg grandparents, Jacob & Catharine Boller, who came to Iowa in 1853, and other distant cousins are buried. Read more here.

The Boller Farm – Johnson County (1853-present) – the original Boller farmstead located on Cosgrove Road in Johnson County, just northwest of Kalona. Read more here.


Since our October 2016 Road Trip, we’ve had yet another mini-trip to Wayland…here’s the scoop…

It’s an abbreviated Boller Road Trip #2! In October of 2018, the Boller Boys joined us to visit North Hill Cemetery in Wayland, IA with an important stop for Mennonite donuts in Kalona! A sweet return visit!


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