Barber Shop


Ott Filbrandt’s first barber shop which was on the south side of the street  next to what we know as Holmes Drug Store.  He was there only a year and then moved to the north side of Market street  or the last location for the shop.

His daughter Audrey said he moved because there wasn’t room in the first shop to hold a pool table.Ott cut both men and women’s hair.  He barbered from 1938 to 1951 when he sold it to  a barber that was only in the shop for a very short time. 

 The reason he moved was because he wanted less hours as he was working every day and again after supper each night.  Ott and his family moved to Alden, Iowa but later returned and retired in Steamboat Rock. 

Claude Heard was the barber from 1951 -1963 when he sold it to George Hemmen


George Hemmen attended the Waterloo Barber Collage and then served a year and half apprenticeship at the Williams Barber Shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

In 1963 he bought both the business and home from former barber Claude Heard.

The shop was open week days, including Wednesday and Saturday nights and closed on Mondays.   On Wednesday nights the men would come in and mostly visit but on Saturdays they needed their hair cut and sometimes a shave.

Saturdays were always the busiest with the shop open at 7:00 a.m. until they quit coming which often was midnight. Kitty and the kids would take him dinner and lunch which he ate “on the run”.

The shop was heated by an oil burner which had a button on the side you had to flip to get the oil released.  George forgot he had flipped it open and later when he threw in a match to get it going, it really did!   The pipes were red hot way up to the ceiling.  Claus Van Hove was getting a haircut at the time and got quite excited about it, as did George!   

George remembers this story about Johnnie Gast;

Johnnie was in the shop but there were also some men in there that did not know Johnnie.  Johnnie was telling about shingling a house with George Kramer (both were carpenters).  He said it was so foggy and they shingled and shingled and shingled.  He thought that pretty soon they should be done.  Just then the fog lifted and they both fell off.  Johnnie then walked out of the shop!

 Barbering was not all work and no play - - -

Dwight Schuneman was about 10-12 years old when he went in for a haircut without any money.  George cut his hair on one side of his head, then sent him across the street to where his mother worked.  He instructed Dwight to tell her that when she sent him in with some money, he would finish the haircut.  She did and he did!

 George had to have an emergency appendectomy on a Monday but by the weekend he was back in the shop. It wasn’t the easiest thing to lift his arms above his waist all day, but he did it!

                                                                                            George cutting son Gregg's hair.

The funny part of this is that prior to George’s appendectomy we had our little dog spayed.  Our son Gregg was too small to understand it all but we said that Lady had her appendices out and now she couldn’t have puppies.  After George’s surgery, Gregg was next door talking to our neighbor,Cecil Rotgers and told Cecil that his dad had his appendices out and now he couldn’t have puppies!

In the 70’s George cut hair at the Iowa Training School for Boys on Mondays and also one evening in Holland as well as driving a school bus in addition to the shop in Steamboat. This was when the long hair was popular.

George barbered until 1976 when he changed professions, and moved up the street to what was then the First National Bank (now our historical museum).  In 1984 he started work at Hardin County Savings Bank, Brown Hurst Insurance in Eldora where he was employed until he retired in 2006.

He finds is rather hard to pay $10-$14.00 for a haircut in this day and age when he received  75 cents for adults and 50 cents for kids.

Many stories told in the barber shop in Steamboat and many memories to cherish.

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