This morning I was looking for something else entirely and stumbled upon a fact that made me say, "How did I NOT know about THIS important part of local history?"

Should I know area history?  Well, yes. I lived in Rochester from 1987 to 1988 and then again from 1991 to 2007 (the first time 'round I worked at JCPenney full time with THIS guy was my boss in the men's department) so I should have learned this fact back then. But I didn't. And I didn't learn it the second time 'round, either. That's 17 years of living here and I didn't learn that Richard Warren Sears, the guy that co-founded Sears, Roebuck and Co, was born in Stewartville!

He was born December 7, 1863his home just a few houses down from the Stewartville Heritage House. They lived here until 1869 when the family moved to Spring Valley.

As a kid, he hung out with Almanzo Wilder (subject of the best book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series if you ask me). He hung out with FARMER BOY!  ((ahem)) Later he worked for the railroad, which led to a mail order biz, which led to Sears, Roebuck and Co. and boom!  History.

What makes it even more surprising that I didn't know about Sears being a Tiger (OK, not really, but he woulda been!) is that just down the street from the station is the old Conley Camera Company. They made cameras for Sears, Roebuck and Co. starting in the early 1900's.

By the way, the Conley Camera Co. was sold and eventually became Waters Instruments, Inc, which was just in the news with the passing of George Franklin Waters. I read his obituary on the Y-105 Early Morning Show News Minute!

And that kinda brings it full circle. It's amazing the history you find when you're looking for something else.