Part of an ad in the Spring Valley Tribune, dated 1914, promoting Art Kavanagh's real estate business.
Part of an ad in the Spring Valley Tribune, dated 1914, promoting Art Kavanagh's real estate business.
Shown here is Arthur Myron Kavanagh, local real estate dealer, born near Cherry Grove, Minn. Of Scotch-Irish and Dutch descent, Art was educated in country schools, studied bookkeeping and commercial law at Normal College, then Austin School of Commerce.

In 1907, he married Maye Nagel, a native of Lime Springs, Iowa, and in 1913 they built their home at 303 North Broadway, where they lived out their lives. Art bought the land from M.E. Molstad; the house was built by Claude Leonard, local contractor, with materials from Smith Lumber Yard, at a cost of $4,500.

Art opened a real estate business, which he operated for 55 years. In the accompanying photo from 1914, we see him showing off an award for Julius Krause, area farmer, attesting to the fact he had won first prizes for his White Dent corn at the National Corn Show in Dallas, Texas. Attesters were the two local bankers, C.H. Smith and Lyle Hamlin.

The photo is only a section of a full-page ad regarding farms he had for sale in this area, plus six reasons why one should buy acreage here.

l) Close Markets: primary grain markets were within a few hours via railroads to Sioux City, Omaha, Kansas City, and Chicago.

2) Stock and grain markets: Albert Lea Milling and the Austin packing company, nearby with cheap freight rates.

3) Shipping facilities: mainline railroads, telephones and rural free delivery reach every farmer in the county; good graded roads, many like boulevards.

4) Town and county possess excellent schools, both city and rural, and every Christian denomination is represented.

5) Credit for farmers available at many banks in the county whose deposits amount to several million dollars.

6) Splendid soil on the farms being offered are part of the "Iowa drift" - corn producing lands of first quality. "Clip the attached coupon and send it in for complete details, placing you under no further obligation."

The farms Art was touting were producing 40 to 60 bushels of corn to the acre besides "enormous crops of hay, alfalfa, clover, wheat, potatoes, and other products for which there is always a ready market."

The farms offered were splendid tracts, most including all the buildings.


• 200 Acres: On good roads, 1-1/2 miles from Spring Valley, large house, all modern with bath and waterworks. Large horse and cattle barn, silo, granary, hog house, corn crib, machine shed and best soil in high state of cultivation. Price $l30 per acre, $8,000 cash and balance on term of years at 5-½ percent.

• 80 Acres: 1/2 mile from town, good main road, seven room house, good barn to hold 30 cows, 10 horses, tile silo, hog house, seed corn house, machine shed, 2 wells, windmill, 100 apple trees, woven wire fence around farm, land lays just right - $150 per acre.

• 120 Acres: Four miles from Spring Valley, good main road, all under cultivation, good soil, no buildings, $72.50 per acre.

• 160 Acres: One mile from Spring Valley with fair set of buildings and land nearly all under cultivation only where creek cuts it which is about 10 acres, good soil. Price $105 per acre.

Just as a side note: In visiting with an area farmer, in a "normal" year, they might expect 150 to 170 bushels per acre. I was told that back in 1968, this farmer aimed for 100 bushels per acre to just break even. Nowadays, to the west of town where the soil might be richer, farmers there might expect 200 bushels to the acre, and of course down in Iowa and Illinois, those farmers would look for more than 200 bushels per acre. I won't even comment on the price per acre - times do change, right?!

Art maintained an office on South Broadway, and he prospered in real estate. He served as city tax assessor for many years, and continued with income tax work until age 96. I think my dad used his tax services all those years. Art was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Maye was a member of the Order of Eastern Star. As a former nurse, she was very active in the work of the American Red Cross during World War I, and a faithful member of the ladies aid at the Methodist Church. The couple had three daughters - twins, Lucile and Louise, and Jane; all graduated from Spring Valley High School. Louise died at age 19; Lucile was a medical secretary at Mayo Clinic for 39 years; and Jane graduated from law school and was an attorney at Mound, Minn. The Kavanaghs celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary in 1957; Maye died in 1970 and Art in 1983. The couple are remembered as staunch citizens who helped make Spring Valley a fine city in which to live.