COLO, Iowa — The historic Reed-Niland Corner on Highway 65 in Colo will close its cafe after business on Thursday. The motel will remain open through New Year’s Eve.
Sandra Humann-Kelly has run the cafe and motel for seven years for the City of Colo, which owns the property.
The Niland family donated the property to the city with the stipulation that it be run as a cafe/motel. The Reed family gas station remains as a museum.
“It was just family commitments and things about a year ago,” said Humann-Kelly about when she began considering giving up the operation. “Met with the City Council in October, [and] I guess started trying to figure out how to find the next proprietor.”
Historic car groups, among others, have enjoyed stopping at the unique site. It was one of the first above-grade highway intersections in Iowa, where Highway 65 crossed with then Highway 30. Those routes were also the Lincoln Highway, the first paved road across Iowa and the United States, and the Jefferson Highway, the first north-to-south road across the country going from Winnipeg to New Orleans.
“You can bring up the Lincoln Highway and talk about Iowa in that context with people from Washington, D.C. to Reno. They say, ‘oh yeah Niland’s,’ just because [of] it’s historical importance on the crossroads of the Jefferson and Lincoln Highways puts it on the map,” said Ronald M. James, former Historic Preservation Agency head for the State of Nevada. “There’s nothing else quite like this place.”
James is a fan of the Lincoln Highway and has visited the Niland’s Corner stop for years.
Huemann-Kelly is not sure what she will do once she gives up the six-day-a-week job here, but she is hoping someone will soon take over the work she has done.
Anyone with an interest in operating Reed-Niland corner can contact the City of Colo.