STUART, Iowa — Stuart is known for its colorful history, including the last bank robbery by infamous murderers and robbers Bonnie and Clyde in 1934. The town also has had many other colorful, although law-abiding citizens, who added to the flavor of the town.
To help people better understand that past, the Stuart Revitalization Group presented the 2nd annual Historical Walk through downtown Stuart.
“This year’s walk will be a 60s themed, featuring former Stuart business people and citizens who will be portrayed by volunteers,” said event chair Bob Cook. “We will stroll though the downtown and be stopping at several business locations along the way to provide a history of the building and building owners from the 1960s era.”
Cook led the tour speaking as George Gamerdinger, a former longtime Stuart dentist. The event drew dozens of people who followed as “Dr. Gamerdinger” gave the tour.
“I’m Dr. George Gamerdinger. I appreciate this big crowd. I never had a crowd follow me, unless I said I’m buying.”
The crowd laughed at often humorous observations of the actors. But a serious part of the tour is the former bank building, the bank robbed by Bonnie and Clyde.
“I was in Stuart when this bank was robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. I was over across the street. Had an office there,” said Cook as Dr. Gamerdinger.
Other actors shared stories from local hangouts including Ruby’s Pub and Grill and Johnie’s Tap. Stops were made at nine area businesses with stories of their past. Other stops included Clock Tower Garden, the former Odd Fellows Building, Stuart Appliance and the Johnson Family Funeral Home.
Another stop included the Stuart Herald Building.
“The Stuart Herald goes back almost to the very beginning of this time,” said Cook speaking of the founder of the town. “Captain Stuart bought the press and put the money behind our first paper, saying if you’re going to have a first-rate town, you better have a first-rate paper.”
The group also visited the iconic Clock Tower Building downtown. Dr. Gamerdinger had his office in the building from 1924 to 1973.
“It’s been the beacon for the community,” said Cook. “The four-sided clock. The new owners have got the clocks working and lit up.”