Oldest Jewelry Store in Iowa Calls West Union Home
WEST UNION, Iowa – Along the businesses in downtown West Union sits one that can call itself the very first jewelry store in the state of Iowa. Saboe Jewelry was built is 1854 and history is almost as unique as the precious stones and metals for sale in the store.
The business has had only six owners from three different families over the last 160 years. The current owner, Ron Saboe, took over business from his father who got his start as a radio mechanic in WWII. Next door to where he worked was a watchmakers business, which he said is similar to building and fixing small machines. Owner Ron Saboe also is a certified watch maker, and was first in his class and student of the year.
Along the shelves of watches, jewelry and glassware are personally signed autographs to Saboe's father, because they sold Bulova watches.
"There's Jack Par, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, and this one is Miss Iowa in 1960 and she was the only Miss Iowa that became Miss USA," said Saboe. "It's actually signed to Orville Saboe, Best Wishes, Jackie Gleason."
Keeping the valuables safe at Saboe's is a 120 year old safe that was purchased at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. According to Saboe, it weighs somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds.