Dick Meade: North Liberty Native for Half a Centennial

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By Rachel Begle

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa – If there were a competition for a Mr. North Liberty, then Dick Meade could easily take home the honor. He first moved to Our Town in 1965 to work for the stockyard, and has many fun stories about the past.

For example, Dick remembers college trips to the town, and says, “Us kids that were underage would come out here to North Liberty to drink beer at Shannon’s and the Lighthouse because they didn’t check our ID’s.”

Meade’s uncle owned a farmhouse in town, better known as the Ranshaw House. Dick moved into the historic home with a group of cowboys.

Meade describes the home as beautiful, and adds, “We kept it as good as we could. We used all the rooms, both upstairs and down.”
And for a town better known for its growth and modernization, plans are to preserve Dick’s former home for years to come. The Ranshaw House sits in the heart of North Liberty, and is being restored to become a visitor’s center and museum of sorts. It’s a project Meade approves of.

“I think it’s a good idea. It’s living in an era and if they keep it that way it would be great because you can’t duplicate houses like this,” Meade says.

Meade eventually hung up his cowboy hat and turned to real estate. He worked as a cattle auctioneer for decades, and these days he saves his fast talking for selling farmland.

Over the nearly half century he’s lived in North Liberty, he’s been amazed at how quickly it has grown.

"It's so modern now, so new, the old part is going to be hard to find. Red's Ale House is an old structure, this (Ranshaw House) is old, but you drive around town there's not much old except the older homes. There's no old business that's left, the stockyard is gone, the elevator is gone, J & A Grain Company is gone. "

This growth even followed Meade home to his own farmhouse that just a few years ago stood outside city limits.

“Where I lived was a vacant farmhouse. I moved in and there was nothing there within a quarter of a mile of me, and now I’ve got duplexes right in my backyard,” Meade said.

But in the end, Mr. Meade takes it all in stride and says he enjoys watching North Liberty grow.

“Oh it doesn’t bother me, the world turns you know.”
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