Every year when Jan. 23 comes around I think back on Jan. 23, 1952, when about 12 of us Jackson County boys were the county quota of draftees for the military. This was during the midst of the Korean War and we all boarded a bus at the front of the Decker House where we said goodbye to our families and friends. The present day courthouse was not yet built so the Decker House was our send-off place.

If my memory is correct, and I apologize if I forgot any and as you will see I forget once person’s first name, the ones I remembers were Floyd Burmahl, Donald Kemp, Harold Kunde, Paul Simpson, Clifford Meier, Francis Muenster, Donald Shilling, Lester Weber, ? Reagan, Archie McNeil, Milton Gonner and Maynard Brown. We boarded the bus and were driven to Des Moines where later that day we were sworn into the U.S. Army along with hundreds more from Iowa. 

After Des Moines we went to Camp Crowder in Missouri and then to Camp Roberts in California for our basic training, which was referred to as Korealistic training because of the mountainous terrain. We were all expecting at the finish of training to be put on a ship and sent straight to Korea as former companies had been sent. Instead, our whole company was split up, some staged stateside, some to Alaska, and some to Europe to serve with the U.S. forces in Austria. 

I and several other Jackson County boys were sent to Austria. There we spent our two years of active service and had six more years at home of inactive time to serve, but no other conflicts happened so none of us were recalled, and at the end of our eight-year calling we were officially discharged.

Through the years my wife and I and family have had many Sunday brunches and organization banquets at the Decker House. We both belonged to several organizations so the Decker House was a good place to celebrate.

One year I was asked to be one of the three fair parade judges and our place of judging was on the steps of the Decker House.

As I mentioned before through the years we enjoyed many meals at the Decker House and just recently our family gathered there to celebrate our 65th wedding anniversary.

I’m glad to see the Decker House still going and hope it continues for many more years in the future. 

These are some of the memories I have of the Decker House Hotel of Maquoketa, Iowa.

Archie McNeil