100 years is a long time. Think of all the advancements, the history, the people who have come and gone... One constant over the past 100 years (107 to be exact) is Jolly Time's first popcorn field is still growing popcorn. It's not hard to find either, it's right here in the state of Iowa.
As many things change, this popcorn field has stood the test of time
Jolly Time, which is owned by the American Pop Corn Company, still operates its first popcorn field right here in Iowa. It sits in the far Eastern part of the state near Odebolt. That's about 3 and a half hours west of Oelwein. The field produced its first commercial crop in 1914. The American Pop Corn Company, which is a worldwide known brand, is based in Sioux City, Iowa. Odebolt is only about an hour away.
Today, you can waltz into an area Hy-Vee or movie theater and purchase, or enjoy popcorn. But back in 1914, it wasn't so easy. According to a Sioux City
history website, the founder of the company, Cloid H. Smith, started Jolly Time in his basement. Popcorn was not easy to obtain in the nineteen-teens because
Once ready to be harvested, Smith would move the popcorn from the farm by wagon to Sioux City. He and his family shelled, cleaned, and graded the corn in their basement. The business was a massive success. Within a year, the family sold over 75,000 pounds of popcorn officially putting Jolly Time on the map.
To this day, the original field is still operational
Today, Jolly Time is a household name. Cloid Smith and his family continued to operate the company for decades. Cloid passed away in 1939, and his son took over and continued to run the business. There's been ups and downs for the American Pop Corn Company including a devastating flood in 1953. But through it all, the original field continued to operate.
Today, the company continues to be owned by the fourth generation of the Smith family. The original field, marked by a modest sign, is a popular roadside attraction for travelers and locals alike.
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