Prochaska's Tavern
Protivin
The Famous Protivin Meeting Place was
demolished on June 20, 2012
WddNews.com
"What Do YOU Want to Know?"
Bill Prochaska
scored 2,124 points during his
4 year varsity basketball career at
Rudolphinum High School in Protivin.
He broke the state scoring  record in
1955 with no fanfare.
Click the  photo
or here for more photos, video and an
interview with Bill Prochaska about The
RudoHawk years.
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Prochaska's Tavern Demolished

If you grew up in Protivin any time through the early 1990s,
Prochaska's Tavern was a special place with special
memories mainly because it was operated by special
people.

The building came down on the first day of summer in 2012
nearly 15 years after it was last operated by Joe and Wilma
Prochaska.  The memories will live in the people that
benefited from its existence until the day they die.

We will always remember leaving church just a little bit
early on Sunday morning so we could get to Prochaska's to
be the first in line for the pool table or running as fast as
we could down the hill after school to get to Prochaska's.

Or that extra cold water from a beer glass served by Joe
for "5, 10, or 15".  Of course he never really charged for it.

How about the cherry on the double dip cone for a dime?  
The dime was a nickel for each dip.  The cherry was free.

How about the roar when some of the RudoHawks entered
the building after a Big Basketball win?

Or Saturday night drawings?

Who will ever forget Charlie asking you, "Something was
it"? Or one of his "steamed" ones?

Your memory may be your first "legal" beer or maybe even
some "illegal" ones before that.

Or maybe even your first kiss in one of the back booths.

If you're old enough, you may even remember finding that
special someone in the dance hall above the tavern.

My own special memory was in March of 1968 when it was
announced to us at school that the high school was going
to close and since I was in eight grade at the time it was
one of the saddest moments of my life knowing I would
never have a chance to go to the school I wanted to so
badly.  

My first stop after school that day as it had been so many
other times was Prochaska's.  Joe could sense right away
what was bothering me and shared with me how terrible he
felt also and he predicted, "It was the beginning of the end
of the town as we knew it."

The Prochaska's were very special people.   As important
to Protivin and what it was as anyone.  They weren't in the
restaurant and tavern business, they were in the people
business.  They cared deeply about their community and
more about the people in it.  They did a lot for a lot of
people and taught their children to be the same way.

Their children; Bill, Jane, Jim, and Mary all went into
education and all spent their lives as their parents did
taking every opportunity to help others.

Wilma was a Kalishek and before it was Prochaska's it was
Kalishek's.  The building was built in the 1880s.

The building had to go...but the memories will stay with us!

If you don't mind shedding a tear or two watch some of the
demolition of the building on the video below.
Click to enlarge photos
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On June 19, 2012 some drank beer
in Prochaska's for the last time.  
Joe would have liked that!
Comment from Dave Polashek
"Another Sunday morning tradition
after church was to go to
Prochaska’s to pick up a Des
Moines Register.  I would go with
my grandpa to get a paper and he
would always buy a Mounds candy
bar.  He would open it and we
would each get one.  It really was a
center of the community in its
heyday.  The smell from the grill
still lingers in the memory."

Comment from Jeff Koudelka
"Growing up in Protivin a lot of
time was spent in Prochaska’s
learning the game of pool from the
“old-timers”, eating ice cream
cones, and buying penny candy.  
My greatest memory as I got a  
little older was making a deal w/
Joe to shovel snow.  I would
shovel whenever it was needed
out in front of the tavern.  My
payment was a cheeseburger, a
bag of chips, a can a pop, and an
hour to shoot pool on the table.  
And it didn’t matter if I went a little
longer because most of the time
was sitting chatting w/ Joe anyway."

Comment from Larry Lukes
"nice write up, that was charlie's
saying, something was it? and
getting a big bowl of crackers, big
piece of bologna, mustard, 50
cents.."

Comment from
Mary Lensing Dreckman
"sad day to see that go...but oh the
memories we will cherish!!"

Comment from
William "Bill" Sheridan
Author of the Lawler Stories
"Thanks for doing an outstanding
job of preserving Protivin's
heritage on your website. The
videos plus your commentary are
priceless and a wonderful gift to
future generations.
You are truly a treasure for small
town Iowa and small town America.
Keep up the good work!
"

Send your comments to:
Randy@WddNews.com
Comment from JoAnn Dostal, Protivin
"Really enjoyed your video on the Prochaska Story and
demolition.  My memories go back almost 80 years of
spending time in the restaurant as well as in the residence
part.  Watching the video I could still hear W.J. (Budien)
rattling off the flavors of ice cream, always adding a little
extra for kids.  Their sodas served in the soda glasses
were wonderful.  Many noon hours while in highschool we
would go down for lunch- hamburger and a malt.  During
intermission during dances at the Beseda (old gym) the
place was packed with young and old seeking a
refreshment.  Wilma and her mother always had the
residence perfectly decorated and were so welcoming
always getting a treat from the tavern.  Many a Sat. night as
children we played “Kick the Can” or  “Hide and Seek” on
the front yard while the band played on the street.  No
IPads or IPods back in those days.  Kids played often
making up their own games.  It was a great loss to see it
deteriorate beyond salvation but we are all grateful to
Fencl Oil for planning an additional business to our town"

Comment from Julie Meirick, Nashville
"Thanks for sharing this!  Will never forget ice cream and
candy after school or the smell of burgers on a flat top
grill.  It had the best jukebox and you weren't a cool kid
until you played pool at Prochaska's.  It will be missed!"

Comment from Neal Novotny, California
"Say it ain't so! It was iconic Vrba's Store a few years ago,
and now Prochaska's Tavern, facing the wrecking ball. All
kinds of memories growing up - a lot of time in that place...
sort of an early community center for Protivin. Cheers to
Joe & Wilma P and Charlie Pec, who were always there
ready to serve, cheer us up, tell stories....whatever was
needed. Randy, I noticed a bit of sadness in your voice in
the video - probably shared by many hundreds of people
who cheerfully went through those doors many times over
the decades."

Send your comments to:
Randy@WddNews.com
The "Magical
Summer of '62" in Protivin

The Fast Pitch Softball Team from
the town of a little more that 300
people qualfied for the State
Tournament against the "Big Boys"