Caroline (Rhomberg) Fischer, our great-great grandmother, was the inspiration for naming our restaurant. Caroline’s husband, Louis, was a partner in the Fischer ice business. When Louis died in 1875 from pneumonia contracted after a fall into the Mississippi River while cutting ice, Caroline took over his ice business, becoming one of Iowa’s first business women. A young widow at 31 with five young children to care for, Caroline was a very hard worker. She eventually bought out her partners, invested in downtown and riverfront property and brought her family into the business that still exists today.
Caroline is said to have followed her ice delivery men around town in her own horse and buggy to be sure her men were doing their work properly. The many taverns to which they delivered would offer drinks to the drivers, in an effort to persuade them to leave a little extra ice. On occasion, upon finding the drivers passed out in the ice wagon, Caroline would drive the team of horses and wagon back to the ice storage warehouse herself with her own horse and buggy in tow.
It’s perfectly fitting that our guests can look out the East windows of Caroline’s Restaurant and see the Ice Harbor, where the Fischer family business started more than 150 years ago.