Three Sons Clothing Store In Milford Celebrates 150th Anniversary Of Their Storefront

Milford, Iowa — The storefront of an iconic clothing store in the Iowa Great Lakes area is 150 years old this week.

The Three Sons Clothing Store in Milford has been around since the 1960’s and started the mythical “University of Okoboji” in the 70s, but their storefront has been around much longer than that.

Matt Richter tells us it all started at the corner of 10th St. and ‘P’ Avenue in Milford. In the mid 1870’s Milford Township was growing. The Milwaukee Railroad was coming, and a telegraph station was needed. On the site of the current Three Sons building, a telegraph station was built in 1874. When you walk in the front door, the same wooden floor from 1874 is still in use today. He says it was home to many agricultural businesses over the years until 1960 when Matt Richter Sr. bought the former coal warehouse and Allis-Chalmers dealership for his sons Emil, Herman and Jimmy to house the business of their dreams. What exactly to do with the historic old structure remained an uncertainty. 

The main thing today’s clothing store is known for, besides their selection of clothing, is the creation of the University of Okoboji. Richter tells us Emil and Herman Richter had long been involved in tennis, softball, and other community competitions when they decided to print some t-shirts with U of O promotions as ‘a fantasy summer camp.’ He says the mythical university idea thrived, and with bumper stickers, pennants, sweatshirts, jackets, and caps soon emblazoned with its logo, the U of O found widespread enthusiasm. Early proceeds from U of O sponsored events funded civic causes, and today sports tournaments and other events have a large trickle-down effect on the lakes area economy, says Richter. He says the U of O has become a symbol of positive attitudes, an expression of Okoboji pride. 

He says, “Since 1960 The Three Sons has been dedicated to providing quality apparel and accessories for men, women, and children, while also fostering a sense of community through various events and collaborations.”


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