The historic Church of the Brethren in the Butler County community of Greene was organized in a rural schoolhouse building in June of 1857. Funds were raised to purchase a lot for its present site in 1873, when the land was cleared and the native stone church was erected. The church, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, has changed little over the years and is the oldest active church building in the Greene community.
A yoked parish agreement was established with the Greene United Methodist Church in 1970, an arrangement that continues today. The churches share a single pastor, and services alternate between the Methodist Church and pictured Church of the Brethren.
Located between Dubuque and Maquoketa on U.S. Highway 61 is the small town of Zwingle, population 91, which has the distinction of being alphabetically the last community in the state. Less than 10 years after the area of Zwingle was first settled, construction began on a modest, 1,200 square-foot church building in September 1855. The $1,500 facility was dedicated in May 1856, and held the distinction of being the first reformed church constructed west of the Mississippi River; it has since been significantly expanded and renovated.
Along with the building, the three-acre church site also contains a cemetery and a parsonage, which was constructed in 1976, six years after the Harmony Church formally began its affiliation with the United Church of Christ. While the membership once exceeded 200, the church now has about 50 members.
The public library in Marion dates to 1901 when the local Federation of Women’s Clubs first organized a reading room and began soliciting donations for money, books, and furniture from the community. Within two years a tax levy was approved to support the library and nearly $4,000 was raised to purchase a lot for the new facility. Construction costs were covered by a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie; the cornerstone was laid in September 1904, and the new library was dedicated in March 1905.
When a modern library facility was constructed 91 years later, the Carnegie building was sold to the First United Methodist Church in Marion. The historic building now houses church classrooms and offices.
When the post office closed in the unincorporated Audubon County community of Hamlin in May 2006, Pastor Joseph Rose saw an opportunity to purchase a permanent location for his church congregation. For $13,000, they were able to take possession of the 1,200-square-foot building to begin interior remodeling in early July. Walls were torn down, carpet was replaced, and drywall was repaired in time for the first official service in the new building on October 1, 2006.
Between 1856 and 1903, a post office operated in the village of New York, now a ghost town in Wayne County, Iowa. The New York Christian Church, which was built in 1887 and held services through 1971, was recently relocated to a site east of Allerton. It’s part of a series of historic buildings, including one of the few remaining round barns in the state. The buildings are open to the public during the summer, or anytime by appointment by calling (515) 872-2667.