The City Hall and Fire Department share a metal building in the southern Iowa town of Russell. Established in October 1867 and named after its founder H.S. Russell, the Lucas County community is home to 559 residents. The Russell Community School District made headlines in March 2008 when the State Board of Education voted unanimously to force the district to close. The decision came after the district was found to be $300,000 in debt and not in compliance with several administrative regulations. Twelve seniors graduated in the final class from Russell High School; most students enrolled in nearby Chariton the following school year.
The Community Building on Main Street in the Clay County town of Royal houses the public library, the city clerk office, and a community center that is used by local groups and can be rented for reunions and meetings. Royal was founded in 1900 as a site along the Rock Island Railroad. Its name was chosen by Eliza Nelson, the community’s first postmistress. She was asked to keep the name simple, though the reasons she selected Royal are unknown. Royal is home to 479 residents.
Construction of a new community building was jumpstarted in 2004 when the late E. Lucille Miller left the Hancock Community of Corwith with a $100,000 donation. The state-of-the-art building includes city offices, the Public Library, and the Post Office. With a population of 309, the community has seen other improvements from private donations: Corwith native Bill Bonnstetter purchased the former Baptist Church and remodeled it for use as a spacious community center, and local business Hawkeye Pride Egg Farm committed $200,000 toward a new fire station, to be constructed in early 2012.
Corwith is part of the Corwith-Wesley-LuVerne School District. A recent article in the Mason City Globe Gazette noted the district high school had the highest average ACT score in Iowa for 2006-2007, and has averaged over 23 points three of the past five years. (The national average score is 21.2.)
The Gillett Grove Town Hall is located in a refurbished one-room schoolhouse on the west side of the Clay County community. Founded incorporated in 1874 and named after area residents the Gilbert brothers, 55 residents call Gillett Grove home according to the 2000 census. In February 2010, area residents overwhelmingly voted to resolve the South Clay school district and its last remaining school in Gillett Grove. Students were separated into other school districts including Spencer, Sioux Central, Clay-Central-Everly, Ruthven-Ayrshire, and Laurens-Marathon.
Sponsored by the Des Moines Register, RAGBRAI is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state and holds the title of oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world. The overnight stops for the 39th annual RAGBRAI were revealed this evening. Iowa Backroads has a photo from each town:
Glenwood (Mills County)
Glenwood Public Library (Featured August 12, 2010)
Atlantic (Cass County)
Atlantic 1 & 2 Theatres
Continue reading Special Feature: RAGBRAI Overnight Towns