The Martensdale Lions Club was organized December 26, 1972, with 22 charter members. Over its 40-year history, the organization has supported or sponsored a number of community services and events, ranging from eye glasses for school children to the Martensdale-St. Marys annual reunion picnic. The former grocery store building was purchased and remodeled for use as the Lions Club Hall; it’s currently used for meetings and various community activities.
At one time, the now-tiny Union County town of Thayer was home to four churches: an Evangelical Church, Catholic Church, Christian Church and Methodist Church. Like many small towns in the state, Thayer saw residents, businesses, schools – and churches – close their doors. By the 1970s, only the Methodist Church remained.
The church building was moved to Thayer from a nearby settlement named West Union in 1900. A team of mules and horses hauled the building to its present location. A basement was later added, and the church served the community until 1995. By that time, membership numbered less than 20 and the church was discontinued. The building was given to the city and now serves as the Town Hall and Community Center for the 59 residents.
Established in 1855, the rural Wapello Community hamlet of Bladensburg was once a bustling community. At its prime, Bladensburg was home to 200 residents, three general stores, two blacksmith shops, a sawmill, flour mill and school. When the railroad lines and highways bypassed the town, residents left and businesses shuttered; the post office was closed in 1916. The pictured Community Hall is one of a handful of remaining buildings in Bladensburg. It was originally constructed as a Methodist Church, which was dedicated in January 1870.
The Community Center in the Hancock County town of Woden was constructed in 1900 by the local Woodmen’s Lodge. It was first known as Woodmen Hall, then as the American Legion Hall, before its current name was adopted. The center has been used for dancing, movies, roller skating, family gatherings, and fundraisers. It serves as a regular meeting place for several organizations including area senior citizens, and can be rented for activities by contacting the Woden Public Library.
Located on Highway 63 in the Davis County seat of Bloomfield is one of approximately 75,000 Sears-Roebuck mail-order homes. It dates to 1910 and has been restored and repurposed for use as an official Iowa Welcome Center. The staffed center is open seven days a week and features a large selection of useful information for travelers, including maps and travel brochures from Iowa communities, counties, and regions throughout the state. An adjacent picnic area is available for travelers, and the center contains a gift shop which sells handmade Amish crafts.