Category Archives: Community Centers

Lions Club (Clearfield, Iowa)

The Clearfield Lions Club was organized in May 1952, and officially chartered in the Taylor County town in March 1953. Club projects over the group’s 60-year history have included sponsoring town baseball, coordinating a 4th of July celebration, and adding community walking trails. Their signature annual event may be shuttle bus service for the Iowa State Fair, which started in 1964. Popularity of the shuttle buses grew quickly, generating enough profits to construct the pictured Lions Club building in 1967.

Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Marshalltown, Iowa)

Construction began on Veterans Memorial Coliseum in downtown Marshalltown in 1928, with dedication services held on March 15, 1929. The facility has served a number of purposes in its 80-plus-year history, including an important training quarters for the Iowa National Guard prior to World War II. The local American Legion Post has held meetings in the second-floor offices, Marshalltown Community College has played basketball games in the gym, and local residents have rented the building for dances, sports, and even weddings.

Since the building was originally dedicated for to veterans of the Civil War, Spanish American War, and World War I, a special ceremony was held on Veterans Day 2009 to mark the 80th anniversary of the facility and rededicate the building to all veterans.

Community Center (Ira, Iowa)

This modest community center anchors a well-maintained park in the unincorporated Jasper County town of Ira. The town dates to 1883, after a plat was drawn to coincide with the Chicago and Great Western Railroad’s placement of a depot and water tank. Owner William F. Rippey proposed the new town be named after him, but a community of the same name already existed. After a second choice (Millard) was also rejected, Ira was agreed upon, and in 1884, a post office opened under that name. The reason for Ira’s name is now a mystery: some suggest it was named of a railroad superintendent while others attribute the name to a local resident.

Community Hall (New Vienna, Iowa)

When the existing community hall space was deemed not functional in 1926, a petition was filed with the town council to construct a new community center. A special election was held that October and passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 89-22. The large center was designed to feature a dance hall on the main floor, council meeting room on the first floor and jail and storage space in the basement.

The Community Hall was completed for under $6,000 and considered an immediate success, one of the finest ballrooms in the area. The hall has held a number of events over its seventy-five year history including roller skating, movies, social gatherings, weddings, dances, and more. While reconfigured since its initial construction, the New Vienna Community Hall continues to serve the community today.

Public Library (Hanlontown, Iowa)

In the mid-1930s, Iowa natives Dr. W.D. and Ida Kinney purchased over 4,000 acres of land in Worth and Cerro Gordo counties near the community of Hanlontown. It was one of several land purchases made by the Kinney family after oil was discovered on their retirement property in Texas. After spending nearly 20 years in northern Iowa, Dr. Kinney passed away in February 1957; Mrs. Kinney died the following year.

Dr. and Mrs. Kinney were avid readers and had amassed a collection of over 5,000 books in a 900-square-foot space in their Mason City home. Following their death, the collection and accompanying mahogany shelving were to be donated to the community of Hanlontown, with the condition that the town provided permanent space for housing the books and established a public library.

Two lots were purchased on Main Street, and a former rural school building was relocated to Hanlontown from the Forest City area. A basement was added to the building and by the fall of 1959, the library was open to the public. The former school served as the community library until 1978, when the library relocated to the newly-constructed community center.

The rural school building was relocated to the Kinney Pioneer Museum.