Settled along the line of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, he town plat for the Mahaska County town of Rose Hill dates to September 6, 1875. At its peak, Rose Hill was home to two hotels, a lumberyard, grain elevator, tile factory, creamery, and a school. Many businesses folded during the Great Depression, while the grocery store closed its doors in 1966.
In 1993, the Rose Hill Ruritan-Community building went up in flames; it was quickly rebuilt and remains a popular place for area clubs and gatherings.
When Albion joined the Marshalltown Community School District in 1962, the future of the large brick school building was in question. For a time, education continued in Albion with elementary classes held in the 1915 building. When the elementary classes were discontinued, the building was repurposed as a Community Center, which now holds dances, reunions and other gatherings. Area senior citizens also have a quarters in the building.
Today marks a milestone for the Iowa Backroads project: the final two stops in a 2+ year project to visit and photograph every community in Iowa. Residents of the Jones County town of Onslow, and friends of Iowa Backroads, are invited to join publisher Brian McMillin for a free lunch at the pictured Onslow Community Room today between 11 am and 1 pm. (Map)
By 1933, one prominent storefront on Onslow’s Main Street was showing considerable wear and facing possible condemnation. Mayor Sam Hutton shared the concerns about the building with his wife; the Onslow Centennial Book tells the story:
Mrs. Hutton, being much concerned about this situation, spent a very wakeful night, and the idea came to her mind to purchase it to be used for Community purposes. At the next meeting of the council it was agreed to accept Mrs. Hutton’s idea, so the town bought this run-down building from Mrs. Mary Noonan Jan. 5, 1934, for $75. They took $500 from the Onslow Charity Fund to start repairs.
Through the years, the council and community organizations have contributed toward upkeep and improvements, which included updated wiring, installation of a furnace, and construction of modern rest rooms. The Onslow Community Room has hosted numerous events and at times housed a town library, youth center, and local church services. The community room continues to be a gathering spot and is home to today’s Iowa Backroads celebration.
The Bank of Clemons began in 1901 with a $10,000 capital in a modest wooden building in the business district in Clemons, Iowa. A grandiose two-story brick building was constructed next door, a sign of the bank’s success. By 1927, bank deposits had grown in excess of $340,000. The Bank’s success was short-lived, however, and its doors were closed on August 17, 1931. The Clemsons Saving Bank was one of over a thousand Iowa banks to be closed around the time of the Great Depression.
The building was used as a branch office for the nearby Union-Whitten Savings Bank until 1945. When that office shuttered, the building was first repurposed as a restaurant before being used as a doctor’s office for nearly 40 years. In 1974, the Union-Whitten Savings Bank gave the building to the community of Clemons. The building now serves as the Clemons Community Center.
Forty-one residents became charter members of the Grand River Lions Club during a banquet held on March 1, 1955. Over a hundred Lions Club members from surrounding communities joined in the celebration, which featured singing of the song “America,” the Pledge of Allegiance, and an invocation by the local Methodist pastor. Dinner was followed by several speakers, including the president of the nearby Kellerton Lions Club, who presented the bell and gavel for use by the new Grand River group.
The Lions Club moved to their present building in the fall of 1974; with a door connecting to the adjacent American Legion Hall, the space quickly became a community gathering spot. The Lions Club have sponsored a number of projects in their 60-year history, including Easter Egg hunts, candy for the school holiday program, and creation of a new community park.