The Shelby County community of Kirkman constructed a new community center in 1992, using proceeds from a celebration held in June to mark the 100 year anniversary of the town’s incorporation. Used for graduation and birthday parties, local organizations, and wedding receptions, it is one of a handful of non-residential buildings remaining in the small community. Students living in Kirkman attend school at buildings in Manilla and Irwin as part of the Irwin-Kirkman-Manilla (IKM) school district.
Named after an officer for the Illinois Central Railroad line, the Cherokee County community of Quimby was founded in August 1887, and a post office was established two months later. The Quimby Community Center, which sits along Main Street in the town of 368 residents, serves as the regular meeting spot for six community organizations, including the American Legion and Auxiliary, a Senior Citizens group, and the local Red Hat Society.
It is also a focal point in the annual Watermelon Days celebration, held in Quimby each June. Over 3,000 pounds of watermelon are served during the weekend event, which features amusement rides, a children’s parade, and a golf tournament at the 9-hole course located on the southeast side of town.
Visitors entering Onawa on State Highway 175 are greeted with a large welcome sign noting the community’s claim to fame: having the widest main street in the United States. The street, actually named Iowa Avenue, is 150 feet wide, large enough to fit a 10-lane highway. It’s composed of two lanes of traffic in each connection, along with frontage lanes and angled parking on each side of the street.
Major renovations are planned for the former Opera House in downtown Corning in Adams County, Iowa. The 1902 building was constructed across from Central Park replacing a bank and merchandise stores destroyed by fire five years earlier. For its first decade of existence, the Corning Opera House staged exclusively live performances. By 1921, motion pictures became the primary function with only occasional staged events, with the last known live production held in 1934. The 724-seat Opera House was one of hundreds built in Iowa in the early twentieth century.
The building was sold to the local newspaper publishing company, where it was used for nearly 70 years before it was donated to the city of Corning in December 2001. A board of directors was formed, and more than $500,000 has been raised to improve the building, which received new windows in 2006 and a new elevator in 2009. In August, the Opera House received a $1.5 million Main Street Iowa grant, and plans are being developed to reopen a fully restored Corning Opera House by April 2012.
Decatur Pharmacy is one of several colorfully-painted small businesses on Main Street in Leon. With just under 2,000 residents, Leon is the county seat of Decatur County in Southern Iowa. Just to the north is the South Central Iowa Theatre, a volunteer-run cinema that shows movies weekend evenings as well as occasional live performances.