Cemetery (Greencastle, Iowa)

This simple cemetery monument may be the only sign to mark the once-thriving hamlet of Greencastle in rural Jasper County. The village was platted in August 1855, one of the earliest established in the county. Grandeur visions were evident in the town plat, which featured a spacious public square surround by numerous rows of lots. Within two years, a two-story school building was built and the business district flourished with multiple general stores, a blacksmith shop, and a vineyard.

When the railroad was built two miles to the north in 1885, an exodus began. Merchants packed their inventories and moved to the new town of Mingo. A town with fifteen businesses, two churches, five doctors and a large school, Greencastle shrunk as quickly as it grew. By 1895, only a handful of businesses remained, while the post office closed on December 31, 1901. The pictured cemetery monument sits near the entrance of the well-maintained Greencastle Cemetery, which lies in the southwest corner of the area where the village once stood.