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.