Tag Archives: Butler County

Calvary Baptist Church (Greene, Iowa)

Calvary Baptist Church (Greene, Iowa)

With the burden of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Butler County town of Greene, a Bible class was started in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Morey on July 16, 1939. Services were moved to the second floor of a local store in October 1940. The first permanent pastor, Charles E. Segerstom, was called to serve in 1944, with assistance of the Calvary Baptist Church in Forest City, and the Calvary moniker was formally adopted in June of that year.

Ground was broken for a permanent church building in August 1945. The first services were held on May 5, 1946, and a dedication ceremony was held on June 2. The present entryway was added in 1979.

Former Bank and Post Office 50608 (Austinville, Iowa)

The Austinville State Savings Bank was established in the unincorporated Butler County town of Austinville in 1911. In addition to surviving the Great Depression, the bank survived a number of robberies and attempted robberies. In 1922, over $2,000 was stolen from the safe while nitroglycerin was used in a similar robbery attempt in 1930. Another robbery occurred on February 17, 1940, when burglars cut through the bank’s 3,000-pound safe to steal $1,000. The last robbery was October 4, 1985, as a new security system was installed shortly after the incident.

After a series of acquisitions, the bank was converted to a branch of the Lincoln Savings Bank. When the Lincoln Savings Bank decided to close the Austinville office, community members met to discuss ways to preserve the historic building, related memorabilia, and the contract post office which shared space with the bank. The Austinville Historical Society was quickly formed and took control of the building. The post office branch continued to operate for more than a decade before its closure on June 2, 2011.

First Baptist Church (Shell Rock, Iowa)

The First Baptist Church in the Butler County town of Shell Rock was organized in a school house with 12 founding members on January 18, 1864. A permanent facility for the church was built at the cost of $5,500 and dedicated debt-free in 1872. Three years later, an 1,000-pound bell was installed. Not only does the church continue to operate from the 140-year-old building, the bell still rings, and three of nine evergreen trees planted in 1872 remain in the church lot. Pastor Alan Dicks came to First Baptist in 2006; services are held each Sunday morning, plus Sunday and Wednesday evenings.

Church of the Brethren (Greene, Iowa)

Church of the Brethren (Greene, Iowa)

The historic Church of the Brethren in the Butler County community of Greene was organized in a rural schoolhouse building in June of 1857. Funds were raised to purchase a lot for its present site in 1873, when the land was cleared and the native stone church was erected. The church, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, has changed little over the years and is the oldest active church building in the Greene community.

A yoked parish agreement was established with the Greene United Methodist Church in 1970, an arrangement that continues today. The churches share a single pastor, and services alternate between the Methodist Church and pictured Church of the Brethren.

Butler County Courthouse (Allison, Iowa)

Butler County Courthouse (Allison, Iowa)

After much controversy, a two-story courthouse was constructed in the now-non-existent hamlet of Butler Center in 1860 at a cost of $2,000. ¬†Though the Courthouse operated in Butler Center for twenty years, the village contained few businesses and was described in an 1875 atlas a place without “commercial or other importance.” Several communities, including Clarksville, Bristow and Shell Rock, sought to obtain county seat status, but it was ultimately awarded to the town of Allison and a new courthouse was in place in January 1881.

Several additions were made to the courthouse to keep up with the county’s growing needs, but by the late 1950s the building developed inadequacies and structural cracks. The board of supervisors state the building was beyond repair and finally, after three failed bond elections, in May 1973, a proposal to construct a new $940,000 courthouse passed with 72% approval. Construction began on April 14, 1974, and the new Butler County Courthouse was formally dedicated on December 14, 1975.