Postal service was established in Knierim on December 26, 1899, shortly after the town was established. The town was established from lots sold by farmer William Knierim when the Illinois Central Railroad was built in the area. Within two years, town boasted a number of businesses, including a bank, two drugstores, two lumberyards, a hotel, an opera house and a grade school.
Official population peaked at 220 residents in 1910, with growth set back significantly in 1920 when a fire destroyed the entire main street business district. Population now stands at 60; the post office is open four hours each weekday.
The present Calhoun County Courthouse was built on the square in Rockwell City in 1914. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, both the interior and exterior have been well-preserved and the building has seen minimal changes since its original construction. A number of restoration projects began in 1982, including stripping and varnishing of the oak woodwork, implementation of a new tile ceiling, and a cleaning and restoration of the beautifully unique stained glass dome ceiling.
Like many small Iowa communities, the 41 residents in the Calhoun County town of Jolley consider the post office to be not only a place to pick up mail – but also a social gathering place to interact with other members of the community. The 1983 book Jolley: The First 100 Years pays tribute to the services the small-town Post Office (and its postmaster) provide:
The townspeople greatly appreciate the many services the postmasters have given us over the years that would never have been available in a large post office. If one forgets to address one’s letter, they let you know. If the postage isn’t correct, they put a note in your box so you can take care of it, and if you’ve been looking for a package, they might even call you and tell you that it came. If someone in the community dies, they post a sign by the window, and if you need something notarized, they provide the service. Many thanks to these fine people.
Leann I. Hawks has served as the postmaster of Jolley since 1993; postal service was first established to the Calhoun County community in September 1883.
This well-worn town sign welcomes visitors to the unincorporated community of Knoke, located in the northwest corner of Calhoun County. The sign, erected in 2001 to celebrate the community’s 100-year anniversary, proudly highlights the three town cross-streets, along with the elevation of 1,022 feet above sea level. Knoke’s population dropped from 52 residents in 1955 to 21 in 2001.
The Rockwell City Public Library vacated its 100-year-old Carnegie Library location in favor of a new shared Library and Community Center building in August 2008. The modern $2.6 million facility provided substantially more square footage for books and technology, handicapped accessibility, increased natural lighting, and more. Fortunately, the former library did not stay vacant long, as local entrepreneurs Randy and Cindy Patterson purchased the building from the city in 2009. They’ve repurposed the space into a seasonal antique and gift shop; for info, call (712) 887-0621.