The first record of a library in the Cerro Gordo County town of Swaledale comes from a newspaper article dated November 7, 1923. Mrs. William Leonard, president of the local Parent-Teacher Association, led the effort to establish a library, which officially opened the following Saturday, November 10. It was housed within a local general store with an initial collection of 75 books.
The current incarnation of the library dates to March 1973, when a meeting was held to formally organize a community-supported public library. The library opened officially opened on June 29, 1973. It was moved to its present location in 1975, with an addition completed in June 1980. Open five days each week, the Swaledale Public Library is run by librarian Nancy Watt.
Sixteen Lutheran families in the Cerro Gordo County seat of Mason City established a congregation in July 1, 1871. A permanent facility was constructed in 1824, with the Trinity name adopted in 1908. Over the next 35 years, membership grew exponentially and the church became too small for the congregation. As money was raised for a new facility, church services were held in the now-demolished Palace Theater.
The first services were held in the present facility on May 14, 1950. An adjacent three-story education building was constructed in 1960.
The Ventura Public Library originated inside a local general store in 1968. Open six days a week, by the end of the first year, 5,885 books had been circulated to 385 registered borrowers. Library cards with numbers were assigned beginning in 1980, and in 1981, the Ventura Public Library aligned with the State Library of Iowa to participate in the Interlibrary Loan Program. The current library facility held its grand opening December 5, 1992.
The origins of the Rockwell Public Library can be traced to 1902, when the local Women’s Club began a book exchange program in 1902. By December 1913, the library had a permanent location and a growing collection of books donated by residents and provided through the State of Iowa Traveling Library. The library has moved twice since, first in 1964 to a new building adjacent to the original, and to the current location in 1995. The Main Street building was purchased and renovated through the fundraising efforts of the library’s Board of Trustees.
In 1994, the Plymouth City Council sponsored a logo and slogan contest to coincide with the Cerro Gordo County community’s 125th anniversary the following year. The winning slogan, Where Neighbors Are Friends, was submitted by resident Deb Perry, while the winning logo was submitted by resident Wendy Wood. A large version of the logo was then painted by a Mason City artist and remains today on the front of the Plymouth City Hall.
The City Hall dates to 1925 when it was built to house the city’s two water pressure storage tanks for the city’s upgraded water system. The building was converted to a City Hall facility when a separate fire barn was constructed in 1958. The conversion included remodeling to add restrooms and a kitchen, and later upgrades provided space for a library and council chambers. Plymouth contracts with nearby Manly to provide the library service to its residents.
In addition to rental for family gatherings and meetings, seniors gather at the City Hall each Monday for card games, and a community coffee is held each Tuesday morning.