The Clayton County town of Luana was established in December 1867 by William Scott. He named the town for his wife Luana. Now home to 267 residents, the town was officially incorporated in 1911. Luana students are part of the MFL MarMac district, along with nearby communities of Monona, Farmersburg, Marquette and McGregor.
The first public library in the Clayton County community of Monona was established in 1929 by the local women’s club. After five years of operation, the city council passed an ordinance to support the library, which was then moved to a room within the city hall. It moved to its present location in 1973, a brick building constructed with funds from the estate of resident Florence Murphy. To honor her generosity, the library was renamed the Murphy Memorial Library.
About 260 Guttenburg schoolchildren cut class on May 18, 1989, to help move more than 15,000 books to the new public library. The new building featured five times the space of the previous location, an 800-square-foot room inside the town’s municipal building. The $250,000 brick building was constructed without federal or state funding; the majority of funds were raised in advance, with an April 1988 bond measure providing the last $65,000 for the building. The library opened the day after the move, with a formal dedication held on July 1, 1989.
When the Garwood Theatre closed its doors in 1978, the public library in the Clayton County community of Garnavillo moved down a floor to the main level of the former theatre building. The restroom, magazines, and information desk sit where the concession stand and ticket area once were, while the former auditorium space now contains the library’s adult fiction, non-fiction, and reference sections, plus audiobooks, videos, CDs and public computers. Finally, a children’s section occupies the back portion of the building, a space once used by the Garnavillo fire department.
When the Turner Opera House in downtown Elkader was destroyed by fire in 1902, the community banded together and within four days raised $10,000 for the construction of a new opera house. A new facility was constructed less than a year after the fire, and the Elkader Opera House opened its doors with the performance of the George M. Cohen musical The Governor’s Son on November 26, 1903. After serving as a community room, dance hall, roller rink, library and more, the century-old building has undergone a significant renovation to restore the theater to its original state.
Interior features include a horseshoe balcony, unique ruby glass chandelier and a stage curtain advertising local businesses from Elkader’s history. The opera house continues to be used today; a schedule of events, including performances from well-known groups and local community players, can be found on the Elkader Opera House website.