The Dubuque County town of Sherrill was incorporated on June 29, 1933, more than 75 years after postal service was first established and nearly 100 years after the first community church opened. The decision to incorporate was a result of the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, with small towns like Sherrill fearful they could not have a tavern unless they were incorporated. Sherrill is home to 177 residents.
When the existing community hall space was deemed not functional in 1926, a petition was filed with the town council to construct a new community center. A special election was held that October and passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 89-22. The large center was designed to feature a dance hall on the main floor, council meeting room on the first floor and jail and storage space in the basement.
The Community Hall was completed for under $6,000 and considered an immediate success, one of the finest ballrooms in the area. The hall has held a number of events over its seventy-five year history including roller skating, movies, social gatherings, weddings, dances, and more. While reconfigured since its initial construction, the New Vienna Community Hall continues to serve the community today.
Constructed in 1857 at a cost of $40,000, the former Dubuque County Jail is one of a handful of Egyptian Revival buildings remaining in the United States. Featuring 18-inch gray limestone walls, the building functioned as a jail until 1971. A few years later, the Dubuque Art Association leased the building for use as a museum, an arrangement that remained in place through 2003. When the Association moved to a remodeled bank building in 2003, the Dubuque County Historical Society established the Old Jail Museum in the historic facility.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The Dubuque County town of Dyersville’s founder, James “Judge” Dyer, Jr., constructed this victorian-style home in 1850, just three years after the town was planted. It’s now a museum, owned and operated by the Dyersville Area Historical Society and has been restored and furnished with antiques from the late nineteenth century. In addition to the historic furnishings, over 1,000 dolls are on display. The museum is open daily May 1 through November 1.
Located between Dubuque and Maquoketa on U.S. Highway 61 is the small town of Zwingle, population 91, which has the distinction of being alphabetically the last community in the state. Less than 10 years after the area of Zwingle was first settled, construction began on a modest, 1,200 square-foot church building in September 1855. The $1,500 facility was dedicated in May 1856, and held the distinction of being the first reformed church constructed west of the Mississippi River; it has since been significantly expanded and renovated.
Along with the building, the three-acre church site also contains a cemetery and a parsonage, which was constructed in 1976, six years after the Harmony Church formally began its affiliation with the United Church of Christ. While the membership once exceeded 200, the church now has about 50 members.