The First Presbyterian Church in the Emmet County town of Ringsted can trace its history to 1903, when a modest church building was moved into the community. The unused church was moved on three bobsleds, pulled through frozen fields by a team of 24 horses over a two-week period. By spring, the stone foundation was complete and front steps added; the church was formally dedicated in June 1903.
In February 1958, a committee was formed to plan the financing and building of a new church. The congregation quickly voted to construct the new $65,000 facility, with ground broken by June and the cornerstone laid on September 14, 1958. The first service was held in the new building in February 1959, with the church dedicated two months later. In 1985, the congregation voted to share a pastor with the Presbyterian Church in nearby Armstrong.
In February 1954, a grand jury of seven Emmet County residents voted unanimously to recommend the construction of a new courthouse following a report that the existing, 70-year-old courthouse was “inadequate, a fire hazard and a detriment of all citizens of the county should it burn.” Within a month, a special election was approved by the county supervisors and over two-thirds of voters favored building a new $350,000 structure in the November election.
Plans were drawn for the proposed courthouse, but by February 1956, the lowest bid received was more than $70,000 over the $350,000 approved in the election. A second vote to increase the building fund failed by a 10 to one margin, sending the county supervisors back to architect James A. Dougher of Des Moines to redo plans in attempt to secure a lower bid. On March 19, 1957 a revised bid was received that met the county’s budget, and the cornerstone to the new structure was laid Friday, May 30, 1957.
Construction was completed fifteen months later, and the new Emmet County Courthouse building was officially dedicated in front of an estimated crowd of 1,500 on September 14, 1958. Following the dedication, guided tours were given of the new building and dedication brochures were distributed.
After over 102 years of service, the Gruver Post Office was suspended on November 30, 2002. Residents can now get mail curbside or at these cluster boxes, located outside a brick garage across the street from the Gruver City Hall and Fire Department building. The nearest full service post office is in Estherville, located seven miles west of Gruver.
An American Legion post was established in the Emmet County town of Ringsted on January 27, 1920. Named in memory of two local soldiers, membership in the Christiansen-Bonnicksen Post grew significantly after World War II, and the organization sought a headquarters site. In the fall of 1993, a fire extensively damaged the American Legion building.
With help from the Ringsted community, the building was completely repaired and remodeled and reopened in 1994. Under the direction of Legion members and a local volunteer board, the center has hosted many events, from meetings to receptions to graduation parties.
This beautiful public library building sits in the town square of Estherville, the county seat of Emmet County in northern Iowa. The library dates to 1903, after Estherville became Iowa’s twelfth community to receive a Carnegie library grant. The entrance was shifted when the library was significantly expanded in 1995; the renovated library was rededicated in November of that year. A nice library exterior photo gallery can be found on the official library website.