On January 6, 1965, a fire destroyed the Ellington Prairie Lutheran Church in rural Hancock County. Though the congregation considered rebuilding, they ultimately decided to merge with the Lutheran Church in the nearby unincorporated community of Miller. In February 1965, after considerable debate and two ballots, members unanimously adopted a new name, Faith Lutheran Church.
Later that year, a special meeting was called to discuss remodeling the church building. A committee was created and began the process of contracting a $50,000 building upgrade. Remodeling efforts were completed the following year, with a dedication service held April 24, 1966.
The Community Center in the Hancock County town of Woden was constructed in 1900 by the local Woodmen’s Lodge. It was first known as Woodmen Hall, then as the American Legion Hall, before its current name was adopted. The center has been used for dancing, movies, roller skating, family gatherings, and fundraisers. It serves as a regular meeting place for several organizations including area senior citizens, and can be rented for activities by contacting the Woden Public Library.
Residents of the Hancock County community of Woden have had access to a Public Library for over 50 years. The first Woden Public Library was sponsored by the local Federated Women’s Club and was based in the basement of the First State Bank. The library operated there for 13 years before it moved to a new building in 1973. The Woden Public Library is open daily except Fridays and Sundays.
In June 1960, Postmaster General Arther E. Summerfield announced a contract had been signed for the construction of a new post office building in the Hancock County community of Crystal Lake. Still in use today, the 520-square-feet post office was built to meet the latest standards including modern fluorescent lighting and equipment and a low, open service counter. The Crystal Lake Post Office, was one of 1,400 new post offices constructed across the nation in 1960.
The Hancock County town of Britt has been connected with hobos since 1974, when several Britt residents joined with hobos Hood River Blackie, Steamtrain Maury, and Feather River John to establish the non-profit Hobo Foundation. After its launch, a National Hobo Convention event was created to take place annually in Britt, and in 1988, the foundation purchased the former Chief Theatre for use as a Hobo Museum. It opened the following year.
In 2004, concerns about deterioration of the 92-year-old theatre building surfaced and the a fundraising effort began to build a new museum in Britt. After five years, only a third of necessary funds had been raised, so the Hobo Foundation board voted to shift efforts toward the improvement and renovation of the Hobo Museum in its current location. Long-term plans are still being reviewed, with immediate goals to improve the building structurally and upgrade heating and air conditioning systems.
The museum is open June through August, or by appointment; visit the Hobo Museum website for details.