The Stacyville Public Library debuted in May 14, 1968, inside the City Hall. The library was housed in the portion of the City Hall that formerly held two jail cells. The wall between the cells was torn down and bookshelves were installed for library use. A year later, as the collection grew, discussion began around the idea of using the entire City Hall building for the library. Funds were secured to remodel the facility and books were moved to the nearby beauty shop as the library space was renovated. The upgraded building of 1,050 square feet opened April 1970.
By 1995, the Public Library determined that more space was needed and fundraising efforts began for a new library building. Annual corn mazes were held between 1999 and 2002 to generate funds, and two large donations were received for use in the library project. The $285,000 building was completed in 2004 with a large crew of volunteer labor. On December 4, 2004, a large crew of volunteers moved books and materials, and the new library was officially opened.
While the Mitchell County community of Saint Ansgar hasn’t had an active movie theatre for over thirty years, residents and visitors can enjoy the marquee, sit in the old theatre seats, and view the original ticket booth. Spots for movie posters have been replaced with advertisements for dresses and tuxedo rentals, as the movie house has been converted to The Bridal Theatre, a local business featuring dresses and accessories for proms, weddings, and other special occasions.
Construction on the building began in April 8, 1937, and the Roxy Theatre officially opened less than four months later. The Saint Ansgar Enterprise newspaper had a number of articles highlighting the theatre’s amenities, including the “finest” sound and projection equipment, “comfortable upholstered chairs,” and a 12 x 16 foot screen. The Roxy also was equipped with a “crying room,” a place where mothers “can take their children when they get fretty and see the picture from a glass window.”
After serving as a bowling alley for a short time, the building was reopened as the Cinema Capri in October 1977. The Bridal Theatre business was established two years later.
The Mitchell County Courthouse in Osage was constructed in 1858, making it one of the oldest operating courthouses in the state of Iowa. The longevity of the courthouse is especially impressive given the controversy at the time of opening.
Per the Mitchell County website, the original county seat was located in nearby Mitchell, due to its central location within the county. The people of Osage objected, an election was held, and Osage was victorious. The victory was not without controversy, however, as rumors suggested votes for Osage were “bought and paid for with merchandise.”
To help their case for the courthouse, Osage constructed a courthouse and jail in 1858, with the agreement to give them to the county when construction was completed. In addition, Osage conspired with Charles City, a community vying to become the county seat of the adjacent Floyd County. To make both cities more centrally located within their respective county, a three-mile strip of Floyd County was given to Mitchell County.
In the ensuing years, Mitchell’s population has dwindled, with 155 residents as of the 2000 census. Mitchell lost its post office in 2004.
The colorful Watts Theatre in downtown Osage was a state-of-the-art facility when it opened in 1950. The original opening brochure highlights a number of unique features, from a cry room for little ones to a powder room for ladies to a heated sidewalk outside to melt snow and ice. After sitting empty for five years, local newspaper publishers restored and reopened the theatre in 1994.
The theatre changed hands again in 1998 and 2006; it has not only remained open through the transitions, but has seen a number of recent improvements including a new roof, equipment upgrades, and a second-story apartment now used as a viewing room and party facility. Its signature neon marquee was even restored in 2005.