The Palo Alto County town of Mallard was settled in the fall of 1882, when the Fort Dodge and Des Moines Railroad Company completed a line to the town. Railroad president Charles E. Whitehead chose the name because of the quantity of mallard ducks in the area. Home to 274 residents, the town was officially incorporated on June 25, 1895.
Citizens of the small Palo Alto County community of Curlew celebrated the opening of a new Post Office in September 1971. The 640-square feet building provided nearly three times the space of the previous location, along with a new loading platform and dedicated parking spots. Curlew’s population was 125 at the time the post office was constructed, but has since declined to 62.
Over the past decade, the Iowa-based Fridley Theatres chain has been working to reduce its small-town footprint to focus on its multiplex operations in the state’s larger communities. The single-screen Riviera Theatre in downtown Emmetsburg is one of the latest cinemas to transfer ownership, as local businessmen purchased the theatre in late April 2010. The theatre was closed for a couple of weeks to allow improvements to the 1930s-era building, including new sound and projection systems.
In addition to first-run movies, which are shown seven days weekly, the theatre can be rented out to groups and organizations for parties, meetings, and more. During the college football season, free parties have been held for community members to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes for free on the big theatre screen.