The Clearfield Lions Club was organized in May 1952, and officially chartered in the Taylor County town in March 1953. Club projects over the group’s 60-year history have included sponsoring town baseball, coordinating a 4th of July celebration, and adding community walking trails. Their signature annual event may be shuttle bus service for the Iowa State Fair, which started in 1964. Popularity of the shuttle buses grew quickly, generating enough profits to construct the pictured Lions Club building in 1967.
The first Catholic worship services in the Ringgold County town of Maloy were held in 1864 in the home of Luke Shay, an immigrant from Ireland. As attendance grew, they moved to Shay’s barn and then to the first Catholic Church in the area constructed in 1874. A larger church was constructed within the Maloy city limits in 1903; the church was the center of social activity for the community, holding bi-weekly dances, dinners, and even weekly movies.
On June 17, 1931, a fire swept through Maloy destroying the church along with five businesses, a house, and a barn. The new church was constructed of yellow brick with a steeply-pitched roof in an English Rural Architectural style. After nearly 80 years of operation, the final mass was held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on May 3rd, 2009. The church was closed and sold.
Despite a tie with nearby LeRoy for being the smallest incorporated town in Iowa, Beaconsfield still has an active church congregation. The United Methodist Church in the Ringgold County community can trace its history to 1885, with the first church building constructed three years later. In April 1911, a new brick church was constructed at a cost of $7,000, and dedicated debt free on December 24.
Tragedy struck on November 19, 1949, when the brick church and all its contents were destroyed by fire. The congregation rallied together and began fundraising for a new building the next day. Within a few weeks, over $14,000 was raised, and the new church was dedicated in early 1951. Recent changes include a new roof and ramp for handicap accessibility. The congregation shares a pastor with the United Methodist Church in nearby Kellerton.
Postal service in the Ringgold County community of Benton can be traced to March 1875, when a post office location was setup in Bloomington. Despite a dwindling population, the pictured Benton Post Office is open four hours daily to serve the town’s 40 residents. The post office occupies the first floor of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows hall at the southern edge of downtown Benton. The I.O.O.F. chapter is the last remaining in Ringgold County; as of 2005, the organization had eight members.
Like many counties across the state, Ringgold County in southern Iowa once had nearly a dozen newspapers operating simultaneously. Even some of the county’s smallest communities had a weekly paper: the Shannon City Messenger folded in the 1942 following the editor’s death, the Redding Herald ceased in 1957, and Kellerton’s weekly paper was discontinued in 1962. Currently, just two papers exist in Ringgold County, the Progress out of Diagonal, population 330, and the Record-News from Ringgold’s county seat Mount Ayr.
The pictured building serves as the office for the Mount Ayr Record-News, which can trace its history to the formation of the Ringgold Record newspaper in 1865. The competing Twice-a-Week News dates to 1893, and the Record-News moniker was formed when the two papers merged in 1907. Local businessman Sam Spurrier bought the paper in 1911, which has only changed ownership three times in the last 100 years. Since 1981, H. Alan Smith has been the owner, publisher and editor of the Mount Ayr Record-News, Ringgold County’s most widely circulated newspaper.