Mount Ayr’s first formal library was established in November 15, 1913, with its initial collection of books donated from a number of local groups and individuals. After 18 months of operation, the library committee submitted a proposition to the voters to approve a maintenance tax to support the library. It was approved by a two-thirds majority, and the city officially began funding the library in July 1915.
At that time, a board was established, and they quickly applied for a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. Eight-thousand dollars was awarded to the community, and in August 1916, a contract was awarded to construct the building. Work was completed by the end of the year, and the library was officially dedicated January 3, 1917. The historic building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, continues to serve residents of Mount Ayr and the surrounding areas.
Established in 1880, the town of Redding was one of several in the state established at a stop along branches of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. Postal service to Redding was established twenty years prior, though the location was originally established two miles to the north. In 2000, the Ringgold County town’s official population dipped to 78, the lowest in 120 years and a significantly drop from the community’s peak population of 310 in 1900.
The Redding Post Office sits on the south side of the nearly-abandoned square and is open four hours daily. Since this photo was taken, the building’s exterior has been refurbished with new metal siding.
The tiny town of Delphos in Ringgold County, Iowa, was founded in 1880 as a rail station on the Leon, Mount Ayr and Southwestern line. Originally settled as Borneo, the town’s permanent name was derived from the greek word adelphos, meaning brother. Population peaked at 128 in the 1899 census, more than 20 years before the town was officially incorporated.
Railroad service operated in Delphos for 65 years, with the last train passing through in 1945. Following the loss of rail service, the consolidated school closed in 1961, and the post office served its final customer in November 1993. More recently, the former Christian Church was converted to a private residence, while the remaining Baptist Church building hasn’t held regular services for years.
The Princess Theater served the Ringgold County, Iowa, community of Mt. Ayr for over 70 years before closing its doors in June 1985. The theatre lived on as a plumbing supply store and bar before it was purchased by philanthropist Paul Ramsey of the Ramsey Farm Foundation and donated to a local community group for restoration. The non-profit Princess Theater Troupe ran with the project, raising over $370,000 to significantly renovate and update the theater location. By August 2008, renovations were completed and sold-out audiences watched a locally-produced live performance.
The volunteer-run theater is also equipped for movies, which are shown Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when no live performances are scheduled. Check out the theater’s official website for current showtimes, and more information on the theater restoration project.
The Hy-Vee supermarket chain can trace its retail roots to this nondescript brick building in the tiny community of Beaconsfield, Iowa. Now a community building, Charles Hyde and David Vrendenburg (the namesakes for Hy-Vee) opened their first store in this building in 1930. A plaque on the north side of the building provides visitors with a nice overview of the building’s significance.
Beaconsfield is Iowa’s smallest incorporated community, with 11 residents counted in the 2000 Census.