In 1978, the Palmyra Township in rural Warren County was considering razing the 100-year-old Palmyra Methodist Episcopal Church. The prospect of demolition led to the formation of Friends of Palmyra Church, a group focused on restoring the historic church and listing the building on the National Register of Historic Places. The church was added to the Register in 1979, preventing demolition and propelling the group forward with its restoration plans.
The process was slow, but by 1984, auxiliary Sunday School rooms were removed to return the church to its 1870 footprint. The interior was restored and period-appropriate internal fixtures were installed. The church was made available for events and weddings and a non-denominational annual service was scheduled. The group’s recent focus has shifted to the exterior, raising funds to replace the aging roof and apply a fresh coat of paint. Photographed April 3, 2009.
The Hartford Post Office building was constructed in 1927, originally for use as a grocery store. It operated under three owners before it was purchased a converted to a short-order diner, as Harvey & Elsie’s Sandwich Shop in the early 1950s. The shop was short-lived as Harvey tragically was killed in a car accident, forcing the restaurant to shutter. The post office relocated to the building shortly after and has been there since. Postal service was established in Hartford in 1854.
The Martensdale Lions Club was organized December 26, 1972, with 22 charter members. Over its 40-year history, the organization has supported or sponsored a number of community services and events, ranging from eye glasses for school children to the Martensdale-St. Marys annual reunion picnic. The former grocery store building was purchased and remodeled for use as the Lions Club Hall; it’s currently used for meetings and various community activities.
The first Catholic church in the Warren County town of St. Marys was constructed in 1870 at a cost of $1,000. The basic building served the congregation until the present church was built in 1900. A parochial school was operated between 1891 and 1919, before consolidating with the local public school district. The church is now served by a priest based in Indianola.
The United Methodist Church in the unincorporated Warren County town of Liberty Center was organized in 1856, with first meetings held in a log schoolhouse south of town. As membership grew, space was leased in a general store in 1860 before a permanent building was constructed in 1870 at the cost of $2,300. The dedication ceremony featured Dr. Alexander Burns, president of nearby Simpson College.
The church was enlarged in 1906 and again in 1968 when a basement was added. Additional improvements were made in 1962, including refinished floors, a new gas furnace, and new carpet, with a rededication ceremony held on March 9, 1969. The church shares a pastor with United Methodist Churches in the nearby communities of Milo and Green Plain.