In 1879, nearly thirty years after Worth County was established, an attempt to move the county seat from Northwood to Kensett was gaining steam. To thwart the effort, residents in Northwood raised over $4,000 to purchase land and construct a new brick courthouse in 1880. After serving as the courthouse for 13 years, the building was later used as a high school and then as the community library. The Northwood Library moved to a new location in 1972, and the Worth County Historical Society was granted use of the building. It has since served as the Worth County Museum, open Sunday afternoons between Memorial and Labor Day or by appointment by calling (641) 324-1180.
Local residents were disappointed in August 2000 when the former Commercial Federal Bank chain announced it was closing the branch office in downtown Hanlontown in Worth County, Iowa. The office, which featured an impressive vault and marble teller station inside its two-story lobby, was built in 1920 as Citizens State Bank. It changed hands three times between 1981 and 1998 prior to the 2000 closure. The bank also closed its branch in nearby Kensett.
Fortunately, two charitable foundations purchased the building and donated it to the Worth County Historical Society. It is now home to the Citizens Savings Bank Museum, open Sunday afternoons June through August. Visitors can appreciate the historic interior while perusing a growing collection of Hanlontown cultural and economic artifacts.
Constructed in 1874, the Swensrud School originally stood on a family farm four miles northeast of Northwood in Worth County, Iowa. In 1972, it was moved from farm to city and is now part of a central park in downtown Northwood.
Inside, visitors will find old desks, a pot-bellied stove, a collection of old school books, and a list of teachers who taught at the school. The school is closed for the season, with normal hours Sundays 2 to 4 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The one-room schoolhouse is adjacent to the main Worth County Historical Museum.