The first ‘free’ public library in Eagle Grove opened in 1902, when a growing book location was created in the reception room of the local Masonic temple. Shortly after, the community was offered a $10,000 grant to build a public library building in Eagle Grove provided the city came up with a suitable location and a small tax to cover upkeep costs. The community spent $2,000 on the corner lot, construction began, and the new facility was formally dedicated in September 1903. It was used as a library until a new, single-story location was built in 1976.
The historic Carnegie building is now home to the Eagle Grove Historical Society and Museum. A fundraising campaign is underway to provide much-needed restoration to the century-old building.
Since postal service was first established in the Wright County community of Rowan in 1884, no one has served as Postmaster longer than Mrs. Nellie Hyde. Hyde was first appointed to the role on July 23, 1920, under the direction of then Postmaster General Albert Burleson. At the time of her appointment, her father Authur Emerson was a rural mail carrier based in Rowan, who started his career carrying mail by mule. Hyde served as Postmaster for nearly 33 years before her retirement on June 30, 1953.
The Wright County Monitor reported on Hyde’s last day of service, a large group of citizens gathered at the closing hour to wish her well. On behalf of the community, they presented her with a “fish pole that she might accompany her husband on his fishing trips and a large can of bait, which proved to be a large amount of money donated by the patrons of the local office as a token of esteem for her service to the public the last 33 years.” Hyde was preceded by Mrs. Loretta M. Steffens who held the Postmaster position at the Rowan Post Office for the next 21 years.
Located on the north side of the square in downtown Clarion in Wright County is the Clarion Theatre, a single-screen movie house that dates to 1937. While a few exterior changes have taken place since the theatre’s construction, the angled brick design and iconic marquee remain in tact and in use. The Clarion Theatre is one of six in the state operated by the recently-established Big Time Cinema chain. First-run movies cost just $2.00 for adults, and $1.00 for children.
Like many small-town theatres in Iowa, the Lyric Theatre in Belmond is owned and operated by a local non-profit organization. In1992, the Belmond Area Arts Council resurrected the previously-closed theatre with a simple mission: “To provide quality entertainment at a reasonable price for the community.”
Nearly twenty years later, the Lyric Theatre is still in operation and showing movies daily for just $2.00. Moviegoers will appreciate the plush interior, which underwent extensive renovation in fall 2005. Floors were replaced, walls repainted and new reclining seats with cupholders were installed.
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Feelings are mixed among the 12,000 residents in Wright County, Iowa, has gained national attention due to the infamous egg recall. Some are supportive of the Wright County Eggs operation and point to the jobs created in the area. Others lament the loss of family farms in favor of large egg factories.
The Wright County Courthouse, which sits on the square in Clarion, was built in 1891 and renovated in the mid-1970s. The red brick building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.