Properties Listed on National Register of Historic Places Earn Recognition

For immediate release May 9, 2005



Jeff Morgan, (515) 281-3858,

Des Moines, Iowa—Thirty-nine properties in Iowa that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 received special recognition Monday from the State Historical Society of Iowa, as part of the annual Celebrate Community History awards program. The event is held in conjunction with National Historic Preservation Week.

The properties, commercial and historic districts are each noted for retaining historic integrity and stand today as excellent examples of architecture or have association to significant events or people.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s cultural resources worthy of preservation. The program is administered by the National Park Service under the Secretary of the Interior. Properties listed on the National Register include districts, sites, structures, and objects that are significant to American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation.

The ceremony also included presentation of the Historical Society’s “Best of Preservation” awards recognizing outstanding rehabilitation projects that were underwritten in part by federal and Iowa historic tax credits and the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance’s “Preservation At Its Best” Awards which are made annually to projects in Iowa that demonstrate a commitment to maintaining and preserving
Iowa’s cultural heritage.

National Register of Historic Places Listings 2004 (alphabetical by city)

Old Town Historic District
Between Duff & Clark Avenues and 7th and 9th Streets, Ames

The Old Town Historic District calls attention to patterns of town building in Ames. It shows how conspicuous consumption, so fashionable among Victorians throughout the United States, affected real estate development locally during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Douglas and Duff avenues became corridors of preference to display showplace residences. By the early 20th century, the Old Town neighborhood had become so popular in Ames that most of the lots along 9th street were subdivided and filled in with housing for the many people who wished to live in the neighborhood. Contact: The Honorable Ted Tedesco, Mayor, P.O. Box 811, 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, IA 50010-0811.

Charles Henry and Charlotte Norton House
401 N. Chestnut Street, Avoca

This house is distinguishable for its combination of the Italian Villa and Gothic Revival styles. There is no comparable example of this combination to such a degree in the Avoca area. The two styles together blended elements that were high style for the time, reflecting a fashion that began in England known as the “picturesque movement.” Contact: Brian and Sharon McCutchen, 712/343-5008.

Henry Wishard House
406 West Jefferson Street, Bloomfield

Henry Arthur Wishard was a prominent businessman in Bloomfield, reputedly the first man to advocate tax on gasoline as a large source of revenue, thus making it possible for the present good highway systems. He is known as the father of the gasoline tax in the United States. He also built more than 100 buildings in Bloomfield, and Dighton, Kan. His unique Queen Anne style brick home and its surrounding landscaped grounds have remained essentially unchanged since being finished in 1910. Contact: Mr. and Mrs. Richard Squire, 641/664-1807.

Ausadie Building
845 First Avenue, SE, Cedar Rapids

The Ausadie Building stands today as a well-preserved early 20th century apartment building designed by well-known Cedar Rapids architect William J. Brown. It is also associated with Austin Palmer, a significant person in Cedar Rapids’ late 19th and early 20th century history. Palmer was known for his “Palmer” writing method, which revolutionized handwriting methods in the early 20th century, and well into the late 20th century. Palmer and his wife, Sadie, built the Ausadie Building in 1923 as a business venture and to serve as their residence while in Cedar Rapids, since by that time, their many business ventures required living in New York most of the year. Contact: Richard Cooley and Tim Oberbroeckling, 319/365-3860.

Lustron Home
2009 Williams Blvd., SW, Cedar Rapids

Out of several million new homes built nationwide in the immediate post-World War II years, only 2,680 Lustron homes in total were shipped out of the Lustron Corporation factory in Columbus, Ohio, between April 1948 and May 1950. It is one of only nine surviving Lustron homes known to have been assembled in Cedar Rapids, and one of 143 known examples erected in Iowa. The building is an example of Lustron Corporation’s innovative contributions to the prefabricated housing industry and its efforts to incorporate modern architecture and the latest domestic technologies into the lives of everyday Americans. Contact: Donald and Sheila Janda, 563/578-3238.

Howes Building
419-425 Second Street South, Clinton

The turn-of-the-century Howes Building in Clinton is significant for its association with Edward Howes, a prominent citizen and relentless promoter of his community. After purchasing a prime lot in downtown Clinton, Howes hired friend and local architect Josiah Rice to design a three-story Classic Revival style building. Construction was complete in 1900, but it quickly became apparent that more space was needed. In 1905, a fourth story was added and that same year, the newspaper declared the Howes building “one of the finest and most commodious blocks to be found in Eastern Iowa.” The contributions of Edward Howes to the City of Clinton are evident through local historical annals. He was a two-year mayor of the City of Clinton, a member of the Board of Directors of the Clinton YMCA, and a Knighted Commander of the Court of Honor by the Scottish Rite Masons. Contact: Community Housing Initiatives, Inc, 712/262-5965.

Mulcahy Barn
25623 710th Avenue, Colo

The Mulcahy Barn is an excellent example of a basement barn. It clearly illustrates the architecture of a diversified livestock farm built by immigrants who fused two various European traditions of barns into a new Midwest amalgamation. The barn is a local landmark, still used for agriculture, and receives media coverage and visitors for the annual open houses from over five states. The Barn was constructed in 1885. Contact: Wende Elliott and Joseph Rude, 641/377-2313.

Marycrest College Historic District
Portions of the 1500 & 1600 blocks of W. 12th Street, Davenport

This District’s historic significance derives from its association with an important Roman Catholic women’s college that was founded immediately prior to World War II and flourished in the following decades. The District contains an important collection of historic resources associated with the founding and growth of Marycrest College. Contact: Signature Development Company, c/o Chris Ales, 563/323-5880.

Wilson District #7 School
1507 270th Avenue, Delmar

The first recorded school in Clinton County dates to around 1847 and was built in the town of Lyons, now a part of the town of Clinton. By 1860, the population of the county had reached 18,938 and Clinton, being the largest town in the county, had established a new school located in the center of town. Bloomfield Township was created in 1855 and the first recorded school was an 1859 log structure built in what was then the town of Bloomfield. Bloomfield became Delmar in1871 after the completion of the Davenport, St. Paul & Midland railway came through town. By 1875, Bloomfield Township had nine country schools in what was known as the Wilson District, each one erected to accommodate four sections of the Township. The Wilson #7 school is the only one of the original nine remaining. Contact: Patrick J. O’Meara, 563/659-5691.

Allen Hazen Water Tower (Municipal Water Tower)
4800 Hickman Road, Des Moines

Completed and first placed into service in 1931, the Allen Hazen Water Tower uses reinforced concrete for decorative and utilitarian effect. A central pedestal surrounded by 15 massive Doric column supports a steel tank with a capacity of 2 million gallons of water. This massive and classically influenced design consciously associates itself with the water systems and engineering triumphs of Ancient Rome. Contact: Des Moines Water Works, 515/283-8700.

Byron and Ivan Boyd House
304 42nd St., Des Moines

The Byron and Ivan Boyd House is significant for its association with Byron Bennett Boyd, architect of numerous prominent buildings locally, and renowned as a painter and artist. The house also represents his work and embodies the distinctive characteristics of Tudor Revival style residential architecture. Contact: Daniel and Maria Sloan, 515/255-1294.

Des Moines Art Center
4700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines

The Des Moines Art Center is considered “one of the most arresting examples of museum architecture in the United States.” Facing the problems of urban planning and rising real estate costs, together with the need to preserve beloved historic buildings, museums in the latter half of the 20th century turned organic, growing arms and legs in a variety of avant guard architectural styles. The Des Moines Art Center has been at the forefront of this movements since its original structure was designed by international architect Eliel Saarinen in 1948. Contact: Des Moines Art Center, c/o Kirk Blunck, 515/277-4405.

Herring Motor Car Company Building
110 West 10th Street, Des Moines

As a commercial firm, Herring Motor Car Company was the most significant automobile assembly sales and supply company in des Moines at a time when the city played a central role as the sales distribution center for the state and region. The building was the first substantial warehouse/storefront building that was built expressly for the automotive industry and its scale and quality of design reflected the emergence of the automobile as a profitable new commercial sector in the local and state economy. Contact: 10th Street Lofts, L.L.L.P., 214/763-8272.

Hubbell Building
904 Walnut Street, Des Moines

Frederick Marion Hubbell (1839-1930) took a leading part in building up the financial and industrial institutions of Des Moines. His ambition, business acumen, and drive were largely responsible for the establishment of the Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa; for contributing to the city’s emergence as a national insurance center; for the establishment of the Des Moines Waterworks; for the amassing of great real estate holdings; and for siring a dynasty of children who followed in his footsteps and excelled in all of these and other fields of business endeavors. The Hubbell Building is locally significant for its association with commerce in Des Moines. Contact: Hubbell Realty Company, 515/243-3228.

Standard Glass & Paint Company Building
112 10th Street, Des Moines

From 1903-1979, this building housed the Standard Glass & Paint Company, the city’s leading wholesale/retail supplier of a broad range of building and remodeling materials and supplies. The business was the leader in its sector, successfully growing to become a significant regional wholesale provider of its products across the state. This building in particular was the third such to mark the transition of west 10th street from residential to commercial purposes during the years 1910-1921. Contact: 10th Street Lofts, L.L.L.P., 214/763-8272.

Langworthy Historic District
Langworthy, West Third, Melrose Terrace, between Hill and West 5th, Alpine and Walnut between Solon and West Fifth, Dubuque

The Langworthy Historic District is architecturally significant because it comprises the best-preserved and most cohesive grouping of late 19th century and 20th century Revival styles in Dubuque, particularly the Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Prairie and Mission styles. The district is also directly associated with Edward, Solon and Lucius Longworthy, key early Dubuque founders. The family was responsible for the platting and development of the district. No other comparable historic district has been identified within Dubuque that can be attributed largely to a single family. Contact: The Honorable Terry Duggan, Mayor, 50 W. 13th Street, Dubuque, IA 52001-4864.

West 11th Street Historic District
Bounded by Grove Terrace, Loras Blvd., Wilbur and Walnut streets, Dubuque

Due to its prominent bluff top vista and the clustering of many of the best residential designs of the city along that bluff front, the district is Dubuque’s “best of show” award winner for late Victorian architecture. The district presents the best intact and cohesive collection of large and broadly sited late Victorian high style brick and frame residential designs clustered principally along Grove Terrace, Highland Place, and West 11th Street. Contact: The Honorable Terry Duggan, Mayor, 50 W. 13th Street, Dubuque, IA 52001-4864.

Epworth School
310 West Main Street, Epworth

The Epworth School began classes in January 1918 and is associated with the development of the first public high school educational facility in Epworth. The school satisfied the educational needs of the town for more than 80 years. The Epworth School, unlike many school buildings that were built in the early 1900s, was in continual use as a school until the spring of 2003. It has withstood the test of time, the test of the weather elements, and the test of children. Contact: City of Epworth, 563/876-3320.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Historic District
502, 518, 520 South Second Street, 214 Herder Street, Guttenberg

Architecturally, the four principal parish buildings in this historic district represent the best-preserved examples of German-influenced ecclesiastical architecture in Guttenberg. The district is historically significant because it represents the efforts of Guttenberg’s German-American Catholic minority to establish both church and parochial school facilities. Contact: St. Mary Catholic Parish: Attn. Rev. Marvin Bries, 563/252-1247.

Jefferson Street Historic District
Portions of 100-400 Blocks of East Jefferson Street, Iowa City

This District is associated with an important era of growth in one of Iowa City’s north side neighborhoods at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. During this time, Jefferson Street was transformed from a neighborhood of single family dwellings and churches to a neighborhood of larger, more substantial residences, churches, and State University of Iowa education and hospital buildings. Prominent Iowa City residents continued to make the District their home throughout its development, choosing to build, enlarge, move, and rebuild homes along a street favored for its proximity to the city’s churches, downtown businesses, and the UI campus. Contact: Bob Miklo, 319/356-5230.

Melrose Historic District
Portions of Melrose Avenue, Melrose Court, Melrose Circle, Brookland Park Drive, Brookland Place and Myrtle Avenue, Iowa City

The Melrose Historic District draws attention to the growth of Iowa City’s West Side both prior to 1900 when the houses along Snook’s Grove Road (Melrose Avenue) comprised a sparsely settled country neighborhood and to the period following World War I, and extending through World War II when the neighborhood transitioned to an early automobile suburb. Contact: Jean Walker, President, Melrose Neighborhood Association, Inc., 335 Lucon Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242.

Keokuk YWCA
425 Blondeau Street, Keokuk

This building was designed and constructed specifically to house the activities of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). For approximately half a century, the building was the home of the Keokuk YWCA. Along with the former YMCA building, which sat directly across the street until it was demolished in 1975, the YWCA building dominated a portion of downtown Keokuk and, with the best facilities for recreational and cultural events, formed the hub of social activity in the community. It is significant locally as the home of a community-supported organization chartered to build character and meet the needs of the women and girls of all ages and backgrounds, and is also one of the best representative examples of transitional architecture prominent during the early part of the 20th century. Contact: Kent Barrett, 319/601-9104.

Vander Wilt Farmstead Historic District
1345 Highway 163, Leighton

This property calls attention to the Country Life Movement in the Midwest during the early 20th century, a time when progressive reformers sought to improve rural life by extending the conveniences of industrialization and urbanization from the city to the countryside. Built in 1920, the Vander Wilt farmhouse earned the local moniker, “the house of firsts” because it featured electricity and other modern conveniences. It became a model for other farm families in the vicinity to emulate. Contact: Iola Vander Wilt Revocable Trust, 641/626-3092.

Amaziah & Cornelia (Wait) Cannon House
1581 N. Eisenhower Avenue, Mason City

Significant as one of only three stone houses built between 1860 and 1875, this house, constructed in 1866, is an excellent and rare example of early stone construction applied to residential architecture. The Cannon House, while currently in a state of deterioration, retains a very high level of historic integrity. Contact: Harlan Stille, 641/424-2013.

B’nai Jacob Synagogue
529 E. Main, Ottumwa

Erected in 1915, the B’nai Jacob Synagogue illustrates the importance of the Jewish community on Ottumwa’s business and social history, and because it was composed of an ethnically cohesive group of people. It is significant as the only synagogue in Ottumwa’s history, and as an example of a design executed by local master architect George M. Kerns. Contact: B’nai Jacob Synagogue
c/o Bessie Ullman, Treasurer, 641/682-6906.

Big Creek Schoolhouse
112 3rd Street, Polk City

Big Creek Schoolhouse stands as the most tangible expression of Polk City’s aspirations to become a major metropolis in central during the mid-19th century. Although the railroads bypassed the community, as the largest building in the community, the Big Creek Schoolhouse, built in 1863, became the center for public education, social events, entertainment and worship. In 1894, the building became Polk City’s town hall, and the construction of a two-story rear addition in 1915, including an auditorium stage, redoubled in the building’s utility as a community center. Therefore, the Big Creek Schoolhouse evolved as a meeting place for village life instead of a magnet for settlement, and in so doing became a potent symbol of the community’s common heritage and enterprise. Contact: City of Polk City, 515/984-6233.

Great Northern Railway Steam Locomotive No. 1355
3400 Sioux River Road, Sioux City

This rare surviving example of the “Pacific-style” locomotive has a long association with rail travel, and the development and promotion of Glacier National Park. The steam locomotive is “mechanically significant” because it represents a line of smaller class steam locomotives to be rebuilt to a larger class of steam locomotives. This locomotive was built in 1909. Contact: Siouxland Historical Railroad Association, 712/276-6432.

Mylius-Eaton House
2900 Jackson Street, Sioux City

This Queen Anne Revival house, constructed in 1894, was planned by architect William D. McLaughlin and built by Charles Mylius, an Englishman who had been born in Italy. Houses of this style were not common anywhere, and this one is believed to be the only one of its type in Sioux City, and possibly the state. Contact: Dr. Paul and Penny Fee, 2902 Nebraska Street, Sioux City, IA 51104.

Sioux City Masonic Temple
820 Nebraska Street, Sioux City

The Sioux City Masonic Temple stands today as an excellent, unaltered example of the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural design, popular from 1915 to approximately 1940. Unique features of this style include ornate carvings which highlight arches, columns, window surrounds and cornices all evident on the Sioux City Masonic Temple. One of the most common symbols used throughout the building includes the builder’s square and compass. According to Masonic literature, the square symbolizes virtue and the compass symbolizes the importance of keeping passions within bounds. Contact: Sioux City Masonic Building Company, 822 Nebraska Street, Sioux City, IA 51101.

Henyon-Kasper-Duffy Barn
2520 Highway 1 NE, Solon Vicinity

This barn is locally significant because, according to Richard Carlson, “[It] illustrates the adaptation of traditional timber farm design to the engineering requirements of taller barns, because it is one of the few intact pre-1880 barns, and because it retains a high degree of period integrity from its period of construction.” The condition of the barn is admirable considering its daily use in the operation of the livestock farm since its construction in 1874 on the original site. Contact: Charles and Joyce Duffy, 319/351-8854.

Grand Avenue Historic Commercial District
301-605 Grand Avenue; 12-18, 21 W. 5th, 10, 13, 15-19 W. 4th Street, Spencer, Clay County
B’nai Jacob Synagogue, 529 E. Main, Spencer

The Grand Avenue Historic District illustrates the development of the business district into the commercial center of Clay County and demonstrates the importance of community planning in the development and rebuilding of the central business district following a major fire in 1931. It represents the creation of a new “cosmopolitan” commercial area and was directly responsible for the passage of a law banning the sale of fireworks in the state of Iowa in 1937. Contact: Kirby Schmidt, Planning Director, City Hall, 418 2nd Avenue North, Spencer, IA 51301.

Steamboat Rock Consolidated Schools Building
306 W. Market Street, Steamboat Rock

The Steamboat Rock Consolidated Schools building was constructed because of the need for more modern classroom and education space as a result of continued growth in student population resulting from continued school consolidation between 1928 and 1956. This school represents one of the few successful rural school consolidations in the mid- to late-1920s, when the farm crisis slowed the consolidation movement. Contact: City of Steamboat Rock, 641/868-2240.

Bank of Sumner
118 W. First Street, Sumner

The Bank of Sumner is significant for its contribution to the community’s sense of self and its long role as the anchor to Sumner’s commercial district; its association with the business activities and life of Stephen F. Cass, an early merchant and commercial settler to Bremer County who was important to the founding and success of the community; and for its refined commercial Queen Anne architectural style. Contact: Pamela and Steven Rogers, 563/578-3238.

Sumner High School
300 West 4th Street, Sumner

From 1901 to 1953, Sumner High School served as this north central Iowa town’s only public school building. The architects who designed the building were significant in their fields. John Ralston was called “the dean of architecture” in northeast Iowa. Mortimer B. Cleveland, architect of the gym, designed many of Waterloo’s buildings, including East High School, the YMCA building, River Plaza and many homes in northeast Iowa. Contact: Memories are Forever, Inc., 563/578-5309.

Emerson School
314 Randolph Street, Waterloo

Built in 1906, with an addition in 1916, Emerson School stands today as one of the symbols of Waterloo’s rapid growth and its most significant period of development, the era between 1890 and 1920. Emerson School is architecturally significant as one of the extant school designs of John G. Ralston, a noted Waterloo architect whose commissions of commercial and public buildings helped define Waterloo’s architectural landscape. Contact: John Foley, 402/963-9099.

Roosevelt Elementary School
200 East Arlington Street, Waterloo

Intended to serve the working-class Gates Park neighborhood in east Waterloo, Roosevelt Elementary school has functioned as a locally important educational facility for more than 80 years. Its role as a community resource has been enhanced by the fact that its library served not only the school, but also the surrounding neighborhood. It illustrates the unique two-district administration of Waterloo’s schools and represents an important capital investment made by the district during the inter-war period – a carefully considered and artfully executed addition to the east side’s network of public schools. Contact: J&T Development, 913/909-3490.

Whittier School
1500 Third Street West, Waterloo

Whittier School is significant in the educational history of the Waterloo Independent School District because its construction marked the beginning of a 16-year period of school construction designed to provide a modern educational system for West Waterloo while trying to keep abreast of the population explosion in West Waterloo. It stands today as one of the symbols of Waterloo’s rapid growth and most significant period of development that resulted in a population increase from 6,674 to 36,230 between 1890 and 1920. Contact: John Foley, 402/963-9099.

West Grove United Methodist Church
21944 Echo Avenue, West Grove Vicinity

West Grove United Methodist Church is significant as the best surviving example of a “crossroads community” church in Davis County. It served as a magnet to the neighboring countryside. Churches played a vital role in Crossroads Communities. In addition to being a place for Sunday morning worship, they provided other worship and social opportunities. Contact: West Grove United Methodist Church, 641/929-3923.

Prairie Center Methodist Episcopal Church and Pleasant Hill Cemetery
Beaumont Ave. & 200th Street, Yale Vicinity

The story of the Prairie Center Church is part of the history of the Protestant and Methodist church establishment in the early stages of Dallas County settlement. As a survivor of a once-prominent cultural phenomenon, the church building and surrounding setting epitomize the history of community building and vernacular architectural representations created by Iowa’s rural inhabitants. Moreover, this building was a key part of a once cohesive intellectual and social community and serves as a reminder of a richly textured social history. Contact: Prairie Center Methodist Episcopal Church and Pleasant Hill Cemetery, c/o Elizabeth Lundberg, 515/755-2268.


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