Kleinschmidt Architectural History

John Kleinschmidt was a professor of French at Grinnell College with a passion for local history. This collection features many of the documents and photographs that he compiled about the history of both the Grinnell College campus and the greater Grinnell community.

Robertson, Jack
Details of the building on the NW corner of 5th Avenue and Broad St. (1001 Broad). This was the second permanent structure of the colony of Grinnell, built in the summer of 1854, for Anor Scott, store-keeper and merchant. It first stood near what is now the NW corner of the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broad Street. (There were then no streets as such: the town would not file a plat until January, 1855). Later it was moved to High Street, then to the SW corner of the intersection of Third Avenue and Elm Street where it is now part of a small house. Fragments of the handsome hand-painted wallpaper (four colors) fixed directly to the inner skin of the building--boards of the board-and-batten construction, gaps, studs, cross-pieces and all--are still within the present walls. (Courtesy of Hugh and Deborah Sheridan)

Photograph of the brick house at 1002 High Street built in the late 19th century. Owners have included William M. Holmes and John Manly. The house was demolished in 1977.

Photograph of the house at 1008 High Street built sometime before 1861. It was the family home of H.W. Williams and later was converted to student apartments. house. Abby Williams Hill (artist of note) was the daughter of H. W. Williams and was born in this house in 1861. See Abby Williams Hill, by R. Fields, ISBN 0-917048-63-6, c. 1989, page 11 where there is the picture of the house and more biographical information about her. Abby taught at the college briefly.

Photograph of the house at 1011 Broad Street, built in 1895 for J. W. Billings, a local dentist. The house was later (1921?) moved to its present location on the north side of 16th Ave, east of the railroad tracks (1533 16th Ave.) At the time of the move it was stripped of its chimney and cupola. The house was moved by horse and block and tackle on 6th to Penrose, and then north on Penrose to 16th. Other buildings to occupy the original site on Broad Street were Van Wechel car dealership/garage, an St. Mary's Education Center.

The home at 1110 Main Street (6th and Main) was built in 1892 for Henry C. Spencer. The tower and chimneys were eventually removed and roof line altered from the original.

Photograph of the house at 1124 Third Ave. built in the late 19th century. An early owner was Louise Henley, wife of the county superintendent of schools. Later owned by Janet Carl and Greg Johnson.

Photograph of the J. H. McMurray home at 1125 Broad Street, built in 1895. In 1915, McMurray made changes to the structure, including replacing the front porch and cutting off the pediments. At the NE corner, the second floor open porch was enclosed and windows added. A smoking balcony was created for Mr. McMurray with wood that would not absorb smoke. The Grinnell Historical Museum acquired the property in 1965.

Photograph of the house at 1126 Broad Street owned by E. W. Clark, a doctor. It was originally built in the 1870s but damaged in the 1882 cyclone. The cupola was later restored.

Photograph of the frame building at 1127 Park Street. It was originally constructed in 1888. Owned by H. G. Little followed by Mrs. E. D. Rand. Originally had verandas on the south, north, and east. Served at various times as a hospital, a college club, and a college administration building.

Photograph of the house at 1133 Broad Street, built in 1895 for B. J. Carney, who owned a lumber business. A carriage house was built in the back of the property.

Photographs of the house at 1206 Broad Street, built in 1884 for L. E. Spencer, a banker, attorney and realtor, to replace the earlier structure that fell into its own cellar during the cyclone of 1882. The interior photographs are from the early 1900s when the house was owned by J. P. Lyman. During the latter part of the 20th century, the house was owned by John and Barbara Kleinschmidt. More information about individual photographs is available in the Grinnell College Libraries Department of Special Collections and Archives.

Photograph of the house at 1227 Broad Street built in 1882 for William Beaton, a piano tuner. His daughter became a national known pianist and the veranda visible in the photograph was hers. The house was taken down in 1934.

The house at 1303 Park Street was built by and for David R. Warburton, owner of the Warburton, Richardson, and Phelps lumberyard, about 1900. The Grinnell Herald of Jan 1, 1901, cited it as the "handsomest house built this past season...and one of the prettiest Grinnell affords and...certainly a model of attractive interior"

Exterior shot of one side of 1315 Park Street. No longer standing.

Photograph of the aftermath of the 1882 cyclone that destroyed much of the town of Grinnell. 7th Ave. runs through the center of the photo, Broad Street is on the left.

Photograph of the damage to the business district caused by the 1889. The photo was taken from the railroad tower across Main Street. The Congregational Church is visible in the back center of the image. Main Street is on the left and Central Park on the far right. The fire started in two grain elevators next to the railroad around noon. The presumption is that a spark from the railroad ignited the very flammable contents of the elevators. The fire destroyed everything not constructed of brick. In 1891, the whole center of the block to the north burned.

Photograph of the city water system located at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Main Street. It was built in 1894 of brick. The cistern is visible in the foreground; the pump house is in the background. The standpipe was half masonry with a balcony on the top and a ladder to reach balcony alongside the pipe. That balcony was the vantage point for photography, most notably a double panoramic view of Grinnell.

Photograph of the Morrison & McIntosh glove factory located at 3rd and RR & Broad Street. Built in 1895, it was later owned by DeLong Sportswear and eventually was purchased and renovated by Grinnell College.

Photograph of the Spaulding Building in the central business district at 914-918 Main Street. Built in 1889 and owned by H.W. Spaulding. Several changes to the original building were made over the years: windows were later bricked in to install smaller double-hung windows with combination screens/storms. This building stands where a complex of Spaulding factory buildings stood, including the original carriage factory. The frame buildings were lost in the 1891 fire. When Craver, Steele and Austin left Grinnell to go to Harvey, Illinois, Spaulding moved his operation to Craver Building, then built a commercial building on this site.

Photograph of 917 Broad Street, which was the Coutts Block, built in 1893. It has housed many businesses including the Varsity Newsstand, Back Alley Deli, Saint's Rest coffee shop, and Bikes to You.