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.

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.

The house at 917 Reed was built in 1883 by Charles F. Craver, owner of Craver & Steele which manufactured a harvesting machine known as a header. Craver built this residence when his original home at 7th and Broad was destroyed by the 1882 cyclone. He lived there until 1889 when he moved with his business to Harvey, Illinois. The second owner of the house was L. G. Pierce. Pierce sold the house to the community for a site for the hospital. The house was demolished in 1917. Alternate address given for the property is 819 Reed.

Photograph of the Strand Theater at 921 Main Street built in 1916. At one time the building was owned by Mart family and in 1987 by Peter Frederick of Oskaloosa Theaters, Inc, and then to a private investment group. The Marquee and canopy were removed and the theater was for many years called the Cinema Theater. When the private investment group purchased the building, they restored the marquee and canopy and the name, Strand Theater.

Photograph of the Ames Block behind 800 4th Avenue. Three storefronts are visible, one being the Oxford Cafe. A fire destroyed the building in the summer of 1941 The Gifford & Manly Building, built in 1914, served as the Elks building. The photograph was taken sometime after the removal of the 3rd floor of the Preston Opera House on the west side of Main Street. Next to the Opera House is the building which now houses the Poweshiek Abstract Company at 833 Main Street.

Photograph of the block of buildings on the SE corner of Merchant's National Bank, south-north, on Broad Street. 1. Gifford&Manly (just north of bank). Built 1891. 2. Child Building (photographer). Built 1883-1884. 3. Stewart Block. Built 1877. 4. C.R. Morse building. Built 1891. 5. Coutts Building, built 1893. See item 1--an exclusive photo of the building. Now the Back Alley Deli & Varsity Newstand.6. Miles Bros/W.H. Barker/Clark/Coutts/Beyer building, built to house the Grange Store (3rd site of Grange Store). Second floor was the K of P (Knights of Pythias) fraternal order.

Photograph of the curve of Broad Street to 3rd Avenue, looking east, taken in 1878. Chapin House is visible in the background. The troops are Company K. The depot is the low building visible in the center.

Photograph of the destruction of the downtown district following the fire in June, 1889 which destroyed everything from Broad Street to Main Street and from the railroad tracks to 4th Ave. The city council allowed businesses to build shacks around the perimeter of Central Park. The area was dubbed "Oklahoma" and the shacks were there from June until December of 1889. This photograph was taken looking Southeast across the rubble to Broad Street and Central Park and shows the temporary huts built by merchants in the park. Included are the post office, bank, and other businesses.

Street Address: Commercial District, as seen at a time prior to 1916, Anecdotal Information: Photo taken by Billy Robinson from his monoplane. Looking SE, Broad Street is on the left, then Main-West-Spring. Notice Armory (now Pagliai's) at bottom left corner with Cornerstone Building next door to east.

Photograph of the Congregational Church on the Northeast corner of Broad St. and 4th Ave. It was built in 1889-90 by C. A Williams, an architect from Webster City, Iowa.

Photograph of a section along Broad Street Alley following the cyclone of 1882. The image is looking northeast from Main Street toward Broad Street. The debris in the foreground was a greenhouse (corner of Main Strett and 6th Avenue). In the background, at the upper right (located on Broad Street) is the E.W. Clark house with the structural remains of what was the cupola (now restored) at 1126 Broad Street. The large garage with mansard roof belongs to 1120 Main Street, the Charles H. Spencer house. Charles Spencer is standing in the rubble. The Spencer house was later moved to 6th Avenue where it housed the Christian Science Society (611 Sixth Avenue). Spencer's Greenhouse (built to be partially underground) is in foreground of photo. One of the outbuildings may be a privy (brick?). The alley between Main and Broad runs through center of the photo behind the garage and toppled house. The brick garage still stands.

Photograph of the Erastus Snow house at the NE corner of the intersection of 6th Avenue and Penrose. The Romanesque brick house was probably built in the 1860s and had a wide veranda and a gazebo in front that may have been built over a water well. Erastus Snow was a farmer, banker, politician, insurance man, county commissioner, and state assemblyman. The house is no longer standing.

Photograph of the First Methodist Church at its location on 5th and Park Street. The church had a square tower about 50-60 ft. high and arched windows. The building was sold to the local armory and moved to make room for construction of the United Methodist Church building in 1895. The new site was between West and Spring Street on 4th Avenue (616 Fourth Avenue). It was used as an armory for about a year before it was destroyed by fire in 1896,

Photograph of the Mack Building on the corner of Broad and Commercial Streets. Built in 1889 it originally housed two storefronts. Two additions to the south in 1894 formed the Mack Hotel. The building was also known as the Monroe Hotel Annex and Park Hotel. The buggy at the corner (NW) was the horse-drawn dray which traveled to and from the depot. At the reins is Mr. Mack. The horses shied one day, Mr. Mack was thrown from the dray, and killed., Owner(s) Names: Two storefronts belong to the Mack Building.

Photograph of the Preston Store located at the southwest corner of 4th Avenue and Main Street. The frame construction with wood awnings was built in 1889., Street Address: West side of Main Street, south of 4th Avenue

Photographs of the Spencer Block looking east to the Bank Block and the Eagle Block. The Spencer Block was built by H. C. Spencer in 1884. The buildings shown are from the NW corner of 4th. The Eagle Block built in 1879 by W.A. Probst and E. Holyoke. Visible are the Manly Building, built by J.C. Manly in 1892? and later occupied by Village Decorating (813 4th). East across the alley from the Manly Building was the Citizens Bank, built in 1881. L.E. Spencer was the bank's vice president. East of the Citizens Bank is the Beyer Block built in 1891-1892. East of the Beyer Block is the First National Bank Block, built in 1868 by J.B. Grinnell. Across Broad Street east from the National Bank is the spire of Congregational Church, completed in 1898. The Bank Block is also called the Grinnell Block.

Photograph of a team of horses pulling a wagon being driven by two men. The Eagle Block in visible in the background. A painted advertisement on a wall advertises organs and sewing machines.

Photograph of the Armory building at 816 5th Avenue. It was constructed of Rockface Cement Block in 1907. Owners have included: R.G. Coutts, C.W.H. Beyer, E.W. Clark (a builder, a banker, a doctor).. It has served as a car dealership, a United Grocery store owned by CLair Strand, the Armory, and Pagliai's.Pizza.

Photograph of the west side of Broad Street, between 4th and below Commercial Street, taken sometime after the fire in June,1889, probably around 1890. The photo shows all the building that happened after the fire. Note that all second storey windows are built to be uniform, even though there were numerous architects involved in the rebuilding of the commercial district.