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Historic Iowa Postcards

Grinnell College Libraries' Historic Iowa Postcard Collection. A collection of postcards from 1900 through the middle of the 20th century, covering all parts of Iowa.

Looking north at the 5th Avenue bridge. 1905 postmark.

Looking northeast. "The area of the old stone church that followed the wooden structure on the left. The wooden school on right stood before the 3 story brick & block hi[gh]-sch[ool] now gone"--t.p. verso

Looking at the Des Moines River Valley. 1901 postmark. Number 11488.

Looking northwest at a one story brick building on the corner holding the Chelsea State Bank and at the other end of the block is the Palace Restaurant. A bridge over Otter Creek can be seen in the background. Chelsea State Bank was formed in 1934 from two banks, Kempf Commercial and Savings Bank and Farmers and Merchants Bank of Chelsea and Paul G. Schaible, Sr. was named Bank President. 1903 postmark.

Looking down a dirt Main Street. 1903 postmark.

Four story brick and stone main campus building. Wartburg College was moved several times to accommodate Lutheran immigration and resided in Clinton, Iowa from 1894-1935. Since 1935, Wartburg College is permanently located in Waverly, Iowa. 1903 postmark.

The Pottawattamie County Courthouse on South Pearl Street was a stone Beaux Arts-style building built in 1888. It was later declared unsafe and was replaced with a Modernist structure in 1977. 1904 postmark. Number 5454.

The Clinton County Courthouse was constructed from 1892-1897 by architects Stanley Mansfield and Josiah Rice. Listed in the National Register of Historical Places. 1904 postmark.

Two story wooden prairie School, Tudor Revival architecture. Railroad carts and barrels near depot. Listed in the National Register of Historical Places and used as the Heritage Center. 1904 postmark. Number 8.

Looking at the front entrance to a 3 story brick building. 1905 postmark. Number 19.

Looking east at shoreline with canoers and boathouse. Arbor Lake, named for Arbor Day, when hundreds of trees were planted there, was created in 1902 as a storage reservoir to provide soft water for manufacturing firms. Number 1222.

Single story wooden depot with sign for Center Jct. A railroad ticket clerk is standing at the corner of the building. Center Junction was once an incorporated city starting in 1871. But, following a special election that served as a referendum on the plan, the city council voted in 2015 to sell of its assets, disband, and turn administration over to the county. When the council took the action, then-Mayor Sandy Ricklefs cited the towns ailing finances as the primary reason for disbanding.

The St. Malachy's Church was built in 1885. In 1905 the Church of the Immaculate Conception was "cut out" of St. Malachy's. Located at 107 West Howard Street, Creston, Union County, Iowa. 1905 postmark.

Fifteen firemen and one Dalmatian in front of and on the fire equipment, pulled by two horses with the Appanoose County Court House in the background.

Sponsored by the Northwest German Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the German-English College was built in 1892. The name of the college was changed to Charles City College in 1894. The Administration Building was torn down during the Depression. The college was open until 1914 when it merged with Morningside College in Sioux City.

The Creston railroad yards, built in 1871, had one of the largest roundhouses in the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy system. The old machine shop building was destroyed by a tornado in 1946, and the remainder of the roundhouse burned down in 1981. Number 3872.

Funded by Andrew Carnegie for $45,000, the Clinton Free Library was constructed in 1904. Listed in the National Register of Historical Places. 1905 postmark.

The Lucas County Home was built in 1904 and torn down in 1986. County homes or poorhouses were tax-supported residential institutions to which people were required to go if they could not support themselves.

Locomotive sitting at the Chelsea Depot with passengers milling around. Grain elevator in background. The Northwestern Railroad leased the Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad in 1869. A.A. McChesney was the first station agent when the railroad was built and James Hanify the first section boss.

From left to right: Chapin Post Office, a meat market with a sign for Edison Records and dry goods store with sign selling shoes, rugs, suits, coats, etc., "Must be sold regardless of price within 30 days. You will find some real bargains". Chapin was platted in 1858 by Josiah Bushnell Grinnell, who had previously founded Grinnell, Iowa. Josiah Bushnell Grinnell gave this new town the name Chapin, the maiden name of his wife. A post office was established in 1860 with H.H. Grinnell as the postmaster.


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