Friday, July 15, 2016

Appanoose County Courthouse

St. Louis Trip, Day 8, Friday, July 31, 2015
Court in Centerville, Iowa (the Appanoose County seat) was first held in a building that was also used as a blacksmith's shop and storeroom.  In 1848 the first real courthouse (measuring 24 by 20 feet) was built for $119.  
When this proved too small, court was held at the local churches until a two-story brick building was constructed for $23,000.  

To celebrate one 4th of July, fireworks were lit up in the cupola and thrown into the air for the city's fireworks display.  One rocket apparently landed in the box with the other fireworks and exploded.  The resulting fire destroyed most of the second floor and the cupola, and that courthouse was condemned in 1891.  

The present Appanoose County courthouse was built in 1903.
In front of the courthouse is one of the Freedom Rocks painted by Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II to commemorate veterans.  Sorensen is working on painting a Freedom Rock in each Iowa county.  He completes 10-12 every year, and hopes to have all 99 counties completed by 2023.  You can learn more about his project at www.thefreedomrock.com.

Although it is not unusual to see Civil War era artillery near county courthouses, I was surprised to see cannonballs beside--and in--this 1863 canon.
 It was interesting to see the law volumes at the back of the courtroom.  In most other courthouses I have visited, they are kept in a separate room or hallway.

The rails had a neat design (close-up below), and the steps were noticeably worn from over a century of use. 
Like Albia, Centerville has many old buildings downtown, well maintained and in use.  With 5,528 inhabitants, the streets are far from empty.  

Centerville was originally named Chaldea when it was founded in 1846.  The name was changed to Senterville in honor of a Tennessee politician named William Tandy Senter.  When the town was incorporated in 1855, an overzealous proofreader corrected the spelling...and the town has been known as Centerville every since. 

Appanoose County is named for the Meskwaki Chief Appanoose.  Appanoose was the son of Chief Taimah, after whom Tama County, Iowa is named.

Centerville was once a booming coal-mining town.  Its first mine was opened in 1868, and by 1938, Appanoose County was producing about 600,000 tons annually.  

At present, the county's population is declining.  After a Rubbermaid plant in Centerville closed in 2006, Appanoose County struggled with high unemployment rates.  However, when I visited, Centerville seemed like a very nice, busy community.

27 comments:

  1. You can't even get a shed for under 200 these days

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  2. Hi Bethany,
    Greatly enjoyed visiting you this evening and seeing your wonderful photos of such a charming town, as well as hearing some of its history. Wow, it is hard to imagine a courthouse being so small, only 20x24 feet, even for the 1800's! The artistic, historical, architectural, and overall design facets of historic towns are so enthralling to walk around and take in, as it appears is true in Appanoose County. The Freedom Rock is beautiful. I, too, find that interesting for the law volumes to be at the back of the courtroom.

    I hope if I ever visit Iowa, I can do a tour of Centerville for its lovely charm and storied history, especially in the courthouse :)

    Blessings!
    Jazzmin

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    1. Centerville is an interesting town, but I hope if you do visit Iowa, you send me an email and check out Northeastern Iowa (where I live) as well. It would be great to meet you. Thanks for commenting. Have a great weekend!

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  3. Hi, Bethany! Congratulations!!! You are one of the five winners of Joshua Becker's new book!! Please contact me privately to give me your mailing address, and we will get your book in the mail to you right away, Lord willing! So happy for you!!

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl! I have been enjoying the book!

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  4. Hi Bethany, Thanks for this report on your visit to Centerville. There are many things I like about this post but, to keep my comment at a fairly reasonable length, I'm just going to mention two. First, thanks for including the Freedom Rock in your photos, but then even more credit for going the extra step to give us a link to the project. This was the first I've heard about Sorensen's project ... what an excellent way to honor Veterans! On his site it is quite impressive to see the Annual Murals he created from 1999 to 2015. Second, I've got to get to work creating some composite images like you have used here ... four photos in one frame. You know, it seems to me that many blog readers like to check out the pictures and then move on pretty quickly. When there are a lot of pictures to share this is an excellent way to present them. As always, I enjoyed this post and thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Bethany, Please excuse another comment ... this one is just for keeping in touch. Well, today (July 18th) is the first day of the Republican Convention. I'll be watching every evening this week and wonder if you will as well? I would love to see your thoughts on the Convention. I hope you were able to see Lesley Stahl's interview with Trump and Pence last night on 60 minutes. If not, you can watch it online at this link http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-trump-pence-republican-ticket/ When I was looking up that link I happened to notice on Google News a comment about the interview that gave me a smile ... Chris Rock (Comedian) tweeted ... "Nothing says "humble" & "in-touch" like old, white men in suits sitting on elaborate gold thrones in 2016 #60Minutes" I did think the chairs were a bit much! :-)

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    2. Hi John,
      Since my sister and grandmother are artists, I get to see them at work...and creating beautiful artwork is a lot of work! It is something how much artwork Sorensen has done for his Freedom Rock project!

      I pretty much had to switch to creating composite images, as otherwise my posts would be very long! I take so many pictures! Glad you like the format.

      Watching what I did see of the Republican and Democratic Conventions was...an experience! The first night of the Republican convention I listened to various speakers. There seemed to be two common threads (let me quote almost verbatim): "Trump is great. Trump is good. Trump loves us all." And: "Trump good. Clinton bad." Some of the speakers followed these lines ad nauseam. Trump may not be as bad as Clinton; but he is *far* from being some sort of saint or angel. How blind are we thought to be to have to listen to people basically worship him?

      Oh, and how on earth did Melania Trump end up quoting Michelle Obama?! That was crazy to read in the news the morning after hearing her speech. It's almost unbelievable that that could slip by without any proofreaders noticing!

      After the introduction to the convention, Ted Cruz' speech was like a breath of fresh air! He did repeat some of the same boring campaign lines we had heard a thousand times before, "My father came to the United States from Cuba with $100 sewed into his underwear..." which was just about as bad as if Marco Rubio had gotten on stage at the Republican convention and told us (again) that his father was a bartender and his mother a maid. But Cruz did give a good intellectual speech about liberty and what matters most.

      Then it was Trump's turn. He's going to build a wall. It's going to be huge. We're going to win. And he loves us all. He did manage to put in some good words about making good deals, but then the Art of the Deal is his forte; so it makes sense that he would know something about that!

      The DNC was crazy. After hearing what a big deal it was that Cruz didn't endorse Trump at the convention, we saw the Democratic party itself deeply divided. Did you see all those Bernie signs people were holding at the convention? Sanders may have endorsed Hillary, but his followers certainly weren't enthusiastic about her!

      What a disgrace it was for the Democratic Party to be exposed for fighting against Sanders during the primaries so that Clinton would be the nominee. Maybe Sanders is right that the system is rigged!

      Anyway, I'm less than enthusiastic about our choices, but I'm enjoying watching the show. Thanks for the link to the interview, and thanks as always for your interesting comments!

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  5. Thanks for the tour Bethany! That Freedom Rock project looks especially interesting.

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    1. We have a Freedom Rock in Ackley, one of the towns near my home. It's neat to spot them in various places throughout Iowa.

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  6. I love old buildings and you seem to visit a lot of beautiful ones!
    I've heard about the Freedom Rock project and I liked seeing this one.

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  7. Thanks for another interesting post, Bethany. I find it encouraging to view beautiful older buildings that are preserved for useful service, and I enjoyed learning about the freedom rock project and the gratitude it promotes us to have for those who help us to enjoy freedom.

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    1. It is awesome to see older buildings well-maintained and put to good use!

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  8. Imagine jogging up and down those stairs for an afternoon. Love the photos. That flower one is so pretty.

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  9. You visit some really beautiful, old buildings!

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    1. It's amazing how much beauty there is to be found in Iowa!

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  10. Looks like such a really nice area to explore. Old buildings in small, offbeat communities are always fun to visit.

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  11. The railings are so uniquely intricate. I always love visiting your blog- I always learn something new. :)
    Many blessings to you!

    Ashley

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    1. I did think the railings were pretty neat! Blessings to you as well, Ashley! Thanks for visiting!

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  12. Hi Bethany
    A very interesting post and, as usual, great pictures.
    Greetings.
    Lucja

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  13. It´s a very nice building. The gardens on the front are beautiful green. It is interesting to learn about the etymology of the names. I think that in the USA many names have an origin drawn of the native population.

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    1. It depends on where you are at, but many places are named after the Native Americans.

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