Here's one of the historic steam engines on the move during the 20th “Pleasant Prairie Old-Fashioned Threshing Bee” held June 27-28 by the family of Nick & Annette Foster at their farm northwest of Jefferson. “This is a historic farm re-enactment,” Nick Foster, a member of the historical society's board of directors, recently explained. “We teach the way things were done. It’s one way to keep the rural culture and history alive.” There are demonstrations of threshing and plowing, an antique tractor ride, music and food over the two days. (Photo is by Roger Aegerter)
After retired journalists Chuck Offenburger and Jerry Roberts -- co-hosts of the historical society's "History Chats" at the recent Greene County Fair -- picked the brains and imaginations of these five about the future of Greene County, Offenburger said it was "the best conversation I've had in 15 years here." The five, from the left, Greene County High School senior class president Sophia Ausberger; rock musician, barbecue slinger & barista Parker Willis; Greene Bean Coffee co-owner & high-level IT systems manager for Oracle, Rich Osborne; Greene County Treasurer Katlynn Mechaelsen, and farmer Schyler Bardole. Hopefully, we'll have a story later about the key points of the panel discussion.
Nick Foster, co-owner with his wife Annette Foster of the Mason House hotel in Jefferson IA, shared stories of the historic inn for members and guests of the Greene County Iowa Historical Society at our meeting Friday, June 7, at the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson. "It's been bought and sold many times," said Foster, who purchased it a year ago from Dr. Jim & Nancy Teusch, who'd owned it 10 years. "The Teusches deserve a lot of praise. They spent a lot of money on it and they basically saved it." It its 130-plus years, the hotel initially served passengers arriving on the north-south railroad. Today it serves a lot of bicyclists arriving on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, which has been built on the old railroad route. Foster said he and Annette are always on the lookout for stories from the hotel's past. One puzzler -- old newspaper articles seem to indicate that from 1901 to 1904, the facility was apparently owned by Drake University and the Iowa Christian Convention. He said their goal is to renovate "but keep it as close to original as possible. We don't expect to make any money on it -- it's definitely a non-profit business! -- and whatever we do make we'll be putting right back into it."
At the Pleasant Hill Memorial Homecoming service on Sunday, May 26, Wallace Teagarden, 96, a 1941 graduate of Grand Junction High, a retired attorney & insurance claims adjustor who has lived for years in Ames, did the patriotic oration he's been doing since junior high school, reciting excerpts of several important American documents and then the full Gettysburg Address. Teagarden has done this at the Pleasant Hill Church services on Memorial Day weekend every year since 1960, and does it from memory. His oration this year was flawless and inspiring as ever. At the right is his cousin Jerry Evilsizer, of Fairmont, Minn., who chauffeured Teagarden for the day. More photos are in the story below here.
Featured speakers at the Pleasant Hill Memorial Homecoming service were Iowa Rep. Phil Thompson and Melissa Bosshart Frederick, both of whose families have deep ties to the church and pioneer community -- and they are classmates from the Jefferson-Scranton High School Class of 2009. Both are rising young leaders in our area. The event was organized and sponsored by the non-profit Pleasant Hill Memorial Inc. with support from the Greene County Iowa Historical Society. More photos are in the story below here.
"Gus" Gustafson is shown here as a graduating senior at old Churdan High School in the spring of 1949. He went on to earn three college degrees, became a lawyer, college professor, owner of a chain of banks and leading businessman in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, then in the 1970s bought the Tropicana casino and resort and several other properties in Las Vegas. His empire came toppling down in the 1980s, and Gustafson died at 67 years old in 1999. His amazing life and career were the subject of the Greene County Iowa Historical Society program on Friday, May 3, in his hometown of Churdan. Find details elsewhere on this page.
Grand Junction hosting two of our programs: Friday Aug. 2 on county’s movie theatres, Sunday Aug. 4 on GJ’s 150 years
GRAND JUNCTION, Iowa, July 29, 2019 — There’s a Friday-Sunday doubleheader of local history programs coming this weekend, both in Grand Junction, as that town celebrates its sesquicentennial. On Friday, Aug. 2, Mike and Dianne Piepel, of Jefferson, are presenting the “Theaters in Greene County,” with a 12 noon lunch for those who RSVP and pay, […]
History comes alive at the Greene County Fair, Friday & Saturday July 12-13
JEFFERSON, Iowa, July 9, 2019 — The Greene County Historical Society will take part in the Greene County Fair later this week with its popular “history chats” for a fifth straight year, displays of early farm life and classic ag equipment, tours and explanations of a historic one-room schoolhouse, and a free ice cream social […]
Stories of the Mason House from the Fosters when our society meets Friday June 7
Nick and Annette Foster, owners for about a year now of the Mason House hotel in Jefferson, will share fascinating stories they’ve learned about their 130-year-old guest house when the Greene County Historical Society meets on Friday, June 7, at the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson. Located at 502 E. Lincoln Way, the hotel […]
Our historical society hosts “Iowa History 101” during Bell Tower Festival, plus the art show & spelling bee
JEFFERSON, Iowa, June 1, 2019 — The Greene County Historical Society is participating in the 40th Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson June 7-9 in three ways – hosting a special traveling display on state history on E. Lincoln Way adjacent to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Gardens, hosting the Bell Tower art show at the historical […]
Another inspiring service Memorial Day weekend at Pleasant Hill Church
JEFFERSON, Iowa, May 27, 2019 — On a perfect late-spring morning Sunday, May 26, the Pleasant Hill Memorial Homecoming service & potluck dinner was held in the pioneer Greene County community of Pleasant Hill, five miles southeast of Jefferson. The highlight, just as it’s been every year since 1960, was area native Wallace Teagarden, now 96, […]
Pleasant Hill Church, with new life & spirit, is ready for May 26 Homecoming
By CHUCK OFFENBURGER The annual Pleasant Hill Memorial Homecoming service & potluck dinner will be held on Sunday, May 26, at the 138-year-old pioneer church located about five miles southeast of Jefferson. The event is presented by the Pleasant Hill Memorial Inc. committee, with support from the Greene County Iowa Historical Society. Pleasant Hill Church […]
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How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?
There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today. Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society. You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”