Newtown-Avoca Historical Society & Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum
Historical Buildings of Avoca thru the Years . . .
Harris Theater, 1943 - playing were "Fallen Sparrow" and "Petticoat Larceny." 309½ Elm Street: Harris Theater (Built in 1929--Ole Lehman, Manager); Harris Theater-Carl Ernst-Ray Brown; Harris Theater (Howard Brookings). American Legion moved there in 1969. [125 Years of Avoca History, p. 609.]
Grulke Drug Store. 223 N. Elm Street: O. A. Grulke Drugs; Velman Grulke Drugs; Paul Kyle Drugs; Chuck Petersen Drugs; Ceramic Store Water Wheel (Judy Wayland) Chatterbox Cafe (Barbara Befort); Donut Shop; Barb's Bargain Store. [125 Years of Avoca History, p. 609.]
Jorgensen Department Store lower level and Photo Studios of Brandt Brothers and Chris Vierck on upper level. Corner of Elm & High Street--Lot A: Jorgensen Department Store; Gus Diederich General Store; John Frees General Store and Grocery; Chas. & Ted Harris Grocery; Ted Harris Grocery; Willis Maa...
1906 "Souvenir of Avoca." Fred Niemann, proprietor of Fred Niemann Shoes and Clothing store, by 1906 had been identified with Avoca's business interests some fifteen years. Brands carried back then included Hart, Schaffner & Marx, Winer & Company, Drew Selby, Budd, Fiebrich Fox Hiker and Kief Brot...
1906 "Souvenir of Avoca." Barnes & Sons. Note at top of building the "1877 and Opera House Block." Barnes & Sons had a jewelers business at 211 North Elm Street following the Opera House. Later businesses included Blust Furniture & Hardware; John Kenkel Clothing; Rock Hardware (Elmer & Clarence ...
Picture - 1906 "Souvenir of Avoca." Identified as Harder & Karsten's Bowling Alley and Billiard Hall. This was in the upstairs of the old Opera House located at 211 North Elm Street. Later it was a Gymnasium with a basketball court and the Masonic Lodge gathering site.
1906 "Souvenir of Avoca." C. C. Wendt Drugs.
1906 "Souvenir of Avoca." Fred Tanke Implement and Grain Elevator was built about 1887. It was sold to August Hager in 1926. It was converted to a Cold Storage plant in the late 1930's by William Bornholdt. It was then sold to Herb Schilling in 1941, later to Arthur Hagedorn and then to Harold J...
1906 "Souvenir of Avoca." H. O. Seiffert Lumber Company which was noted at that time as the pioneer lumber company of Avoca with some twenty-nine years of successful dealings to their credit. Established in 1877 by the firm of Seiffert & Wiese, in 1889 it became incorporated as the Seiffert & Wies...
1906 "Souvenir of Avoca." Avoca Canning Company located where the Alfalfa Mill or more recently a storage building owned by Fred Miller III. It was started in 1903. The cannery had a capacity of 36,000 cans of corn per day. The peak year for the cannery was in 1906 when they employed over 100 p...
Overview of the main buildings where the Avoca Canning Company and the Avoca Alfalfa Milling Company were located. August 8, 2020. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Look back at the overview photo of the Canning and Alfalfa Milling buildings, this block building is the one that is behind the yellow tin addition on the Canning part. It was the "boiler room" with heat being piped across to the Alfalfa Milling building. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
The brick building to the west was where part of the Canning Company was located. In a couple pictures back you can see the building was a "long" building. At one time it also had a butcher shop in it. In the 1994 Avoca History book I just read the following: "At 11:30 Tuesday night, October 18,...
This building was the Avoca Alfalfa Milling Company main building with the warehouse building located behind it. Warehouse maybe erected in 1958 or 1959?? The three "garage doors" were put in the main building by CCX trucking company who used the building for a short period of time in the mid 1990...
John Butcher with the wooden cart that they used back in 1959 when he worked at the Avoca Alfalfa Milling Company. They would put five 100-pound sacks of ground alfalfa meal on the cart and haul them to the warehouse through this door pictured on the north side of the main building. Cart has HOMAS...
Some of the names carved into a board on the north door used to get to the warehouse. "Doc" PEASANT; DENNY H.; Ed B. '57; ED. H. SLAVE. Ed B. 57 would be John Butcher's brother who worked at the Alfalfa Mill 1956 thru 1959. Denny H. is probably Denny Henderson. Ed. H. is probably Ed Hayhurst. (...
This was the Avoca Alfalfa Milling Company's foreman building that was located a bit east and south of the main building. The foreman directed the trucks and took care of the dehydrator machine which sat just to the west of this building. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Avoca Brickyard. It was established in 1875, and was located in the northeast part of town covering five acres. It furnished bricks for most of the business buildings in town. In 1902 they installed new machinery that stamped the name Avoca in each brick. [125 Years of Avoca History p. 501.]
This was identified as the Avoca Brickyard in 1915. A May 30, 1902 newspaper article said that each brick that was made was imprinted with the word "Avoca." (From "Avoca Historical Book 1869-1969" p. 36)
East Pottawattamie County Fair grandstand in Avoca from the southwest corner the night before it was destroyed in a "controlled burn." Photo July 7, 2018. This structure was the first bid job that Carl Martin had for his construction company after it was established in January 1947. Construction ...
East Pottawattamie County Fair grandstand in Avoca from the northwest corner the night before it was destroyed in a "controlled burn." Photo July 7, 2018. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Photograph by Brandt Brothers of Avoca at the Avoca Fairgrounds. Identification on back of photo says "Fred True driving team." Note look of old grandstand and other buildings. (Courtesy Becky Woltmann)
Claus Grothe Hall. 317 Elm Street north corner lot. According to the "125 Years of History" there was a Dance Hall upstairs and Meeting Rooms and Card Rooms downstairs with the south room being the Ladies Room. That history says the building was demolished in 1944-45. On the front of the photo i...
The Centennial Mill Company. Originally on corner of Maple & Lyon Streets. See next photo of stationery used by The Centennial Mill Company which states that it was established in1876 and incorporated March 18, 1882. (Courtesy Becky Woltmann)
Top of stationery used by The Centennial Mill Company which was on the back of the previous photo by Brandt Brothers of Avoca. I believe the photo was used for the drawing of the Mill in the letterhead stationery. (Courtesy Becky Woltmann)
The Centennial Mill Company second building on the photograph by Brandt Brothers of Avoca. Note the train car to the lower left in the photo. (Courtesy Becky Woltmann)
Eight people put up $35,000 to start the project of building the Colonial Manor Nursing Home in April 1961. They were Dr. Charles Huntley, Frank Vierhus, Elmer Bornholdt, Dr. Norman West, Manning Walker, Otto Stoltenberg, Mrs. Phyllis Fiscus, and Maurice VanNostrand. The final cost was $185,000. ...
This is the first St. Mary's Catholic Church in Avoca. Not sure of date of photograph, but the entrance part and steps plus ramp had all been added. This church was torn down in 1956 with the last Mass being offered January 31, 1956 by Msgr. Joseph Hansen.
Copy of an old postcard showing both St. Mary's Catholic Church and the Parsonage to the south. This would have been taken prior to 1956. Added note - the postcard company L. L. Cook Co. of Milwaukee, WI was founded in 1921, so photo should be between 1921 & 1956. (Courtesy Mary Klindt)
St. Mary's Catholic rectory which replaced the old parsonage. In the October 22, 1970 "The Journal-Herald" was an invitation to an Open House at the rectory on October 25, 1970 nearing completion at that time. That means 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of its completion. Rev. LaVern Wingert was...
This piece of Avoca history was slated for a controlled burn by the Avoca Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department assisted by the Harlan Fire Department on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. This photograph taken from the west is right at 8:00 a.m. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
The Harlan Fire Department's boom truck getting in place on the north side of the Avoca Grain Elevator building. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Photograph taken from Holtz Service & Small Engines on the block north during the controlled burn. (Courtesy Nancy Holtz)
Identified as the First Presbyterian Church when Rev. DeBerg was the pastor.
Amazing old photograph of the Avoca Court House and the County Jail located to the north of it. Note the walkways are all made of boards. It is estimated that this photograph was taken about 1916. (Donated to the Museum by Wendell/Rose Wendt.)
Copy of a postcard of the Avoca Court House with just a bit of the County Jail visible on the left. To the right is the Band Stand and the Fire Station. Postcard mailed in 1907. (Courtesy Julie Miller Young)
Photograph of the Avoca Court House and the County Jail to the north taken in Avoca's Centennial year of 1969. Note the outside entrance to the upstairs jail cells on the south side of the building. Living quarters for the sheriff/deputy was on the first floor. (Courtesy Becky Woltmann)
Avoca Stock and Sale Pavilion at the Pottawattamie County Fair Grounds in Avoca. The Fair Board was organized in 1897. At the time of Avoca's Centennial this building was still being used for weekly stock auctions. (From "Avoca Historical Book 1869-1969" p. 39) From an article in the January 31,...
The Acova Ballroom at the Pottawattamie Fair Grounds taken November 8, 1951. The opening dance was to be November 10, 1951 with music by Eddie Skeets. Cars are identified as Frank Doll and Hank Koenig and the truck as John Larson. Dewayne Butcher sanded the dance floor at the ballroom, and he als...
These buildings were located on the Pottawattamie County Fair Grounds in the south part of Avoca. They were used for exhibits of vegetables, fruits, baking, grains etc at Fair time. Wendell Wendt noted they were there when he was a boy. Wendell was born in Avoca December 20, 1914 and died Februar...
This building was located on the east side of the south block of Main Street in Avoca. On the awning in the right side of the photograph it says G. Diederich's Sons. Photo Studios of Brandt Brothers and Chris Vierck should be on upper level. (Donated to the Museum by Wendell/Rose Wendt.)
This is an interior shot of the Diederich store probably around 1900. (From "Avoca Historical Book 1869-1969" p. 32)
The Pacific House was an early day hotel. It was located on Chestnut Street on the southeast corner of the block south of Elsworth Street. Joseph Harvey built and operated this hotel. This picture is from an original water color he did in 1872 which hangs on our walls at the Sweet Vale of Avoca ...
The Avoca Hotel stood where the old Avoca Water Treatment plant is now located. It was managed by C. J. Guttenfelder. Note the Avoca Depot in the right of the photograph. (From "Avoca Historical Book 1869-1969" p. 15)
In 1954, due to the generosity of Mr. Edwin Davis, the City Library moved to this building formerly known as the "brick house" located at 504 North Walnut Street. The north section was used rent free for the Library, and the south section was used as a rental apartment. (From "Avoca Historical Boo...
This school was the first frame school house in Newtown, and it was erected by Cyrus True as the contractor in 1858. It was in use until the year 1956-57 when it closed. Note the door to the storm cellar in the front left of the photograph. The school has been re-located to Edgington Park in Avoc...
Another photo of the Newtown School District 1 sometime after it had been moved to Edgington Park in Avoca in 1971.
The Farmers Cooperative Creamery with workers posing for a photograph. From left to right they include James Andersen, Lloyd Jensen, Richard Randall, Helena Claussen, Horace Peyton, Bessie Crann, Harry Schueman, A. S. Stone, Ed. Scott.
1969 Centennial photograph including the Avoca Post Office and the old Fullerton Lumberyard that was located north of it. (Courtesy Becky Woltmann)
This was the old Wendt Produce Building that is being torn down in late 2019. Here you can see the building getting down to some of the earlier look after asbestos in the old siding has been removed. Enjoy this photo as soon this old piece of Avoca History will be demolished. Photo taken November...
December 23, 2019 -- The old Wendt Produce Building seen in the previous photo on 11/25 was being demolished today 12/23. Here's how it looked early afternoon from the south. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
These grain storage quonsets owned by Darren Becker who had purchased them from The Scoular Company of Hancock are in the process of being demolished. Here they are viewed from the west and still intact on March 7, 2020. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
View from the east after about half of the quonset had been demolished. Photograph taken March 15, 2020. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Two grain bins used to sit north of the quonset. This is a view of one of the grain bins after it had been demolished. Its base is still visible. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Driving by the area on May 1, 2020 found the entire quonset torn down and hauled away. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Identified as Kubik's Korner in Avoca with Roger & Betty Kubik posing in front. (Posted on "Facebook" by Rick Blum to the Walnut Creek Historical Society page. 04/05/2020.)
The Avoca Physicians Clinic officially opened for business on January 17, 1983 following an Open House on January 16th. Dr. R. E. Donlin and Dr. R. D. Harris announced regular office hours for the clinic five mornings each week. The clinic was a joint effort between the Harlan Hospital and the Avo...
Avoca Speedee Mart changed hands March 25, 2020 when David & Roxanne Jacobsen retired. New owner is from the Omaha area, and the business will retain the same name. Photo taken June 27, 2020 when regular gas was $1.99 per gallon. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Casa Mexicana located at 133 North Elm Street in Avoca opened it doors to customers June 27, 2020. Previously known as the Old Main Street Grille. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Entrance to Casa Mexicana on the northwest corner of the old hotel building in downtown Avoca. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
The Hairloom beauty shop located at 107 North Elm Street was in the process of changing ownership at the end of August 2020. Owner Carolyn Spencer was retiring after years of beautician work in the Avoca community. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Front of The Hairloom part of the building with the entrance door to the left (which can be viewed in the previous photograph). (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Retiring Hairloom owner Carolyn Spencer inside the two-station salon. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
New owner ~ Tayler Engel with one of her first customers.
New name ~ Tillie's Salon & Boutique ~ graces the front window at 107 North Elm Street. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
After hours at Tillie's Salon & Boutique with the entire building view. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Farmall-Land USA located at 2101 North LaVista Heights Road owned and operated by Jerry and Joyce Mez was having its "Farewell Season" ending September 27, 2020. The amazing collection which included over 200 restored IH tractors plus thousands of other items will be sold at an ONLINE ONLY AUCTION ...
Metal sign in the entryway to the Farmall-Land USA Museum. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Sign announcing the "Farewell Season" for Farmall-Land USA April 4th thru September 27, 2020. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Seen in Farmall-Land USA Museum ~ this ad appeared in "The Journal-Herald" newspaper dated January 13, 1949 announcing the GRAND OPENING of the Avoca Implement Company located at 502 West High Street, now Titan Machinery Company. (Farmall-Land USA Exhibit)
This picture was also at Farmall-Land USA Museum. It is identified as at the intersection of High and Pine Streets on Highway 83 westbound. It shows the "future home of Avoca Implement." (This photo copied from 1st movies made in Avoca. -by- Raleigh Woltmann.)
March 21, 2021 progress of the new addition being built on the west side of the Titan Machinery Building. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Wings America first opened their doors in May 1998 according to a post by Paula Eichelberger on Facebook. Paula started working there in February of 1999. Her September 27, 2020 post indicated that in a few weeks they will officially have a new name "Eagles Landing." (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Photograph of the Eagles Landing entrance with the American Pie Cafe - west side of building located at 7005 North Chestnut Street. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Old Glory flying in the wind complimenting the Eagles Landing entrance. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
More changes are coming to Main Street in Avoca perhaps by the end of the 2020 year. Family Dental Center which has been at 178 South Elm Street with retiring dentist Timothy Kreifels D.D.S., P.C. will be moving to a new location with dentist Chet MeNeely D.D.S. Stay tuned for news of the change. ...
Entrance to Family Dental Center at 178 South Elm Street. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Advertisement in "The Journal-Herald" newspaper published in Avoca, Iowa on November 12, 2020 on page 3 announcing the upcoming Open House for the new location of the "Family Dental Center" with Dr. Chet Meneely, and the new business of "Kite Family Chiropractic" with Dr. Paul Kite and Dr. Brian Han...
View of the entire building at 170 North Elm Street with "Family Dental Center" and "Kite Family Chiropractic." (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
View of the main floor with the new signs in place. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
This is the photograph from the Assessor's website showing the location of the current Piittmann Seed Company building at 563 South Locust Street built in 1956. (Pottawattamie County Assessor website)
This photo shows the original Piittmann Seed Company building which was built for $20,000 by Clarence Piittmann sometime after he moved into Avoca in 1946. The original building is the one to the left and would have been located approximately where the grain bins are in the Assessor's photo. To th...
This old Piittmann Seed Company building was on the curvy road. There are several metal grain bins there now. Clarence Piittmann was the original owner of Piittmann Seed Company . His son Marvin Piittmann assumed operation after Clarence died in 1966. (Courtesy John DeSchamp)
Music loving Germans formed a club in 1894 called the Avoca Gesang Verein. They financed the building of a Pavilion in the northeast part of town that same year. There were dressing rooms and a large ballroom. It was a popular place for dances, graduation exercises, plays, private parties and co...
I'm guessing that this picture of the "Hummers Club" was probably taken inside the Gesang Verein building. Gesang Verein loosely translates to Choral Society. Numbers at the bottom of the photo might indicate it was taken 3/19/1924.
This is a photo from an early Avoca postcard showing the Avoca Water Works building near the old viaduct on Highway 59. A neat thing about this photo is that the old Avoca Depot can be made out in the far left of the photo. The old car in the photograph is a two-toned green 1949 Chevy that belonge...
The Water Works plant located at 115 West Lyon Street was sold in 2007 and has been transformed into an apartment complex. Photo taken March 6, 2021. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Old postcard of the Rock Island Depot in Avoca with train on track and water tower visible. Note the old car parked at the depot.
This postcard was identified as the CRI&P (Chicago-Rock Island-Pacific) Depot in Avoca, Iowa dated 1967. This replaced the old depot building. Note the Avoca Water Works plant in the background. You can see the addition that was built on the west side in 1963.
These beautiful pieces of furniture were donated to the Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum by Joyce Mez after being used in Jerry's office at Farmall-Land USA before it closed in 2020. They were originally from the old Avoca Depot. (See more detail on these pieces at the Avoca Museum.) (Courtesy Barbara ...
The original black leather upholstery remains on the back of the pieces; also, original bottom and springs. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Work being done on the Drive-Thru area for the Shelby County State Bank opening in February. Taken January 30, 2021. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
After remodeling the old US Bank building at 155 South Elm Street in Avoca, the Shelby County State Bank is "Now Open" for business. Clicked this photo February 17, 2021. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
March 21, 2021. Official SCSB sign on front of the bank building at 155 South Elm Street in Avoca. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
Email received March 23, 2021 announcing the April 5-9, 2021 Open House Week for the Avoca branch of the Shelby County State Bank. Employees are Adam Long, Madison Doonan, and Morgan Allen.
Postcard of the former Congregational Church in Avoca, Iowa. It was located on Highway 59 at what is now 302 North Walnut Street, home of R. Krohn.
166 & 168 South Elm Street building purchased in 2019 by George Halm has been undergoing some renovation in recent times. These photos were taken March 6, 2021. Check out the colonnades that are beginning to stand out. I believe this is the same building as the 7th photo on page 1 (1906 "Souvenir...
166 South Elm Street - closer view of one of the iron pillars. Mr. Halm is stripping 18 layers of paint off the pillars. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
166 South Elm Street - detail of the top part of the pillar. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
166 South Elm Street - window on second story. (Courtesy Barbara Butcher)
From our post card collection at the Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum comes this picture from 1918 which was titled "Signing of the Armistice." We believe the business was where Thams Insurance is located in 2021. CHANGE IN THOUGHT - Now I think it has to be across the street north, since the 1994 Avoca...
Names and street addresses associated with these businesses were taken from the book "A Community History Avoca, Iowa. 125 Years of History. 1869-1994" which was published to go along with Avoca's Quasquicentennial celebrated in July 1994. (Note that holding your mouse over a photograph will pause the photo in the slide show. Click on picture to enlarge. Click on four-arrow pointed icon to go full screen.)