On May 24, 25 and 26 of 2009, we held our Grand Opening of Museum Hall along with an open house for all buildings. Attendance was great and many people came from different parts of the state. Following is the information that was provide to those in attendance.
Museum Hall dates back to 1924 and was constructed as the Marble Rock City Hall to provide a City Council room, Fire Station and community gathering place. The building is of colonial-type architecture with French windows and doors, and was constructed on the site of the old firehouse. M. B. Cleveland, a prominent Waterloo architect, designed the building. Mr. Cleveland was also responsible for designing many schools, homes and commercial structures in the area including the Clubhouse at the Wildwood Golf Course in Charles City.
Museum Hall - 2008 Grand Opening
Since purchasing the Old Town Hall from the city of Marble Rock in 2006, the Marble Rock Historical Society has done much to refurbish and bring this classic old structure back to its original beauty. The work included new chimneys, new roof, new cupola, new windows, all new plaster, painting inside and outside, new eaves troughs, all new electrical wiring, two new furnaces with air conditioning, remodeled rest room, sanded and refinished floor, and installation of folding doors which were removed years ago. Yet there is more to do! The kitchen, jail and fire department garage still need to be restored.
So far Museum Hall represents an investment of approximately $100,000. This would not have been possible without the generous gifts from the estates of Iva Boom and H. Dean Staudt, and the Kenneth and Rosalie Bucklen Trust.
With the addition of this additional space, the contents of our other three buildings have been rearranged to provide more space for viewing and many historical items have been taken from storage for display. Following summarizes the contents of each building. There are many more items than listed.
Museum Hall – A large portion of the old Town Hall is devoted to research materials. There are Marble Rock newspapers from 1875 to 1931, Marble Rock High School graduating class photographs (1888-1958), family photos, family histories, Marble Rock post cards, old photos of town, river and area, old funeral folders, entire file of the current Marble Rock Journal, club and organization information, old Floyd County Histories, Iowa Histories, Civil War books, Country and Marble Rock School memorabilia and old scrapbooks. Items from the Weldon Sult Barber Shop and Bopp Drug Store are displayed. Some of his items date back to the Stroud Brothers Barber Shop prior to WW1. An area has been dedicated to rural one-room schools and the Marble Rock grade school. The newest exhibit is a vintage kitchen. Many items from the 1940's and 50's are on display. This is located in the former Town Hall Kitchen.
Bank Building Museum – As the name on the front implies, this facility was an early bank. This was our main museum and the exhibits have been completely changed. The old bank vault is now a chapel to display items related to Marble Rock Churches including a pulpit, pews and organ. The cabinets from the old Colwell School contain military, Lions, 4H and fraternal organization items. There is a very large exhibit of Boy Scout Troop 28 memorabilia. Displays cover Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korea and Viet Nam wars along with many uniforms. There is a men’s show case with unique pipes, pocket knives, razors and other manly items. A large display case contains many wedding dresses, sports uniforms, a raccoon skin coat and numerous dresses. Dozens of picture calendars given out by Marble Rock merchants are displayed in a hinged hanging rack. Old sewing machines, button shoes, valentines and quilts add to the interest.
Bank Building & Rural Living Museums
Rural Living Museum –. Not everything shown in this building relates to rural living and farming. The building contains the old fireman’s hose cart, typewriters, radios, television, examination chair used by five Marble Rock Doctors, and railroad items. Exhibited are cream separators, butter fat testing equipment, butter churns, early washing machines, old vacuum cleaners, egg crates, cider press, cross cut saws, hay forks, sheep treadmill, horsepower device, various walking plows and cultivators, wind generator and many hand tools. Initially Marble Rock newspapers were printed in this building. Light from the skylight helped the printer see to set the type
Pioneer Kitchen –The “heart” of the kitchen was the cook stove. Not only did the stove provide the pioneer woman a means for food preparation and hot water, often it was the main source of heat. There are three cook stoves on display, one of which is a salesman’s sample. Other items include a crank telephone, various non-electric irons, aprons, fruit jars, spice and coffee cans, old church dishes, canning and kitchen utensils, cob basket and ironing machine. At one time this building was the telephone office.
Pioneer Kitchen Museum
IMPORTANT HISTORICAL SOCIETY DATES
1972 – Marble Rock Historical Society established
1974 – Purchase 1885 Bank Building
1979 – Purchased Pioneer Kitchen Building
1984 – Purchased East Building
1986 – A 20 x 40’ extension added to East Building
2006 – Old Town Hall purchased from the City