The pattern of Clinton’s development resulted in several areas having a concentration of buildings of architectural significance.  Following is a brief description of these areas: 

            SULLIVANSQUE: The most significant in terms of architectural merit are several commercial buildings along South 2nd Street in the downtown.  Of outstanding importance is Louis Sullivan’s Van Allen Building (1) which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In addition, there are several other buildings (42, 45, and 81) nearby with some Sullivanesque ornamentation and related design qualities.  These buildings are of considerable lesser stature but are nonetheless important.  In most cases, these are second-generation structures within the central business district.           

            LYONS TOWN: A major concentration of interest is within the original town of Lyons.  Several blocks of Main Avenue have commercial buildings that are relatively intact and range from fair to good as examples of period commercial architecture.  Some of the cross streets to Main Avenue are also of interest.  Two blocks of Garfield Street, south of Main, are especially significant because of the older houses, most of which still have historic integrity.  These areas of Lyons are the more important groupings within the city of Clinton, although some individual buildings scattered elsewhere may be of more interest.  The early vitality of Lyons and the rapid shift of economic and social focus to the original town of Clinton is probably the major reason that these areas of Lyons remain “preserved”. 

            PUBLIC/SEMI-PUBLIC BUILDINGS: Building of individual significance are generally public institutional buildings, such as churches and schools.  Here again, the oldest of these, and perhaps the most significant, are found in Lyons.  Among these are: Grace Episcopal Church, built in 1856 (102); St. Irenaeus Church, built in 1864 (127); Lyons Female College, built in 1858 (107); and Lyons Presbyterian church, built in 1858 (135—demolished on August 17, 1979). 

            5TH AVENUE SOUTH: The avenue was “The Boulevard” for mansions and homes of Clinton’s prosperous families in the nineteenth century.  The image of high quality, both in shopping and living, shifted from the river to 5th Avenue South, which extended from the river toward the green bluff on the west.  The wide street right-of-way and early improvements of gas lighting and brick pavement were contributing factors in stimulating prestigious housing.  Today, many of the mansions which were located near downtown have been torn down and other converted to alternate uses, such as multi-family housing.  The street has changed but enough remains to get a glimpse of some of the housing from the lumber baron era. 

            HIGH GROUND WEST OF SOUTH BLUFF BOULEVARD: At the turn-of-the-century, many of the most prominent and richest families in Clinton built estates scattered on the bluff along Bluff Boulevard.  Highly eclectic in architectural style, these buildings exhibit the architectural  images fashionable with the “eastern rich” of the period.  The mansions generally have survived, but with interior conversions.  Most of the estate grounds, however, have redeveloped piecemeal or have been converted to other uses.

SOURCE: Department of Community Development, City of Clinton, Clinton, Iowa, An Architectural Heritage (1980)








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I would be more than happy to share any centennial memories, stories or photos you may have in your collection--just drop me a line.  Thanks so much to Jan and the Clinton Co. Historical Society for sharing this with us.





Clinton County History Books

Many books have been written that include information about Clinton County; indeed, they are still being published today.  Below are some that we have info from online: