1873 - 1973

A glimpse into the past...

Keota Concert Band

The next director was Mr. Henry Hartman of Chicago. He was to take the band to the Iowa State Fair at Des Moines where we were engaged to play but because of illness in the Hartman family he was unable to go. Mr. Ed Hulse of Washington who had directed the men's band in Keota came to our rescue and took us up to the Fair for which we were very thankful.

At the beginning, the band paid its own way by giving concerts and the Keota community and merchants were very kind by hiring the girls to play the Saturday night concerts before they could play many tunes.

For two seasons the band gave weekly concerts at West Chester and Wellman. During the life of the band concerts were played at Washington , South English, Webster, Harper, Sigourney, Ottumwa, Davenport, Burlington, Centerville, Marengo, Cedar Rapids; also at Mystic where the band played two seasons at the Mystic Fair.

The band finally disbanded in 1918 after playing a two day engagement at the Iowa State Fair. It disbanded because several of the girls were going to college and some married and moved away.

The members of the original band were: Lavina Dowis, Hazel Williams, Sarah McNurlen, Bess Smock, Ruth Lindauer, Mary DeYoe, Nellie Fish, Lois Stewart, Hazel Hagist, Ella Brown, Mrs. Clarke Nelson, Mrs. Glass, May Dorrance, Ruby Hulse, Blanche Torrey, Pearl Warrington, Pearl McNurhel, Mrs. Albert Shauenberg, Clara Stewart, Lura Ludwig, Mrs. Lola Gilbert and Max Glass, director.
By Mrs. Ruby Hulse Helscher (Will)
One of the original members of the band

The Keota Ladies Band was organized in August of 1905 with Mr. O. W. Glass as their first director. The ladies got their instruments and began practice right away. By July 1, 1909, they had received their uniforms — some 25 of them. They consisted of jacket and skirt of khaki goods and cost about $7.00 each. "The girls look swell."

May 2, 1912. Miss Emma Keeley sent Governor Burke of North Dakota a picture of the Ladies Band and received a lengthy letter in reply. Gov. Burke went to school in a little log school house about a half mile from Harper and knew the Keeleys well. He said that the next time he visits his home in Sigourney, he'll come to Keota to see old friends and maybe this Keota Band would turn out, who knows?

Note: Gov. John Burke was born and reared in Keokuk County and was appointed Treasurer of the United States by President Wilson and filled that position from 1913 to 1921. The people of North Dakota urged his candidacy for the office of the President of the United States at the Baltimore Convention but he requested that his name be withdrawn.

May 16, 1912. The Keota Ladies Band is in Burlington playing for Democratic State Convention. Special from Burlington says the Keota Ladies Band is one of the most popular and unique organizations in Iowa. The ladies dress in neat costumes with broad brimmed hats, with brims turned up.

Pulver's Drum Corp
Pulvers Drum Corps. 1918-1919. Back row left to right, Frank Sturgeon, Chalmers Sturgeon, LeRoy Richardson. Front Row left to right, Harold Teets, Harvey Banks, Roy Pulver, Clark Pulver, Amos Schreckengast.


The Keota Ladies Band was organized at Keota in 1905. The idea of the Ladies Band came to Mr. E. C. Gilbert after reading in the Sunday paper about a Ladies Band and suggested the idea to his wife, Mrs. Lola K. Gilbert, who thought it a good idea and began talk ing to her friends and with the help of the ladies who were interested the Keota Ladies Band was organized. Mr. Max Glass was in Keota and was asked to be direct or and he considered and thus the Ladies Band came into existence.

For the first five or six years the band was under the direction of Mr. Glass, then William Langenberg of Columbus Junction took over. He took us seriously and made us realize that no organization would amount to anything without work. He encouraged us by telling us that the way we picked up the knowledge of music was wonderful; that we were no scrub organization. They could and did play the most difficult music and that wasn't all because of the director either. They had lots of talent for music.

Later Mr. William Langenberg's brother, Charles Langenberg, took over the directorship.



A glimpse into the past...

July, 1916. The Ladies Band has contracted to play a
weekly series of concerts at West Chester.

September 28, 1916. An enormous crowd was in town
Saturday night to see the drill put on by the Ladies Band
and it was neatly done. Immediately after they gave a concert in Independence Park.

August 30, 1917. The Keota Ladies Band, twenty in number, played a two-day engagement at the Iowa State Fair, August 27 and 28. E. A. Hulse of Washington directed them.

Keota Ladies Band 2
Notes graphic Keota Ladies band - 1916
Keota Ladies Band, August 17, 1916. Back row left to right, Ruby Hulse (Helscher), Mae Marr, Maude Schauenberg, Genevieve Newton (White), Lila Kracaw (Walker), Maude Gammon (Teets), Ruby Simmerman (England), Blanche Torrey, Mae Dorrance (Thompson), Lola Gilbert. Front row, left to right, Marie Burke (Baker), Marjorie Clark, Mrs. B. B. Brown, Dorothy Bower, Cleo Lyle (Williams), Grace Fitzgerald (Brinkmayer), Cora Schollenbarger, Mrs. Darbyshire Wade.
Keota Ladies Band
Keota ladies Band - 1908
Keota Ladies Band about 1908. Back row Left to Right: Blanche Torey, Vina Dowis Mattison, Eva Reed, Gertrude Palm Streit, Mae Dorrance Thompson, Mrs. Davis, Mary DeYoe Smith. Second row Left to Right, Hazel Williams Mulhern, Pearl McNurlen Etter, Ruth Lindauer Marr, Sara McNurlen Dorreen, Mamie Nelson, Maude Watters Schauenberg, Mrs. Glass. Third row, Left to Right, Pearl Warrington Fry, Ruby Hulse Helscher, Bess Smock Crown, Mr. Glass, Bess Holmes Huber, Ella Brown Pettit, Laura Ludwig.
Notes graphic



A glimpse into the past...

Keota Had Many Parades And Celebrations


Bread Float

Float with Girls

The circus comes to town. Corner of Fulton and Broadway looking east. Date unknown but the Union State Bank building (Dr. Don's office) was built in 1904. The Randolph Bros. hardware store pictured on the same corner dates back to 1881.

Buggy Parade
Buggy Parade

Stage at Fall Festival

Drum Major



A glimpse into the past...



July 4th Parade
Fourth of July Parade.... Billy Mason as Uncle Sam....
New Studebaker, before 1908.


July 4th, 1911
Fourth of July


Marching down Broadway

July 4, 1903
Fourth of July Celebration — Keota Park – 1903. Clarence Dayton and Homer Dusenberry with mustache.
Broadway Parade
July 4, 1917
July 4th, 1917
Memorial Day



A glimpse into the past...


Mule Team

Decorated Buggy - 1909
Bicycle Parade
Bicycle Parade
Fall Festival 1
A Parade as seen from the air
Parade down Broadway from the air.
Mid 1930's — T. E. Peiffer, Pilot.
Fall Festival 2
Fall Festival 3
Fall Festival 1919



A glimpse into the past...


March 13, 1963

Discovery of oil in the Keota area brought an influx of "wildcat" oil representatives to the Keota area, seeking to buy mineral rights.

Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America announced last Friday it has encountered a small oil accumulation, while test-drilling near Keota, for a prospective underground natural gas storage reservoir.

Company officials said preliminary studies indicate little likelihood of an economically successful operation resulting from the discovery.

The find, involving what is believed to be the first producible oil in Iowa, was made on the farm of William F. Flynn, about one and one half miles northeast of Keota, and two miles north of the Texas-to-Chicago natural gas pipeline system operated by the company.

Initial production estimated by the company is about 10 barrels per day. Further tests on the well, officials said, are likely to show a declining production rate which will not support a profitable operation.

The oil was encountered 960 feet below the earth's surface in a limestone formation.

The Natural Gas Pipeline company has been doing considerable drilling in recent weeks, prospecting for an underground gas storage area, in which natural gas could be stored in porous rock formations far under the surface of the ground. The company moved a storage tank of about 3,000 gallons capacity to the Flynn farm and began pumping oil to determine the capacity of the well. The 10 barrel per day estimate originally made is apparently accurate. The oil being pumped is very thick in consistency, with a strong rancid odor.

The Keota oil strike is the second in Iowa, the first being at Cresco.

A second oil deposit was found on the Flynn farm by the Newton Company. The discovery was made at 1,244 feet in the same formation as that of the first well. It is believed that it will produce about 10 barrels a day as did the first well.

It has been proven by oil men throughout the country that a well producing 10 barrels a day can be a profitable venture if handled correctly. There are many such wells in production in the oil fields of Texas and Oklahoma.


Keota Development Corporation was formed at a meeting of businessmen of the town on March 2, 1959. Those in attendance elected nine men to serve as a Board of Directors. They were Lewis Powell, Keith Wells, J .R. Helscher, Darrle Grimes, Wayne Olson, Don Peden, Dudley Gretter, Don Fagen and Forrest Tucker.

Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws were read and approved. A meeting was called for Tuesday night to elect officers and get the papers filed as soon as possible.

At the meeting Tuesday evening, Lewis Powell was elected President; Keith Wells, Vice-President; and J. R. Helscher, Secretary and Treasurer. As soon as fhe Articles have been approved by the State and published, the Corporation will solicit for the selling of Stock in the Company with a par value of $50.00 per share. The amount aimed for will be $100,000. This sum will be used to develop industry in Keota and also to help in securing new homes.


July 14, 1966. A new Development Corporation is formed in Keota which will be known as the Clark Lane Development Co., Inc. Forming the new company are J. R. Helscher and Albert Stoutner, The company has purchased ground in the northeast corner of Keota and plans call for 16 lots in the new addition which will be known as the Clark Lane addition. The properties will feature all new hard surfaced roads, with curb and gutter. Each lot will be supplied with sewer, water, gas and electricity.



January 25, 1968. Mrs. Orrin Potter is the recipient of the six free buffet dinners for naming the new restaurant "The Golden Buckle Buffet." Mr. and Mrs. John Short are the owners of the new restaurant.

The new restaurant opened March 4, 1968.

The Keota Development Corporation was the big influence in getting The Golden Buckle Buffet started in Keota. The Directors of the Development Corporation said that many months of planning and discussion were in volved before they finally prevailed upon Mr. and Mrs. John Short of Des Moines to operate the business.


August 22, 1968. Parallel parking is here! The Iowa State Highway Commission crew came to town last week and painted the white parking stripes thus eliminating the angle parking that had been in effect here since the town was incorporated in 1873. Because Broadway is an extension of State Highway 77 the State Highway Commission agreed to pave the street if the town would pass an ordinance creating parallel parking. Even though many townspeople dislike the parallel parking and business owners find the lack of convenient parking distasteful the Town Council stands firm in its belief that it will make the business area safer for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Cooperation



A glimpse into the past...

by all is needed and if everyone will bear with the problems for a while the whole town should benefit greatly. With angle parking the town had approximately 130 parking spots on Broadway. Now that parallel parking is here there are only 66 spaces left in the same area.



October 17, 1968. Keota can now boast of another first in its history. We have a municipal parking lot! The new lot located just east of the Post Office building has been cleared of the trees and rubbish by Marshall Sanders and Art Krause. They have done a diligent job in spreading the new rock surfacing.

The lot, purchased by the Town Council from Harry E. White for $850.00, is 25 feet wide by 150 feet long and should accommodate at least 12 cars.

The old building which was torn down to make room for this project housed "Miz" Henderson's lawn mower repair shop. It is an old landmark and reported to be one of the oldest in Keota.



Maplewood Manor, Inc., a nursing home for elderly persons, was organized January 15, 1964, with John E. Klein, A. K. Stoutner, Gail Trier and Dr. K. L. McGuire serving as the Board of Directors. The site was purchased from Mrs. Henry Trier and was formerly known as the Arthur E. Stewart property. Open house was held December 27, 1964, when the building was completed and ready for occupancy. This 50-bed facility is fully staffed by qualified personnel and is licensed by the State of Iowa. The present Board of Directors consists of Gail Trier, John E. Klein, Jack C. McFadden and Dr. H. M. Don.


The Maplewood Manor Auxiliary was organized for the purpose of helping make the residents a part of the Keota Community life and to involve the citizens of Keota in this work. On December 9, 1969, Reverend Woodward and several interested people met to discuss what could be done. A regular schedule of religious services was drawn up; also, plans made for various entertainments, sewing help and regular visiting and outings.

The first officers elected in February 1970 were: Mrs. A. K. Stoutner, President; Mrs. F. A. Mattison, Vice-President; Mrs. B. J. Byrne, Secretary; Mrs. Frank B. Peiffer, Treasurer.

A birthday party was planned for every month to celebrate the birthdays of that month. An annual program was planned and the organizations of the community asked to do a specific service—i.e., entertainment, sew, birthday party, etc.

A telephone committee was organized for the purpose of calling and visiting with elderly persons in their own home on a regular basis.

Many organizations have been very helpful and generous with their time as have many individuals. Since its organization, many musical programs, bingo games and much visiting has been done and the Auxiliary has done much to make the residents of Maplewood Manor a part of Keota.

The present: officers, Mrs. Bill Cady, Mrs. F. A. Mattison and Mrs. Walter Bower, continue to help the Activity Director, Mrs. Phil George, with some of the programs at Maplewood Manor.


The Keo-Tones, Keota's Male Barbershop Chorus, was started in early March of 1971. The idea originated with Wayne Owens of Keota Manufacturing Co., Inc., and Terry Dill, the owner of the concern, furnished the group with a place to practice.

The chorus started out with eight men and has now grown to a group of over 30 members. Stan Soucek is the director and Robert Adams is the president of the organization.

The purpose of the chorus is to have fun singing in the "barbershop style" and any money derived from singing appearances is to be used for the benefit of the local area. The first gift was a $100 scholarship given to a Keota Community School senior in 1972. Since the organization has members from both Sigourney and West Chester it is planned to give similar scholarships in coming years to worthy seniors of those school districts.

Besides singing for local organizations in Keota, the KeoTones have appeared in Brighton, Sigourney, and Washington. In Williamsburg January 31, 1972, they presented the entire evening concert sponsored by the Kiwanis Club there.

The Keo-tones



A glimpse into the past...


Quoting from the "Washington Gazette" of May 17, 1872, about the new "cornfield" town of Keota. Last Sunday May 12th was "Opening Day" for public religious services. A Sabbath School under Rev. Mr. Smock (Presbyterian) was inaugurated at 2 1/2 P.M. Mr. Smock preached at 3 1/2 P.M. and Rev. Mr. J .C. Kendrick of the Talleyrand Methodist Church preached at 5 P.M. Services were well attended. Mr. Smock has prepared a room above his wagon shop which is 21 x 32 feet which is to be used for religious exercises, town hall, etc., until better accommodations can be had.


The Baptist Church was the first church built in Keota. At a meeting held with the Baptist Church at Washington, Iowa, July 4, 1872, the matter of building a house of worship by the Baptists at Keota was decided upon and a building committee appointed to solicit aid. The work was begun in August and finished October 10, and dedicated October 20, 1872, by Rev. N.A. Reed of Muscatine preaching the dedication sermon. Rev. Wood began preaching during the summer of 1872 every two weeks, holding services at Smock's Hall until the completion of the church. The cost of the church was $1871.00. This church stood at the site of today's United Presbyterian Church.

Federated Church
The next Baptist Church building stood at 1973 location of the United Presbyterial Church. From 1937 to 1961 it was known as the Federated Church.


The oldest church organization in the town of Keota was the Presbyterian.

This church was organized at Paris, Washington County, Iowa, on the 5th day of May, 1855, by Rev. Thomas H. Dinsmore. The organization was moved to Talleyrand in 1856 when a church was built there and where the organization remained until moved to the new town of Keota in 1872.

This move was made under the pastorate of Rev. D. V. Smock, who had built a hall as before mentioned for the purpose of Divine Services and where not only the Presbyterians, but all the churches of the town for a time worshipped.

In 1874 the first Presbyterian Church was erected at a cost of $3000 or $4000. This church building was erected on the south end of the old high school playground facing south on Keokuk Street.

In August 1938 the Presbyterian Church building was razed. The church board sold the two lots to the Keota School District for $993.44.

Baptist Church - 1872
Keota Baptist Church ... First church built in Keota.
Dedicated October 20, 1872.
Presbyterian Church - 1874
Keota Presbyterian Church, built in 1874.
Keota's oldest church organization.



A glimpse into the past...


Very soon after Keota started it came into the minds and hearts of a few loyal United Presbyterians in the vicinity of Keota to establish a church of their choice in the new town. True there was a flourishing United Presbyterian congregation at Westminister, six miles east of Keota, and another at Pleasant Valley, or Tyrone, six miles south, but these were long distances in those days for there were no automobiles then. The big lumber wagon was the common vehicle for the country people and if the roads were impassible for wagons, then as many as could wended their way to church on horseback and some walked.

On May 19, 1872, Rev. J. H. Montgomery preached the first United Presbyterian sermon ever preached in Keota. After much consideration and many conferences, a petition was circulated to determine how many were willing to attempt an organization. Twenty-one adult persons signed the petition asking that an organization might be established in Keota. A charter was granted and the right to organize a United Presbyterian Church in Keota was accomplished June 20, 1873. The organization took place in the Baptist Church and the 21 persons signing the petition became the charter members.

The church was organized but they had no church home and no pastor. Through the kindness of the Baptist Church people, services were held in their church usually in the afternoon with an occasional meeting in Smock's Hall.

In one and a half years after organization, there had been quite an increase in membership. About this time the erection of a church building was talked of. The church was built during the summer and fall of 1875 at a cost of $4,087.00 and dedicated December 16, 1875.

It was during the pastorate of Rev. H. H. Brownell, who was installed in 1899, that the church was remodeled at a total cost of $3,428.70.

This then was the largest church building in Keota and was considered a credit to the people who erected it.

This church stood on the first lot north of the Frank Dasher residence and faced the East on Fulton Street. In January of 1946 this old landmark was razed.

Presbyterian Church and School - 1908
Presbyterian Church ... 1908. Note: School House
in background. This church building stood on
the south end of the old high school playground,
facing south on Keokuk Street.
United Presbyterian Church - 1875
Keota United Presbyterian Church.
Dedicated December 16, 1875


Old United Presbyterian Church
During the pastorate of Rev. H. H. Brownell,
who was installed in 1899, that the
United Presbyterian Church was remodeled.
This old landmark was razed in January 1946.



A glimpse into the past...


At the session of the Iowa Conference held at Oskaloosa in September, 1872, the Keota M. E. Mission was organized with Rev . E.W. Twining as preacher in charge. During the year 1872-1873 the foundation of the church was laid. The following year with Rev. B.W. Gortner, pastor, the church was completed and dedicated by Bishop E.G. Andrews. The frame church building was erected at a cost of $2,500.

In 1888 there were slightly over 200 members.

In 1897 it was found necessary to enlarge the church and the old church was incorporated into it by adding two or three rooms.

A number of beautiful memorial windows were installed. Rev. Chew was the pastor. The church was dedicated October 16, 1898, by Dr. Crippen of Des Moines.

In 1915-1916 many more improvements were made and while this was being done services for the Methodist members were held in the three-story brick building. It was fitted with chairs and organ. Since 1915 many more changes have been made. The main entrance steps on the east were removed and a new entrance made on the south of the building. Many memorials have been given to the church. Three members of the local church have become ministers.

In 1939 the name of the church was changed to the First Methodist Church, thus dropping the one word Episcopal.

The Methodist Church has always been at its present location and today is referred to as Wesley Methodist Church.

M. E. Church

June 29, 1944. Former Keotan to be New York Governor. Joe Hanley was minister here 40 years ago. Succeeds Governor Tom Dewey. Keota people and many other old friends take a pleasurable interest in the fact that the new governor of the State of New York is a former Keota resident. Joe R. Hanley was pastor of the Methodist Church here about 40 years ago for approximately two and one half years.



The first Methodist Service was held in Keota, May 12, 1872, in a building called Smock Hall, which is now the location of the D-X Station. Service was conducted by Rev. J.C. Kendrick, who had charge of the Church in Talleyrand, which included Lafayette Center and occasional services at East Lafayette School house.

Meetings were held during the summer and in September 1872 the Annual Conference was held in Oskaloosa and formed a Keota Circuit, which consisted of Keota, Talleyrand, Hamilton School house (in 76 Township) and Lafayette Center. These were attached to the Muscatine District with J.C. Bunn as Elder and Rev. E.H. Twining as Preacher in charge.

November 20, 1872, a building committee was elected, consisting of M.B. Walsh, A.M. Pringle, L. Torry, James Huskins and L. Dunshee. R. Huston was appointed Class Leader.

In the Spring of 1873 a contract was let for a church building to be erected on lots purchased in July of 1873, which were one block North of Smock Hall.

Methodist Episcopal Church - 1874
M.E. Church ... dedicated 1874.



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Keota Cenntinial Book © Copyright 1973
Keota Centennial Committee

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