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Knowlton at Diagonal Printing Museum
Photograph by Sharon R. Becker, Aug. of 2009

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
September, 1970

Historical Society Tour of Knowlton is Sunday

The Ringgold County Historical Society met September 14, in the Diagonal schoolhouse to further plans for the tour to be held September 27.

With the theme "Knowlton Lives Again," many interesting facts and stories will be shared as the town is mapped out on the gym floor. The bell from the Goshen Church, 1881, now at the United Methodist Church in Diagonal, will be run at 2 o'clock to start the program.

Persons having artifacts and pictures from homes and businesses in Knowlton and Goshen are asked to mark them well and display them. A slip used in building the right of way for the Great Western Railway will be on display.

Brochures with pictures, maps and facts about the towns of Knowlton and Goshen will be handed out. After the town of Knowlton is rebuilt on the gym floor and former residents interviewed, all interested persons may visit the the Goshen and Knowlton town sites and the Bethel and Knowlton cemeteries.

Answers to such questions as: What kind of street lights did Knowlton have? Where is the town well that once had the watering trough and hitching racks? Was the Midland Addition also known as East Kansas City? In 1899, who had the most residences - Diagonal or Knowlton? Where did Knowlton get its name? What happened to the 40' white pine beams used in the four-room schoolhouse? When was the Knowlton post office closed? will be of interest to all who attend.

Other business of the society included the announcement that the Boy Scouts have erected the signs provided by the historical society, at the large buffalo wallow in Monroe township, which is near the road, is 20 feet deep and covers two acres.

Gifts of old clothing and pictures of prize winning livestock were received from the CHANDLER family.

Eighty persons have paid dues of one dollar to become members of the historical society for the current year. An opportunity for other interested persons to join will be given at the time of the tour.

Diagonal Progress
Diagonal, Ringgold County, Iowa
September, 1970

Sunday Will Be Day for
Knowlton, Goshen "Revival"

Sunday afternoon, September 27, (rain date October 4) at 2:00 o'clock, p.m., the Ringgold County Historical Society working with persons in this community will present a comprehensive program on early history of Knowlton, now extinct, and of the village of Goshen which had a brief existence of about ten years.

Using fiberboard as a base, the town of Knowlton, as it was in its heyday, will be laid out on the gym floor, and many former residents of both the Knowlton and Goshen communities are bringing pictures and mementoes to form a display which should be of interest to young and old.

All those who have such items are invited to bring them. Even if you can't identify all persons in your own pictures, others may be present who can.

The Historical Society will provide free a very complete brochure containing pictures, plats and information concerning the two towns. There will be no charge of any kind for the program and everyone, whether or not they have had any connection with either town, will be most welcome to attend.

Those present will be given the opportunity to join the Society, a membership is $1, with members using all of this money to further the preservation of information pertinent to this county and its citizens.

Again, everyone is invited to attend the event Sunday and to notify friends who will also be interested. If you are an old residenter, coming is a must. If you are not an old residenter, then you are on your way, and this will be the best, and probably the only opportunity you will have to glimpse the past.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
October, 1970

402 Attended Historical Program on Knowlton

At two o'clock on September 27, the church bell of the former Goshen Methodist Church was rung to start the program, "Knowlton Lives Again," in the Diagonal High School auditorium. Charles BENNETT, president of the Ringgold County Historical Society, presided.

Four hundred and two persons registered and over 500 brochures with a picture of Knowlton and maps and information of the towns of Goshen and Knowlton were handed out by Mrs. Beulah SMITH, secretary, and her assistants.

Goshen, southwest of Diagonal, was located on the Humeston and Sheandoah Railroad. It was platted in 1881 and for 10 years was a town with many stores. When the Chicago, Great Western Railroad came from the northeast and intersected the Humeston and Shenandoah Railroad, the town of Goshen moved to the intersection and became Diagonal.

Mrs. Edith HUGHES, Mrs. Mildred TURNBULL and others shared information about Goshen.

Then the former town of Knowlton became a reality. The town had been painted on wallboard with streets labeled. Wooden structures, representing two hotels, two grocery stores, a foundry, two livery stables, a creamery, millinery, two churches, the jail, town pump, other businesses, and many homes were placed in their proper places; also, the CG&W tracks, a train and Grand River.

About 1885, Knowlton was developed as a stop for the Chicago, Great Western Railroad. A city was platted and plans were made for the development of an important city. However, with the moving of Goshen to Diagonal in 1900, disastrous fires and the closeness of Diagonal, Knowlton declined instead of growing, and by 1920 the post office and schools were discontinued.

Roy LARSON told of the McCLAREY boy's death on the railroad and showed pieces of material found at the foundry sight (sic). Mrs. Donald BUTT shared information about the churches. Mrs. O. R. IVES told of Smokey Row, Lovers Lane and the mill fire. Mrs. Edna LACY explained what "a trip to Spain" meant and about the street light. Minnie LARSON shared many interesting experiences, one being that she was the first baby girl delivered by Dr. WATSON. A. H. BONEBRAKE, Mr. TURNBULL and others also recalled information that interested everyone.

Following the program, those present enjoyed looking at the many pictures and artifacts that were on display. Mrs. KESSLER and the 6th grade at Diagonal had made signs that located the streets and buildings at the former sights of the two towns. Those who went on the tour could therefore see again the towns. Many also visited the Bethel and Knowlton cemeteries on the tour.

Credit for the successful event is shared by many - Mr. and Mrs. TURNBULL, Herb SOVEREIGN, Mrs. Beulah SMITH, Mrs. KESSLER, Mr. and Mrs. Charles BENNETT, Mr. KILGORE; those who furnished information and pictures, and assisted in many other ways. - Mrs. Lloyd ANGUS

Diagonal Progress
Diagonal, Ringgold County, Iowa
October, 1970

500 Attended Knowlton, Goshen Event Sunday

Sunday was a beautiful early fall day and the "Knowlton Lives Again" and "Goshen Recreated" project of the Ringgold Historical Society was a tremendous success.

Four hundred persons signed the registers, and it was estimated that another hundred failed to do so. People came from all over the county, from adjoining cities, and places within a hundred-mile radius of Diagonal.

Credit for the success of the event must go mainly to the Historical Society for their sponsorship, and the long hours spent in laying out, and building and placing businessess places and residences in their proper places. Mr. Charles BENNET, president of the Society, and Herburt SOVEREIGN were the two persons who did the greater part of the work, and they were aided on Saturday by Mr. and Mrs. Donald BUTT, members of Louise SLAVIK's sixth grade class.

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words,and while some pictures are not worth more than one word, the recreation of Knowlton could not have been effectively demonstrated without the picture presented on the gym floor. Streets were named, the railroad and river shown, the depot and coal chutes, the schools, the churches, the business district, and many residences. One could see how the town must have appeared in 1895. The building of the over-pass in the early forties, so completely altered the appearance of the town-site, that many persons who once lived in Knowlton can no longer locate places they once knew.

The people of the Diagonal community, including those who claim Goshen and Knowlton as their home towns, are grateful to the Ringgold Historical Society for making last Sunday's event possible.

The idea orginiated with the president, Charles BENNETT, and his staff of officers, and while some may have thought "it couldn't be done," it was well done, bringing pleasure to those who remembered and knowledge tinged with astonishment to those too young to remember.

Parallel to the idea of rebuilding Knowlton and Goshen, and a summarized history of both places, which proved to be most popular with those present.

Knowlton, probably taken from roof of the school looking ESE, circa 1910
courtesy of Mike Avitt

Thanks to Mr. Charles BENNETT, president, other members of the Ringgold County Historical Society, and scores of interested people, we are here today seeing and hearing something of what the now extinct towns of Knowlton and Goshen were like more than four-score years ago. - Mount Ayr Record-News

Marker at Knowlton Town Site
Photograph by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2009

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2010

  • Knowlton History

  • Knowlton High School

  • Knowlton Plat Map, 1881

  • Story of Knowlton

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