Part 2 in a series
The Iowa National Guard closed the Centerville armory on Dewey Road on Jan. 24.
What follows is part 2 of a look back at the history of guard units in Centerville and the armories where they trained, a history that dates back to at least 1881.
Part 1 in Wednesday’s Ad Express ended on Thursday, April 14, 1949, and the Centerville Daily Iowegian and Citizen story talking about a proposal for a new Centerville armory at North 10th and West Franklin streets.
On Tuesday, May 22, 1951, the Centerville Daily Iowegian and Citizen reported the armory at North 10th and West Franklin streets formally opened the day before on Monday. The opening was attended by local and state officials, including Major Gen. Ray C. Fountain, who said “the guard has a double meaning in Centerville because it has not only the fine tradition of the guard at large but a singularly long and fine tradition as a local unit in Centerville.”
Following Major Gen. Fountain to speak was Col. H.C. Haynes, of Centerville. Col. Haynes talked about the history of the guard in Centerville, from 1880 when the first unit was formed up to present day.
Col. Haynes said Centerville’s first armory was located west of City Hall, bare of any ornament measuring 50x100 feet but able to protect the guardsmen from the weather. This armory would later burn to the ground.
Now, with the need for a new armory, Col. Haynes talked to Corse Payton, who agreed to finance a new armory/theatre/opera house that would be built at the intersection of Drake Avenue and Maple Street. The Spanish American War broke out, so Company E was only able to enjoy the new facility for a few months, as the two units marched to war, the infantry outfit and the band.