Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

February 14, 2014

Dewey Road armory final stop

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — Part 3 in a series

The Iowa National Guard closed the Centerville armory on Dewey Road on Jan. 24.

What follows is part 3 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 1878.

Part 2 in Thursday’s Daily Iowegian ended on Monday, Sept. 21, 1953 with news the North 10th and West Franklin streets armory was about to be enlarged.

Centerville gets a new armory located on Dewey Road near the Industrial Park east of Highway 5 but not as soon as first projected.

The Friday, Feb. 23, 1990 edition of Progress reported construction of the new armory was expected to begin in April and be completed by November 1990. The total cost for the 22,000 square-foot facility was estimated at $1.2 million.

The Progress story says the idea of constructing a new armory in Centerville had been “talked about for the past six or seven years.”

Iowa National Guard Adjutant Gen. Warren G. Lawson in the Progress story talked about Centerville’s guard unit.

“With support the likes of which you see in Centerville, I can’t think this unit would be anything but first rate. This unit has got to be one of our very best.”

The Thursday, May 9, 1991 edition of the Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian reported ground was broken on a 23,000 square-foot, $1.4 million armory. The Dewey Road armory approximately doubled the size of the current armory.

The Feb. 28, 1992 Ad Express Daily Iowegian reported the new armory on Dewey Road was expected to be finished by May with the troops moving in by August. The new armory’s price tag was estimated at $1.5 million. Sgt. Donald Hogg is quoted in the story as saying Centerville has 93 guard members.

The Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1992 Daily Iowegian reported Centerville’s 224th Engineer Battalion completed the move into the Dewey Road armory Sept. 12-13. The new facility is now listed as a 42,000 square-foot, one story building that sits on 15 acres of land donated to the state by Appanoose County.

The Monday, Nov. 9, 1992 Ad Express and Daily Iowegian reported the unit held a dedication ceremony and an open house at the new armory on Saturday, Nov. 7. The story says a large number of visitors, dignitaries and unit members attended the dedication.

A second dedication and open house for the new Centerville armory on Dewey Road was held Saturday, May 8, 1993. The public was invited to tour the facility and listen to the dedication address given by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

A story published by the Daily Iowegian on Monday, May 10, 1993 says approximately 180 members of the community and guard were in attendance for the dedication and opening ceremony. Gov. Branstad spoke, as did Major Gen. Warren Lawson, the adjutant general for Iowa. “A magnificent unit deserves a magnificent facility,” Lawson said.

Centerville Guard Units Evolve

Centerville Company E, 2nd Regiment would go on to be re-designated the 1st Separate Company, 3rd Regiment and then later the 7th Separate Company, 168th Regiment, and then after it was mustered into federal service to fight for the Mexican Border War and WWI as Company D, 168th Infantry and then following the war re-organized as Company G, 168th Infantry. The armory at Dewey Road would be the home to Detachment 2, 2133rd Transportation Company and Company A, 224th Engineer Battalion. The guard unit when the Dewey Road armory was built was for Company C, 224th Engineer Battalion.