Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

May 14, 2012

Trolley connects riders to county history

CENTERVILLE — For more than seven years now, people have been learning about county history through rides on the Historic Preservation Corporation’s trolley.

May is National Preservation Month, and corporation members say now is the perfect time to consider reserving the trolley for events in the coming year.   

Corporation President Bette Howell said anyone wanting to rent the trolley for a wedding, for example, should act quickly because it is often booked up to a year in advance. It has also proved popular for class reunions and church events.

The rental fee for the trolley is $100 for the first hour and $50 an hour after that.

The State Street Trolley is the corporation’s second. It replaced the previous trolley, State Street Stella, in 2010.

The new trolley has several features that make it more versatile than Stella. It can travel at highway speeds, facilitating travel between towns. It is heated, air conditioned and handicap accessible.

“People don’t realize how nice it is; they still think it’s the old trolley,” corporation member Kathy Cridlebaugh said.

Howell said a handful of other Iowa towns have trolleys, but they are all much bigger.

“For a town our size it’s unbelievable, I think,” she said.

The trolley is not itself a historical artifact — it is a 2000 model American Heritage Streetcar that was retired by a city that uses them for public transportation. But it does resemble the streetcars that used to operate in Centerville, Howell said.

Every Friday during the summer, the trolley is used for history tours that accommodate up to 28 people. The tours start at 1:30 p.m. and cost $6 per person. Tour-goers gather beforehand at the Big Red Realty & Insurance Office on the east side of the square.

This year’s first tour will be May 18.

Groups interested in a tour can also book the trolley. Volunteer driver Gene Davis said one of the tour possibilities is to visit the museums in Plano, Exline, Moravia and Moulton. Another interesting tour, he said, is the ghost town tour. The trolley visits markers around the county at the sites of towns that no longer exist.

Davis said the ghost town tour was a particular love of tour guide and local history expert O.R. Parks, who died in January 2012.

“One of his main things he liked to do was commemorate all the towns here,” Davis said.

Davis started driving the trolley about two years ago. He said he volunteered because it was a way to help the community. Plus, he gets to interact with the people who rent the trolley.

“You really meet a lot of nice people,” Davis said. “They are characters, some of them.”

Davis said he enjoys teaching visitors about the history of the area. Indeed, he said, he has learned a lot himself since becoming a volunteer.  

“We have had people come who went to high school and left and come back and they do the tour and they say, ‘We didn’t know that!’” Davis said.

By driving and giving tours, Davis is following in the footsteps of the original State Street Stella driver, Dave Stuart, who died in December 2011.

“He just loved that Stella,” Davis said. “One of his wishes was to have the trolley carry his ashes out to the cemetery, so we did that for him. His last ride was on this trolley.”

Davis has chauffeured many wedding parties and class reunions during the past two years and said he gets a kick out of watching people enjoy the trolley.

For instance, he said, watching wedding photographers pose bridal parties for photographs has opened his eyes to the beauty of the area. One photographer took pictures of a bride in an alley behind the square. Davis thought the setting, which he had never noticed before, was so striking that the next day he brought his wife, Connie Davis, to the same spot for pictures.  

He has also stopped with bridal parties so they could take pictures in cornfields and around Rathbun Lake.

“If you grow up here you don’t think about it, but there’s some gorgeous scenery around here,” he said.

The new trolley was purchased through the combined efforts of the Historical Preservation Corporation, Appanoose County Foundation, Appanoose Industrial Corporation and Appanoose County Tourism.

Donations fund the trolley’s upkeep and insurance.

Howell said donations to trolley upkeep include some perks. Anyone who donates $500 gains use of the trolley for three hours and is designated a Baron donor. Donors giving $200 to $499 are Conductor donors. Donors of $100 to $199 are Ticket-Taker donors. All other donors are trolley participants. Donors will be listed in brochures handed out on the trolley.

The corporation continues to hold drive-through dinners the first Thursday of every month at the State Street Station to raise money for the trolley’s maintenance. Howell said the volunteers prepare between 70 and 80 meals for each event.

Along with the trolley, the corporation owns the State Street Station and the historic Second Baptist Church. The church is used for periodic gospel sings. Annual dues to belong to the corporation are $15.

Anyone wishing to book the trolley can contact Howell at (641) 437-4700.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Healthy Appanoose: Week 15 The 15th week of the Healthy Appanoose Challenges are printed below. The free program can be joined anytime throughout the year. Log in at the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at www.centerville-ia.com to record challenges completed.

    April 22, 2014

  • Waterworks to proceed with project The Centerville Municipal Waterworks Board of Trustees during their March 27 meeting approved a resolution that orders bids, approves plans, specifications and form of contract for the 2013 water system improvements project associated with the street

    April 22, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 22, 1910: This was the day when the Interurban service between Centerville and Mystic began with a special dedication run. On board were the 165 bond subscribers in Centerville and Mystic who had made the Interurban possible. Among the group we

    April 22, 2014

  • Moravia mayor signs proclamation Moravia's mayor signed a proclamation at the Tuesday, April 8 City Council regular meeting declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Mayor Irene Brooks talked about the many ways sexual assaults can affect people everywhere. The council made

    April 22, 2014

  • Audit exposes deficiencies The Centerville Municipal Waterworks had double-digit increases in both receipts and disbursements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, according to an audit released recently by Des Moines-based CPA firm Faller, Kincheloe & Co. PLC. The aud

    April 22, 2014

  • Open burn ban lifted Pursuant to Iowa code and at the request of Mike Lamb, representing each fire department having all or part of their fire districts within Appanoose County, the open burning ban for Appanoose County was lifted effective Monday, April 21 at 4 p.m. Op

    April 22, 2014

  • Morgan Cline In Memory of Morgan E. Cline

    In Memory of Morgan E. Cline
    August 26, 1932 to April 20, 2014
    Morgan Cline passed away peacefully in his home in New Jersey Easter morning. He will be remembered as a great and gracious man and will be greatly missed. More information will be shared as it is received.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Open burn ban lifted

    Pursuant to Iowa code and at the request of  Mike Lamb, representing each fire department having all or part of their fire districts within Appanoose County, the open burning ban for Appanoose County will be lifted effective today at 4 p.m.

    April 21, 2014

  • 042114 Family 25 years as business owners Today marks the 25 year anniversary of husband and wife Jerry and Cathy Whisler, of Centerville, becoming self-employed. Jerry called it kind of a fluke as he and Cathy became owners of a business they knew nothing about. That was in April of 1989 an

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042114 Land Resident wants to purchase street? The Centerville City Council tonight at City Hall will listen to Jay Rogers talk about West Jackson Street between North Fifth Street and West Maple Street. Rogers is on the council's agenda for the 5:30 p.m. meeting because he wants the "city to aba

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Miller-Meeks Photo Miller-Meeks campaigns Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, candidate for congressional Iowa District 2, promised the 10 who came to The Garage in Centerville Wednesday she would do "the full Grassley" if elected. "The full Grassley," Miller-Meeks said, is what Iowa Sen. Chuck Gr

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 18, 1942: There was a raid in the Pacific on April 18 that was morale boosting for Americans. It was four months and 10 days after Pearl Harbor. Eighty crewmen in 16 B-25s, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, took off from an aircraft carrier, the

    April 18, 2014

  • New boilers cost district $380,000 The summer boiler replacement projects will be getting underway after the Centerville School Board approved a $380,801 bid from Capital City Boiler and Machine Works out of Des Moines during their April 14 meeting. Six bids were received and the boar

    April 18, 2014

  • Appanoose County History April 18, 1865: Lincoln had been shot on the evening of Friday, April 14. 1865. He died at 7:22 the next morning. The news didn't reach Centerville until the 18th. It arrived on the front pages of the Keokuk Daily Gate City and the Burlington Hawkeye

    April 18, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 17, 1925: Nellie Walker was born in Red Oak but from infancy on, Moulton was her hometown. Her father was Moulton's stone carver and monument maker. Nellie watched him work and occasionally used his tools. At 17 she made a bust of Abraham Linco

    April 17, 2014

Obituaries
  • Ronald Allen Ronald Allen, 47, of Waterloo, formerly of Unionville, Iowa, died Saturday, April 19, 2014 at Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo. Private services will be held at the Unionville Cemetery in Unionville, Iowa. In lieu of flowers, memorials have been e

    April 22, 2014

  • Kenneth 'Marty' Mattly
  • Ronald Allen
  • Dean Hall
  • Frances Lisac
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about rental permit fees. The Centerville City Council has conducted two working sessions and a third one is planned in order to get a feel for the public's appetite about raising rental permit fees from charging a landlord $25 every two years to charging a certain amount per rental unit per year. So, the question of the week is, "Are you in favor of Centerville increasing rental permit fees?"

A. I'm in favor.
B. I'm not in favor.
C. I'm not sure.
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook