Cresco Opera House & Theatre

Cresco Opera House & Theatre

Your movie or live performance experience is all the better at the 1914 historic Cresco Opera House & Theatre!

From vaudeville to surround-sound, from silent movies to major musicals, the Cresco Opera House has long served as the entertainment center for the greater Cresco, Iowa, area and beyond. The architectural beauty has spanned the entertainment world from the early 20th Century into the 21st, and, thanks to the dedication of the people of Cresco, for many years to come.

The Cresco Theatre was built in 1914 to replace Lyric Hall that had fallen into disrepair. Opening in 1915, the theatre embraced live entertainment but looked forward to the future by providing a projection booth to show movies. When it opened, there were wooden seats for 725 people divided just about equally between the main floor and the upper and lower balcony. These wooden seats were later replaced with cushioned seats, and today the theatre seats just over 425. The building was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The building, located just west of the Howard County Courthouse, is 100 feet long and 47 feet wide. The stage is 47 feet wide, 20 feet deep, and the proscenium arch is 28 feet wide and 20 feet high. An orchestra pit fronts the stage, and there are two wing stages on both sides. There is a 25 foot by 15 foot green room under the stage.

115 2nd Ave W
Cresco, IA 52136

Bohemian Savings Bank

Bohemian Savings Bank

The Bohemian Savings Bank is a historic building located in Protivin, Iowa. The town of Protivin was established in 1877, and did not have a bank until 1910. Bohemian Savings Bank was established to prevent people from near by Decorah, Iowa from establishing one in Protivin.

The Rev. Rudolph Lakomy, the local parish priest, was one of the bank's organizers and served on its first Board of Directors. He also designed the exterior of the building. The Neoclassical structure was built of smooth concrete blocks that simulate stone. It rests on a concrete foundation. The balustraded porches located on the front and back sides of the building are flanked with columns of the Doric order. The building was built by the John Neuzil construction firm from Fort Atkinson, Iowa. The Fisher-Stevens Co. from Charles City, Iowa designed the interior of the building.

Bohemian Savings Bank became a branch of the Decorah State Bank on December 1, 1986. A new bank building was built next door to replace this one in the late 1980s. This building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

101 N Main St
Protivin, IA 52163

Kellow House

Kellow House

Built in 1880 by William Kellow, Jr., the Kellow House is a fine example of a Second Empire style home. The Historical Society acquired the home in 1969 and restored the interior, but made no structural changes. Enjoy the subtle grace of its period furnishings, several of which are Kellow family heirlooms.

The Kellow House is also a resource center for the Howard County Historical Society and houses many pictures, county histories, and atlases. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places it is open by appointment anytime; 563.547.3434.

324 4th Ave W
Cresco, IA 52136

Cresco Public Library

A Carnegie Library

Cresco Public Library

In 1885, the first major step toward incorporating a library for the residents of Cresco, Iowa, was made.  Community members collected books and wanted to circulate these to area residents.  This planned circulation of materials did not work and, therefore, were turned over to the Cresco Free Library Association.  Ten years later, Augustus Beadle, the founder of Cresco, organized a home entertainment lecture system.  An admission was charged to those listening to the lectures and the money collected went into the library fund.

About 1913, the library board began to discuss the possible construction of a new library building.  J.H. Howe, a member of the board, and also an architect, drew up plans for a new library building.  Discussions were held by the Board of Trustees to apply for funds from the Carnegie Foundation to help with the construction of the new building.  Dr. D.T. Robertson, secretary of the library building committee, made a trip to New York to interview the secretary of the Carnegie Foundation.  The Secretary had one objection to giving funds for the purposed project. He questioned the number of people in the community who would use the library.  George S. Bobinski wrote in his book, Carnegie Libraries:  Their History and Impact on American Public Library Development  (American Library Association, 1969 p. 45), "Small towns, particularly those under 1000 population, were not eligible for Carnegie library grants, since separate library buildings were not considered a necessity for such localities.  However, it was possible, and, indeed, urged by Carnegie officials that such small communities join together with townships so that their officials could request funds for a joint or a county library."  Local library trustees suggested extending the service territory to townships of Vernon Springs, Albion, Howard Center, and New Oregon in Howard County and the townships of Freemont and Orleans in Winneshiek County.  With the addition of these population centers, Robertson came home with the $17,500 necessary for the construction of the library.  Construction of a new 'Carnegie Library' began in 1913 and was completed in 1915.  Dedication of the new Cresco Public Library was held on February 10, 1915.

320 N Elm St
Cresco, IA 52136

Lidtke Mill

Lidtke Mill

There are very few grist mills remaining in the united States that still houses their original equipment.  Constructed in 1860 by Melvin Marsh, Lidtke Mill in Lime Springs is one of these few.  Offering visitors a rare look into the past, the mill's interior is preserved in its entrirety.  The rollers, silk bolter, fanning mill, grain elevators and complex belt system remain exactly as they were in 1960 when Herman Lidtke closed up the business.  The integrity of this special structure is credited to one of the millers named D.W. Davis, who built a brick veneer over the mill in 1915.

Start your tour by holding a handful of the tiny buckwheat seeds - the most commonly ground grain at Lidtke Mill.  Follow the process fo weighing, grinding and sifting.  Imagine the loud hum of the belt system, the air filled with a fine dust and the grain elevators moving up and down through the floor.  Discover how flour and livestock feed used to be made - not in a giant, mysterious factory, but in a small mill by a hardworking family and the power of the river.

Learn about the special French burr grinding stones that miller Herman Lidtke purchased from Governor Larrabee in Clermont, Iowa and the slow and muddy sixty-mile trek he had to make with over 5,600 pounds on his country wagon.  Walk through the Miller's house and see many unique furnishings from the late Victorian era including a bison horn stool D.W. Davis brought back to Iowa from the Wild West.  Visit the mill's "Dynamo Room" where electricity was generated for Chester and Lime Springs in the 1920's and where the miller's assistant John Perterson was electrocuted while wearing his wet slippers.

Set on the picturesque Upper Iowa River, the Lidtke Mill and Mill House are a regional treasure.

The mill is open for tours Memorial Day-Labor Day, Friday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m and by appointment. There is an admission charge of $5.00 adults and $3.00 students.  There are several annual events that make for an extra special experience:
The Buckwheat Pancake Breakfast - the first Saturday in June and The Lidtke Mill Lunch & Ice Cream Social - the second Sunday in July.

Call Howard County Business and Tourism at 563-547-3434 to find out more.

14969 Mill Rd
Lime Springs, IA 52155

Howard County Courthouse

Howard County Courthouse

The Howard County Courthouse in Cresco, Iowa, United States was built in 1880. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 as a part of the County Courthouses in Iowa Thematic Resource. The courthouse is the third building the county has used for court functions and county administration.

When Howard County was organized in 1855 the county judge named Vernon Springs to be the county seat. Later in the year he ordered that the court and all county records be moved to Howard Center. New Oregon wanted the county seat there, but Pikes Peak was chosen by a committee instead. A courthouse was built there in 1859. As the county grew a new courthouse was needed and Cresco made a bid to build it in their town. The county board of supervisors accepted the bid and a courthouse was built there in 1876. It was destroyed in a fire and the present courthouse was begun in 1879 and completed a year later. The Italianate structure was built of red and buff colored bricks. Two additions were made to the building in 1964.

137 N Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136