The Collins Historical Society recently researched the Collins Town Hall’s history. This is a fine building and has a real connection to the city’s past.
The following is an update to the history in the two books on Collins.
The building was built in 1939 while Walter Keagle was mayor. It was during the depression and F.D.R.’s “New Deal,” so the council applied for a P.W.A. grant for 45 percent of the cost. After calling the National Archives in Maryland, we found out our file was Docket #1863.
The original location was to be where the C.C. Signs Hotel stood, but it was later changed to the location of the B. L. Keagle Garage. The size of our building was also changed from 40’ X 134’ to 50’ X 40’.
The construction was done by Reimer Construction Company of Marshalltown. C.F. Reimer started the company in 1884 and erected many government buildings into the 1940s, including the Marshall County Court House.
Bonds were sold at auction in July 1939 and went to Nevada National Bank in the amount of $6,000.
A recent event arranged by the City Council in September was a visit from two ladies from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs in Des Moines to assess the City Hall building. One of the ladies was an architectural historian and the other was a historical preservationist. They went through our building and around the outside. Their opinion was that we had a nice building in good condition and that the coping stones needed the tar removed and the middle stone could be cleaned with dish soap and a soft brush. The building is an Art Deco style popular at the time of its construction. They said the mortar and bricks were good and the many colors in the original brick are nice.
If the current City Council was interested, the ladies said they would work with them to see about putting the building on the National Historic Register.
We, the Collins Historical Society, hope to have more historical articles about Collins in the future.