The Chamber Ambassadors Recently Visited With The Local History Archives Team at Drake Community Library

On Tuesday the Chamber  Ambassadors visited with the Local History Archives team at Drake Community Library. Veronica Ruse, Library Assistant in the Archives, first took Ambassadors to the Board Room. The Board Room features a photographic timeline of Grinnell including pictures of JB Grinnell’s home, the 1882 cyclone, Bill Robinson, the Spaulding factory and more. The room also holds photographs of the original Stewart Library and a collection of books published by local Grinnellians or people associated with Grinnell College (many available in circulation!)
Ruse then pulled some pieces regarding the Merchants National Bank including photographs of the original interiors, an original printing of The Western Architect, blue prints and more. Some of these items were recently found in the vault underneath the Merchants National Bank and donated to the library. All these items are available for viewing by request in the library.
The final stop on the tour was the Restricted Archives Room. A few items Ruse shared for our viewing included 150 years (1871-1925) of GHR publications on microfilm, an original Sanborn map of downtown Grinnell noting the materials buildings were made of (used for insurance purposes) sets of stereoscopic photographs and a stereoscope of the 1882 cyclone and an original copy of “Peter and Polly” which features photographs by local Grinnellian Cornelia Clarke. The Restricted Archives holds so much more information on the Grinnell community and is specially built to maintain the integrity of documents and items stored there.
Monique Shore, Technical Administrator, shared more about the digital side of the archives. The library has worked hard to get some of the most requested information digitized and available online for anyone to access. Currently, online you can find information on property (directories, photographs, etc), underground railroad, keyword search of the GHRs on file, videos and slides, and much, much more. Visit the online archive at
Grinnell is very fortunate to have such an extensive and well preserved collection of historical documents and photos. They’re always looking to add to the collection, particularly photographs of neighborhoods, interior shots of old stores, community events and festivities and more. If you come across any historical documents or photographs you think they may find of interest, reach out to Veronica. Their team can evaluate the items, scan and save or return them to you. The archives are open to anyone who’s interested in Grinnell’s history. You can stop in or make an appointment to review items during library hours. Call 641-236-2661 to learn more.
Pictured L-R: Jeff Finch – Wes Finch Auto Plaza, Ryan Timm – Timm Agency, LLC-American Family Insurance, Matt Moyer – Bayer Crop Science, Lisa Cirks – Cirks Financial Services, Jennifer McAlexander – JM Consulting / Hawkeye Lock & Security, Fran Conn, Veronica Ruse – Poweshiek History Preservation Project from Drake Community Library, Rachael Kinnick – Grinnell Chamber, Monique Shore – Drake Community Library, Monica St Angelo – Grinnell Area Arts Council, Donna Fischer – UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Dorothy Spriggs – Carriage House Bed & Breakfast
Not Pictured: Sarah Smith – Grinnell College Community Connections