Historical Preservation

Poweshiek County Historical & Genealogical Society

The Society was organized in 1978 by Velma James and Chuck Wengert, both of Montezuma, and was incorporated on 27 June 1979.  In 1989, a historic home in the northwest corner of Montezuma was purchased and became center of operations for the library and records.  Today the library is located in the 1918 Carnegie Library in Montezuma’s National Historic District.  The move to this location was a perfect solution as the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Annual membership is encouraged within the organization, which has evolved to about 200 members.  The facilities are open three days a week for visitors and for research, and monthly programs are offered the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m.  200 South Third Street, Montezuma, IA 50171, phone 641-623-3322.  MAP  WEBSITE

Poweshiek County Museum

In 2010, the Poweshiek County Historical Society purchased the 1913 County Jail from Poweshiek County to restore and repurpose the historic building as the Poweshiek County Museum.  The old jail is the third oldest building of its kind in the state of Iowa.  The Historical Society took posession of the building for the initial cost of $1 and began the work needed to prepare the facility to accomodate the organization’s staggering gathering of artifacts and special collections.  The museum opened for a sneak preview in the summer of 2012, and again later in the year for the traveling Civil War Exhibition sponsored in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa.  Exterior and interior work continues with hopes of expanding the museum to regular hours in the near future.  201 South Third Street, Montezuma, IA 50171.  MAP

Scott Township Country Schoolhouse

The Scott Township School No. 7, also known as the Fitzsimmons School has been slated to move from the orginal country landscape to the campus of the Poweshiek County Historical Society.  The historic schoolhouse has been well maintained through the years as it served as a voting precinct until 2005.  All of the orginal contents of the building, including chalkboards, desks and lighting are still intact.  Plans are to relocate the school to the south side of the Poweshiek County Museum to add to the organization’s programing and educational focus.  A secondary objective will be to preserve the structure so it will be recognized by the Preservation Iowa country school initiative and encourage heritage tourism in Montezuma.  The Historical Society is seeking funding to bring the project to fruition in the near future. 

Historic Preservation Commission

DSC00934Montezuma’s Historic Preservation Commission advocates for the preservation of the Montezuma’s historic landmarks, including local monuments and buildings within the Downtown National Historic District.  The HPC is responsible for the relocation of the Montezuma Civil War Monument to northeast corner of the courthouse lawn. The HPC is also working to secure the necessary funding and planning to support the City of Montezuma in a full renovation of the Montezuma Memorial Hall.  For more information on the Historic Preservation Commission or to become involved, please contact the Montezuma Community Development office at 641-623-7600.

Certified Local Government

The Certified Local Government Program is a preservation partnership between local, state and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the grass roots level.  Montezuma’s CLG was instrumental in providing the support and research needed to nominate Montezuma’s historic downtown as National Historic District.  Members of the CLG work in partnership with the Historic Preservation Commission on projects in the newly designated historic area.  For more information on CLG initiatives or to become involved, please contact the Montezuma City Office at 641-623-5617.

Montezuma Downtown National Historic District

The United States Department of Interior designated Montezuma’s downtown as a National Historic District on May 30, 2012.  The 24-month nomination process was spearheaded by the Montezuma Improvement Association along with hundreds of research hours by local volunteers.  The district runs along 3rd and 4th Streets, Liberty Street and Main Street around the Poweshiek County Courthouse.  Contributing resources within the district include dozens of historic structures and monuments.  The Poweshiek County Courthouse, Carter House Hotel and the 1919 Carnegie Library are individually recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.  MAP  WEBSITE

City of Monuments

Montezuma is fortunate to have a list of both newer and historically significant monuments that serve as attractions within the historic downtown area.  The most recent addition is the World Trade Center Monument at the Montezuma City Offices.  The monument focal point is a steel beam artifact from the 9/11 World Trade Center attack in 2001.  The beam was a gift to the Montezuma Fire Department, who was responsible for the completion and installation of the monument during the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.  Also see our Bill of Rights Monument.