Place:Guthrie Center, Guthrie, Iowa, United States


NameGuthrie Center
Coordinates41.68°N 94.501°W
Located inGuthrie, Iowa, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Guthrie Center is a city in Guthrie County, Iowa, United States, along the South Raccoon River. The population was 1,569 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Guthrie County.

Guthrie Center is part of the Des MoinesWest Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.

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Guthrie County was organized July 8, 1851, and laid out by Theophilis Bryan, organizing sheriff, into two townships, Jackson and Cass, with the town of Panora named as the seat of justice. Then in 1856 Aaron Coppoc secured a warrant for the creation of Bear Grove Township which included all the lands now located in Grant, Thompson, Baker, Bear Grove and parts of Beaver, Valley, Seeley, Union and Victory. In 1856 Eder B. Newton laid out the town of Guthrie Center and at that time it was in Bear Grove Township. After the county of Guthrie was organized, it was necessary to have a county seat, so the legislature at their session of 1850-51, appointed David Bishop of Madison County and Lewis Whitten of Polk County on the 25th day of September, 1851, to select a location for the court house. After taking into consideration the center of population at that time, and the merits of other locations presented, they finally selected the southeast quarter of section 32, township 80 range 30, west of the 5th principal meredian to be the future seat of the county government. This location is the present town of Panora. The contract for building the court house was let in June 1853 or there abouts, but for some reason unknown the building was not erected at that time. Then on March 16, 1857 when the plans and specifications for the court house were made by Edward Serry, for which he received the exorbitant sum of $15 from the county funds. Immediately after that a contract was entered into by the county judge with James Cline to erect a building for the use of the county. In September 1857 the contract was annuled for reasons unknown. Mr. Cline received $200 from the county for violation of the contract. On March 7, 1859 a petition was presented to Aaron Hougham, county judge, bearing the signatures of William Tracy and E. B. Newton along with three hundred and ten other citizens of the county, asking the submission to the qualified voters of the county, the question of locating the court house at Guthrie Center, it being the geographical center of the county. The court made the order for the election for the county seat between the two towns. When the votes were tallied, it was found that Panora had received 197 votes and Guthrie Center 277 votes. Therefore Panora retained the county seat. The first court house was built in 1859 in Panora. [Several votes were taken between 1860 and 1873 with Panora receiving the majority of the votes except on one occasion until 1873] In 1873 another petition was presented and voted, with the results that Guthrie Center receiving the majority vote and the records and property of the county were once again removed to Guthrie Center, where it has remained to this day. The first [court house] was erected on the site of the county high school building in 1959 in the town square of Panora, a two story building made of native lumber at a cost of $2,400. The in 1877 a beautiful domed building was erected in Guthrie Center at a cost of $22,500 with the interior arrangement and vaults costing about $7,500 more or a total cost of $30,000, but on March 3, 1883 this building was destroyed by fire, a new court house of brick veneer was constructed the same year at a cost of $25,000 and was considered the most beautiful of any court house in southern Iowa, but by the time it was destroyed by fire on November 27, 1963, it had deteriorted until it was a disgrace to the county. In an election in 1962, the voters of Guthrie County had voted to build a new court house of modern design at a cost of $417,000 and this building was in the process of being built when the old one was destroyed.... The first newspaper was published in Guthrie Center by William Tracy on January 15, 1856, and was known as "The Western Pioneer", which appeared for a few months as circumstances merited. [This information was taken from Guthrie County An Illustrious Past A Great Future, pp 49 & 50.]