Spend The Day Exploring Iowa’s Largest Historic Town Square
There are 119 buildings on the National Historic Register in Centerville, and it’s home to Iowa’s largest historic town square. Enjoy restaurants, coffee shops, and specialty shops right here in southern Iowa. There’a wine festival in June that you won’t want to miss, concerts throughout the summer, and Pancake Day is ahead in September.
Centerville is located in Appanoose County. It's about an hour and 45 minute drive southeast from Des Moines.
There about 5,500 people who call Centerville home. The town was founded in 1846 and planned around a two-block long square.
When you visit Centerville, be sure to stop by the Appanoose County Historical & Coal Mining Museum
Coal mining is a huge part of the town's history. The first coal mine opened here in 1868. By 1938, the Centerville area was producing 600,000 tons per year. The Mystic coal bed was 125 feet below the town of Centerville, but the surface of the mine was five miles northwest of town. The hours vary by season. During the summer months, you can visit Monday through Friday between 1pm and 5pm and Saturday between 10am and 2pm. Admission is $4 for adults and $1 for kids.
Centerville's biggest celebration, Pancake Day, is September 30, 2017.
The celebration starts at 8am with a 5K, 10K, and 2.1 mile fun run. The pancake tent opens at 9am and serves free gourmet pancakes until 1pm. Don't miss the kiddie parade at 10am, and the various stage shows from 10:45 until 12:45. The big parade is at 1pm. Carnival games, rides, The Greatest Farm Animal Show in the Midwest, Zoops Fun Zone, and all of the fun you can handle go on until after 8:30pm.
The Appanoose County Courthouse in Centerville is at the heart of their historic town square. The cornerstone was laid May 21, 1903.
This Romanesque building features a tall tower with a four-faced clock on it. The clock was struck by lightening in 1975, but then repaired.
The Courthouse Square Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, thanks to the Centerville Historic Preservation Commission.
The town square consists of Haynes Avenue, Maple Street, Van Buren Street, and 10th Street. The majestic courthouse sits in the center.
It's one of the only towns that had their entire town square recognized for its historical significance.
The designated area includes all buildings facing the Courthouse Square and those 1/2 block north of the square. It also includes all buildings one block east, south, and west of the square.
When you visit Centerville, be sure to stop by Tangleberries at 104 W. Jackson St.
This coffee and gift shop is on the south side of the Centerville square. Enjoy espresso drinks, coffee, smoothies, and their great lunch menu. It's a wonderful place to get unique gifts and home decor, as well.
The Shoppes at Bradley Hall are located at 519 Drake Ave.
You'll find primitives, antiques, specialty gifts, decor, hand-crafted items, gifts, candy, and vintage kitchen items, here. They also carry a large selection of Iowa wine and Iowa wine merchandise. It's Christmas year-round in the third floor ballroom, so make sure you see what they have to offer. The entire mansion is full of treasures, from the basement to the top floor. The Carriage House Shoppe, next to the house, has outside furniture, porch, and patio decor.
Have you been to this unique Iowa town? Tell us about it in the comments.
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