Those Places Thursday: Delphos, Iowa

Another ghost town, I’m afraid.

Delphos is near the town of Mount Ayr, which is the county seat of Ringgold County, Iowa.  Mount Ayr is a small, but quaint town with some neat old buildings.  We ate lunch at a really cool diner, called Peggy Sue’s.

Delphos on the other hand seems to have languished over the years.  It is no longer an incorporated town.  We drove through what used to be the town on our recent trip to Iowa.  It made me sad to see all of the run-down buildings.

My great-great grandparents, Ari Austin and Sally Jane (Lee) Agee lived in Delphos from 1904 till their deaths in 1938 and 1934.

Ari was a blacksmith and they owned a lot in the town, where he had his shop.

When I read through Ari’s probate records, I found bills from the local store – Seaton Store.  And here it stands today.  Obviously no longer a store.  I wonder what it looked like when it was open for business.

This is the Baptist church which they attended.  It didn’t appear to be in use, although I read online that there was a small museum inside, if you called a lady to open it.  If I had more time to spend in town, I would have pursued that.

And here is the other local church next door.  It’s definitely not open.

It makes me so sad to see towns like this – that reached their peak a hundred years ago and have since died out.  It makes you wonder what causes a town to disappear, when other areas are thriving and overpopulated.  Any ideas?

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  • Heather Roelker - June 9, 2011 - 11:12 am

    I blame Wal-Mart, which is totally hypocritical, because I do shop there. But Wal-Mart rolled in to a lot of small towns, built on the outskirts of the town and drew people away from Main Street. Mom and Pop shops can not compete with Wal-Mart prices. Obviously, there are other factors but I truly think Wal-mart had a lot to do with the death of small towns.ReplyCancel

  • michelle - June 9, 2011 - 1:46 pm

    My husband is from Iowa. A very small town in Carroll County. When he was little it had a store, bar, bank, gas station, etc. Now, all that’s left is the bar, post office, and the church. No stop lights. The buildings are falling into ruin. I don’t even know if any of them could be saved. It makes me sad that they are in such bad shape.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Lazarus - June 9, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    I just discovered your blog–and it’s absolutely wonderful. I really like how you tell the story of your ancestors with text and photos–while linking it to the present.

    Sometimes I think that the automobile and better roads that enabled people to easily shop (and sell farm products)in more distant cities really hurt some of the small towns.ReplyCancel

  • Greta Koehl - June 9, 2011 - 8:02 pm

    What sad pictures. At least they can be remembered in pictures now.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - June 10, 2011 - 1:18 am

    I agree – I think a combination of the big box stores like Wal-mart squashing out the small local places and also the wide use of cars makes it easy to drive 20 miles down the road for what you need instead of going across the street.

    Michelle – it seems to be quite the “epidemic” in Iowa. I saw quite a few towns like this on my drive across the state.ReplyCancel

  • Michael - April 29, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    I like the old pictures.. I was born in Mount Ayr. We lived in Blockton at the time.

    As soon as the Railroads left little towns started falling in. That was way before Walmart.ReplyCancel

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