New era awaits Marshall County Historical Society Directors tour Mowry-Irvine house

Things are quiet at 503 W. Main St. in Marshalltown.

But in the near future, Historical Society of Marshall County board members foresee the quiet replaced by a beehive of activity.

It will eventually be the home of HSMC offices and museum, substituting current operations at 202 E. Church St.

And only the generosity of a civic-minded local couple made it possible.

Madelyn and Steve Irvine of Marshalltown donated the unique property to HSMC earlier this year.

And unique it is — a two-story, five-bedroom, two-bathroom, nearly 3,800-square foot house on .37-tenths of an acre.

“The HSMC is very grateful to have received this generous donation from two people who love Marshalltown — Madelyn and Steve Irvine,” said HSMC Administrator MIchelle Roseburrough

Records show construction of the Italianate-style home started in the 1870s at the direction of a Mr. Grummy, who was associated with a Marshalltown bank.

HSMC board members were thrilled to tour the eye-catching home this month, which housed the prominent Lounsberry and Mowry families.

Madelyn and Steve Irvine were only happy to oblige as docents, pointing out unique features of the distinctive home’s interior and exterior, where Madelyn grew up.

“The front porch was added on at the turn-of-the century,” said Roseburrough.

Approximately three weeks ago, Roseburrough and HSMC board member Scott Mason got a head start moving items from current HSMC offices at 202 E. Church St.

They moved a number of HSMC artifacts — including Bill Fisher’s mammoth wooden desk — made by the renown Leopold Co. of Burlington — along with other unique HSMC memorabilia into the house.

It is a tasteful melding of HSMC treasures with the home’s original furniture.

Regardless, board members were ebullient when they toured the pristine home, discussing among themselves future plans of housing the HSMC archives. library, and study area.

Part of the home will be set aside to honor prominent local families — such as the Mowrys.

Since Mr. Mowry operated a general store — the HSMC general store — a throwback to turn of the century grocery business also housed at the HSMC museum — will eventually be moved to its new home.

“The timeline of getting everything moved in, and maintenance, is going to always depend on funding,” said Roseburrough. “The HSMC does not receive funding from the city of Marshalltown or Marshall County. HSMC operations are funded exclusively through memberships, private donation, and grants.”

Veteran HSMC employee Miriam Bryant of Marshalltown, who works with Roseburrough was just as excited as Roseburrough and board members thinking of new possibilities for HSMC operations, as she rubbed her hand over the silk-like finish of Fisher’s desk.

Roseburrough and Bryant frequently do double duty — also supervising activities at HSMC-owned Susie Sower House, Taylor School and the Matthew Edle Blacksmith Shop in Haverhill.

HSMC will retain ownership of the 202 E. Church St. property — unofficially, plans are to continue to use it as an interactive children’s museum.

HSMC is governed by a volunteer board of directors, which meets the third Tuesday of each month. Dan Brandt is president.

For more information, contact 641-752-6664 or


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or