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‘For the love of Binford’

Valentine dinners held at historic Binford House

T-R photoS by Chuck Friend Eight guests enjoy conversation, wine and fellowship at the Binford House Valentine dinner Saturday evening.

The annual For The Love of Binford Valentine Dinners were held Friday and Saturday evenings. The events were sponsored by the Federation of Women’s Clubs in Marshalltown with the proceeds going to the Binford house.

According to spokesperson and board member Cynthia Hubbard, 16 guests attended the dinner on Friday evening and 14 on Saturday. A social hour preceded the dinner each night with a charcuterie table available and wine brought by the guests. Many businesses and individuals gave door prizes which were given away throughout the evening.

Hubbard was helped by committee members Sandy Short and Cynthia Mandsager.

“The annual For the Love of Binford Valentine’s dinner is one of three special events that we host each year,” Hubbard said. “We also have an English tea around Mother’s Day and last year started a new event — a pre-prom dinner for couples who are planning to eat somewhere before attending the prom at Marshalltown High School.”

Leona McDonald of Union regularly caters meals for the Binford House. She served a meal of salmon, chicken marseilles and prime rib along with roasted potatoes, vegetables, salad and a decadent chocolate strawberry dessert.

T-R photo by Chuck Friend Committee members Cynthia Mandsager (left) Sandy Short and Cynthia Hubbard share a laugh before guests begin arriving at the Binford House on Saturday evening.

Binford House was built in 1874 by Thaddeus Binford, a young attorney from Ohio. The house is meticulously preserved as an exquisite example of Victorian Italianate architecture. The Binford House was given to the Marshalltown Federation of Women’s Clubs by Jessie Binford, the daughter of Thaddeus and Angelica Binford in 1930.

“At that time there were 16 clubs in the federation, but today there is only four: The Hawthorne Club, Early American Glass Club, the Entre Nous and the Bridge Club,” Hubbard said. “We are responsible for the upkeep of the home and preservation.”

Hubbard noted that Jessie Binford was one of the five children born to the couple. She worked in Chicago as a social worker dedicated to serving the poor at the Hull House with Jane Adams. She wished to provide a meeting place for service clubs in Marshalltown to be able to continue their work in the community.

“We have our regular club meetings here, and the home is open to the public for use for special events and meetings,” Hubbard said. “Known for its warm hospitality and food, the Binford House is available for meals serving form 10-50 people. It can accommodate showers, meetings, wedding rehearsals and various observances such as birthdays and anniversaries.”

A carriage house –called the barn and used for barn sales by the clubs during the Farmers Market season next door – was demolished by the tornado, and according to Hubbard is greatly missed for storage. The upstairs is not available to the public due to cosmetic and more serious changes needed.

Caterer Leona Wallen McDonald of Union shows off the chocolate strawberry dessert that was served to top off the dinner.

“Long term we hope to fix up the library room that gives more history into the home and also make a room for brides in order to utilize the ornate stairway during small weddings,” she added. “But that is a long way out yet.”

For more information or to schedule an event at the Binford House call 641-753-5450. Donations to help preserve the home can be designated and sent to the Marshalltown Federation of Women’s Clubs at Box 273, Marshalltown, Iowa, 50158

The Binford House built in 1874 stands stately on 2nd Ave in Marshalltown

Gifts for the door prizes were prominently displayed as the guests arrived

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