Vol. 6 April. 2009
Dear Friend,

You are view
ing the monthly DiscoverAdel.Com newsletter online. If you would like to have the Newsletter delivered to your Email Inbox, you can sign up on the Newsletter page.

This month we offer interviews with Jan Price at the Adel Historical Museum and Mark Heefner with Heefner Construction.

We also have a family recipe for Easter, cover the Historical application for the Adel downtown area, a reminder for all gardeners ready for Spring, and the Community Stage & Pavilion Fund Raiser at the Cafe in the Park last Saturday.

Last month we listed that 100,000 attended last year's Sweet Corn Festival when it was actually 10,000. My apologies for the typo, it's a great landmark nonetheless.

We hope you enjoy this month's newsletter.

In This Issue
Feature Article - Adel Historical Museum - Jan Price
Mark Heefner of Heefner Construction
Welcome To The Community
Spring at Harvey Flowers
Recipe of the Month
Historical Application
What is DiscoverAdel.Com
A Adel Historical Museum - Jan Price
Adel IA  Historical Society Museum
Museum Hrs. May 15 - Sept 15 12-4 Saturdays
Open by appointment other days

Jan Price - Adel Historical MuseumMay is National Preservation Month, designated to "raise awareness about the power historic preservation has to protect and enhance our homes, neighborhoods and communities. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of our country's cities and towns, and enables all of us to become involved in the growing preservation movement." The National Trust for Historic Preservation (

This year, the theme is This Place Matters. has asked Jan Price of the Adel Historical Society to help showcase this theme by highlighting the historical points of reference throughout the history of Adel. 

Jan has been the volunteer manager of the historical museum for the past 4 years. She grew up in Adel, and recently returned to the community with her husband Donald in 1999. When they retired, after more than 30 years of professional careers in education, they moved to Adel and purchased a home on Locust St.

Jan and Donald love living in Adel and have become active in various organizations. Jan was gracious enough to help Discover Adel readers answer the questions of how this small community came to be.

Q.What is a brief history of Adel?
A. Dallas County was made available for settlement on April 30, 1843. A year previous the land was purchased from the Sac and Fox Indians and it was stipulated in the contract that all Indians were to be removed within a period of 3 years.

In 1846 Iowa was admitted into the United States. James Polk was President and the Vice President was George Mifflin Dallas. Our county was named after him.

In 1846 our county was organized. The first settler in Adel Township was Samuel Miller who settled in what became known as the Miller Settlement. It was a short distance east of where Adel was later built. There is a stone monument on the north side of Highway 6 marking the settlement and the Miller cemetery is on the south side of the highway. There the first sheriff of Adel, Jesse K. Miller, is buried. Samuel Miller built his log cabin during the winter of 1847-48 and used it for the 1st schoolhouse in Dallas County.

 In 1847 a new town given the name of Penoach, an Indian word meaning "far away" came into existence. The original town plot extended from the Raccoon River to High (11th) Street and from Grove Street south to Greene Street. This town not only became Dallas County's first settlement to be classed as a town but it was selected as the county seat by the state legislature that same year. About 2 years afterward in the fall of 1849 the name of Penoach was changed to Adel in honor of "a very pretty child with a prettier mother".

Q.Who can be considered the "Founding Fathers" of Adel?
Leroy Lambert Adel IALeroy Lambert: During his life in Dallas County, he was one of the leading businessmen.

He was elected to the state legislature in 1853,1858, 1860, 1861, and 1869. In 1868 he entered into banking opening the first
bank in Dexter, Iowa with Martin Smith.

Later, in 1869 they opened the
Dallas County Bank in Adel.

In 1850 he was active in starting up the Christian Church.



Dr. T. J. Caldwell Adel IADr. T. J. Caldwell came to Adel in 1853.

He was repeatedly elected to Mayor.

He was the president of the railroad built from Waukee to Adel and continued its president until after its extension to Jefferson.

He was for many years the president of the Adel State Bank.


Benjamin Greene Adel IAS.H. Greene was one of the first settlers in Adel. He was a promoter of Adel's early railroad. His store was located where the jail now stands. Greene Street was named after him.

He was the father of Arletta Clarke who married Governor George Washington Clarke.

They were the grandparents of Nile Kinnick.


Adel IA J. B. WhiteJ.B. White was a lawyer of unusual ability
and also a man of rank in literary circles.

He taught school in Adel in 1873 and was active in business, civic political education,
and religious and social matters.

George Washington Clarke Govenor Adel IAGeorge Washington Clarke moved to Adel in 1877. He served four years as Justice of the Peace and in 1882 formed a law partnership with John B. White.

He was successful in the legal field. He was twice the speaker of the House of Representatives. He was Lieutenant Governor from 1909-1913 and became the 21st Governor of Iowa for 2 terms from 1913 to 1917. After stepping down as Governor, he was Dean of Drake University Law School from 1917-18 and practiced law in Des Moines.


Q. How was Downtown established?

A. A state road was established across the state of Iowa and passed through Adel. This road from the East crosses the Raccoon River by ferry, and then followed, what is now Main Street on west, to California. It was heavily traveled during the "Gold Rush". The third courthouse was located in the same place that the current courthouse is located. It was here that the downtown began to develop. The original town plot extended from the North Raccoon River to High (11th) Street and from Grove Street south to Greene Street.

Q. When did the Dallas County Fair begin?
A. The Agriculture Society was organized in Adel on December 31, 1855. Archibald Crowe was elected chairman responsible for organizing the very first fair. In 1903, twenty-three acres on the north side of town was purchased for $3,200.00. With the exception of a few years, the fairs were held on this land, which became know as Riverside Park (now Kinnick Feller Park).

Q. How did the Adel Historical
Society enter the picture?
A. The Adel Historical Society was organized September 26, 1972 with 30 charter members. They purchased the building that stands at 1128 Main Street.

Historical Museum Adel IAThis two-story brick building, built in 1857, was used as the second Adel schoolhouse for 12 years and then for many years after that as a residence for different families. For 26 years the Society used this building as its headquarters, improving the structure, collecting antiques and using the building for card parties, potlucks and other activities to raise money to support the museum.

In October of 1998 the Society disbanded, deeding its 129-year-old schoolhouse to the city. The city raised money along with a $7,000.00 grant given by the State Historical Society of Iowa for a new roof and a heating, cooling and ventilation system. Main Street Chamber Offices were located in the building. More renovations were made as contributions came in.

Adel IA Historical Museum StoreThe Chamber offices were later moved to the new city hall (the former Adel Manufacturing Company making bonnets and gloves). The former chamber offices were made into a museum shop where many items relating to Adel are sold.

The upkeep for the museum is now paid for by the City of Adel. The museum contains 8 rooms filled with artifacts from the history of Adel.

The museum is run by a volunteer manager with the support of a Museum Committee consisting of members from three Questers' organizations: Like Skillet, Raccoon Valley and George Mifflin Dallas. Donations are given regularly by Adel Women's Club, the Questers' groups and the Adel Historic Preservation Commission.

Volunteers throughout the community help with opening and manning the museum on Saturdays from May to September. Other times the museum may be toured by reservation. by calling 993-1032. The two main events of the Adel Historical Museum are the Holiday Home Tour in December and the Corn Festival in August.

Q. What is the Adel Historic Preservation Commission?
A. The commission was formed in the mid 1990s by the Adel City Council. In 2002 the commission received a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office of the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHPO) to do an intensive survey and evaluation of the downtown commercial district surrounding the courthouse. In 2006 the commission received another grant from the SHPO to nominate the Adel Public Square District to the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination was to be completed in June of 2008. As of this date the commission is waiting for word that Adel has received the nomination. The courthouse and the Wagon Bridge are already on the National Register.

Q. What is Adel's connection to the Circus?
A. Ortonville, located between Adel and Waukee on Highway 6 was named after Hiram Orton, who moved to the site in 1866.

Ortonville Adel IA But Ortonville wasn't just any town. It was home to a traveling circus show that started in 1852. Orton purchased nearly 200 acres as the winter headquarters for the circus. At one time the community of Ortonville included a cafe and grocery store, gasoline station, elevator, post office, stockyard and two telephone companies.

The show animals were over wintered at Ortonville because the fertile soil provided good crops and grain for the animals. The circus traveled by horse drawn wagon from one community to the next, making their way throughout the upper Midwest. According to one source, the Orton Circus was the largest wagon circus in the world. Animals in the circus included monkeys, horses, elephants, lions, dogs, camels, tigers and leopards. Additional entertainment was provided by a band, trapeze artists, tight wire and slack wire walkers, swinging ladder and rolling globe performers, contortionists and acrobats.

Q. What are some of the historic aspects of town?
A. J. C. Corbell built the first house in the town in the fall of 1847. It was used as a dwelling house and post office. The first brick building in the town was a one-story structure occupied for many year by G. W. Campbell who operated a tailor shop.

The first two-story building was the school built in 1857. The first hotel in the town was a small story and half house managed by R.R. Bailey. Soon afterward Jacob Frush built the Plank House which was the temporary home of many pioneer travelers and also headquarters for the first station west of Des Moines on the stage coach line.

Adel IA First ChurchThe first church in Adel was the Christian Church organized in 1847 by Elder John P. Glenn. The Presbyterians started a church in 1856, as did the Methodists about the same year. The first newspaper in Adel was "The Ship of State" published in 1856. The first bank was established in the early 1850s by J. R. Van Meter. The first electric light plant was built by W. W. Hancock and L. M. Macy. The first flourmill was built in 1856 by J. H. Strong and J. H. Moffatt. The first tile and brick factory was started by Kerns and Hubbard in 1882.

Q. What can you tell us about the Nile Kinnick Museum?
A. Currently, we do not have a Nile Kinnick Museum. We have an Adel Historic Museum at 1129 Main Street, but we have begun to talk about building on a Nile Kinnick addition to the 1857 schoolhouse.

Nile Kinnick Museum Adel IAThere is to be an auction April 20th at which time three items will be up for sale: A 1940 American Legion Program signed by Nile Kinnick, Nile Kinnick's 1939 Iowa University Letterman's sweater and a 1935 high school football leather helmet probably used by him when he played football in Adel. We would like to purchase these three items for the future museum addition but presume they will go for a very high sum.

To find out how to help in this effort, or for tour information contact Jan Price at 993-1032.

Mark Heefner of Heefner Construction

Mark Heefner Adel IA

Our interview took place in Mark's home, which is a show home for Heefner Construction. This custom home is 1500 square feet designed in the Mission Style. There are many impressive features to this home, such as the large living room with built in speakers and custom oak cabinetry throughout.

The house has taken advantage of every square foot by avoiding the use of empty spaces and hallways. The master bathroom is a great example, which optimizes the use of every inch, complete with a large, custom shower and personal whirlpool bath. Mark recommends the smaller whirlpools to cut down on filing time and water use. The well-designed kitchen is functional and roomy, complete with an island. 

Heefner Construction Adel IAMark remembers a custom kitchen design that incorporated the needs of a local couple. They were able to find a way to blend both a mudroom and old-fashioned pantry together into the kitchen.

Next we moved onto the basement, which is designed with kids in mind! The home theater area has 7.1 Surround Sound and room to seat the entire family. Rather than having a big box store design and wire the home theater, Mark designed and wired the basement himself and was able to reduce the costs by $3500! There is a room to the side of the theater that would be great for games such as Foosball or Darts or a great play area of younger children!

The basement is also a wood basement, which helps keep the temperature comfortable all year long. The basement uses daylight windows to bring light into the bedrooms. One of the best features of the home is that everything is well insulated, making the house quieter. If you've stayed in other so called "custom" homes, you know how thin the walls are, which is not the case with any Heefner Construction projects. With Anderson Windows that guarantee a 25-year warranty, this house is the definition of well made.

Heefner Construction Adel IAFor those interested, this Energy Star, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home will soon be listed for approximately $250,000. Contact Mark and Dan at 515-993-3376 or 515-993-4015 for more information!

Since 1973, Mark and Dan Heefner have designed and built 90 custom homes. These truly custom homes are designed on paper to the customer's specifications. Unlike other "cookie-cutter" homes, Heefner Construction does not have predetermined layouts to choose from or a limited number of concepts. 

If you can imagine it, Heefner Construction can design and build it for you. For example, their largest home, estimated at $750,000, required the design of a curved wall in the master bedroom. Mark has since begun to build a custom headboard to match the arch of the wall, something you cannot buy at the local bed store. 

Mark Heefner Custom Head Board Adel IAIt is very apparent, while visiting the workshop, that Mark takes pride in his work.  His custom built workbench is a work of art, complete with a down draft register. The exhaust system in the shop allows Mark to work all day without bringing sawdust into his home. If a work area defines an individual's work, Mark's shop shows his pride, skill, and talent at every corner. One of the most impressive features of the shop is the 22x40 slab of concrete laid for the floor. Because the floor is heated with plastic tubing under the concrete there are no cracks! It also allows Mark to work all day without the pains that concrete floors have made notorious.
Their love of building houses started at a young age when Mark and Dan helped their father build a house. By the time the brothers were in high school they had built a garage and kitchen! Now, as the economy changes, Mark has begun to build custom furniture pieces as well.

One of the best things about Heefner Construction is the quality of work put into every project. Mark tells us about a simple Entertainment Center that he built for one of his children. As he drove down the interstate at 70 mph the large, 250 lb Entertainment Center was caught by a gust of wind and thrown from the truck. Had this been any other, store bought piece of furniture, it would have shattered. Mark's Entertainment Center held together, and other than one minor repair, is in fantastic condition! Heefner Construction aims to give people value and quality at a reasonable cost, which is apparent in everything that they do.

Heefner Construction believes in keeping the money in the community. This family run company understands the importance of shopping locally. Any supplies, services or appliances that can be purchased in Adel are, those that cannot are purchased at stores who employ Adel individuals. Mark states that when Heefner Construction is looking for new subcontractors, like the painter they are currently seeking, they look to the community first.

Mark and his family are involved with the community in many ways. Heefner Construction is a member of the Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce. Mark contributes to the Adel DeSoto Minburn sports programs. When the softball fields next to the high school were redone a few years ago, Mark was able to contribute 1500-2000 hours towards the cause. Dan is very involved with the Panther Creek Church.

Heefner Construction Adel IAThe main reason Mark entered this business was because he loves woodworking as well as the challenge
of designing something different.

Heefner Construction is based on
integrity, honesty, and truthfulness. 

Contact Heefner Construction at 515-993-3376 or 515-993-4015 to find out how Mark and Dan can help with your custom home and furniture needs!

Welcome To The Community
DiscoverAdel welcome three new businesses to Adel.

Timeless Images Art Adel IATimeless Images, originally located in Waukee, has moved to Adel. They will be in the old Aubrey's building at 815 Main St on the Square.

Originally from New York, owner Donna Rayne, has over 14 years experience as a photographer. 

Donna photographs, children, families, weddings and horse themed settings. They also offer framing and fine art for sale at the new location. A preview of their work is already on display in the front window of the store.

Phone: 515-987-8611


Stan Olson of Corcoran Insurance has opened an office at 805 Main St. on the Square. Stan has many years of experience as a local businessman and Insurance agent. 


Home Craft Event Planning is a locally owned and operated service that networks with local community businesses to support special events such as weddings, receptions, family reunions, birthday parties, business and casual conferences, and travel.

If you're looking for an elegant place to have your Graduation Party, Event Planning has the party room, the caterer, and the pastry chef.

Located on the Square in Adel and handicapped accessible. Call for details at 992-3886 or 490-4582
So, to wrap it up, this is the DiscoverAdel.Com newsletter! We hope that you've enjoyed this issue and will share it with your friends.

Chris Brocka

Featured Article

Jan Price - Adel
Each month we
showcase a business or organization that makes Adel special.

This month we interviewed
Jan Price of the Adel Historical Society

If you have a business or organization you would like to see featured, please contact us at
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Spring at Harvey Flowers
Harveys Flowers Adel IA
The weather is getting warmer and as the ground thaws, we are all getting ready to enjoy our weekends outside. For those with green thumbs, it is time to visit Harvey's Greenhouse and Adel Flower and Gifts

Mary Harvey and Marie Hansen want to remind everyone of Harvey's impressive collection of hard to find botanicals.

The greenhouse carries the Midwest's largest selection of herbs, as well as climate-friendly Proven Winners, making Harvey's the place to be this spring!

For those who are interested in designing a new garden this year, Harvey's talented staff can help. Their Master Gardeners can take a photo of your yard and help you determine the best options.
This spring, Harvey's is also carrying a large assortment of Water Features and supplies. Come in and see the different fountains and pools, and enjoy the 20 different greenhouses!
Harvey's Greenhouse and Floral Shop carry all of the supplies you need to enjoy the warm weather to come!
Happy Spring!
Recipe of the Month
DDiscover Chef
Hot Cross Buns:

My Gram was known for this recipe at Easter. She would bake these the entire week before Easter, each time saying that she wasn't sure that they were as good as they could be. My cousins, Aunt and Uncles would all take another two or three just to be sure. She never made a bad batch, but we really enjoyed being her taste-testers! On Sunday she'd get up early and bake dozens of these buns, feeding friends and relatives from across the state. Enjoy!

2 cups warm Water
1 1/2 Tbs dry yeast
1 egg beaten lightly with fork
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2  Teaspoon salt
6-7 cups all purpose flour
 1 1/2 cups dried currants

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixing bowl. Add egg, oil, sugar and salt. Stir in flour a couple cups at a time. When dough is the right  handling consistency, turn out to knead on lightly floured surface. Place in greased bowl, cover with towel, and let rise 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
2. Punch down, shape into rolls, place on baking sheets, flatten slightly, cover with towel. 
3. Allow to rise 1 hour
4. Bake 20 min at 375 degrees cool.

Yield 2 dozen
Frost with Powdered Sugar glaze in cross shape.
Historical Application
Dallas County Court House Adel IA

To celebrate May as the National Preservation Month, we would like everyone to take a look at the application to add the downtown area to the National Register of Historical Places.

The application, completed by consultant William Page, is available through the Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce website.

To read this interesting application, please click the link below. The application is full of information about Adel, including photos and excerpts from historical books; some dating back to 1875! wants to thank the Adel Partners for contributing this information to the newsletter. Please visit to view the complete application.

Stage & Pavilion Fund Raiser
Stage & Pavilion Adel IA

The Adel Partners Stage and Pavilion Fundraiser on Sat. March 28th was a great success. 

Held at Cafe in the Park, everyone was treated to a barbecue dinner, free beer, and enjoyed the music of Gimikk

The funds raised will go towards the completion of the new Stage and Pavilion at the corner of Main and 10th St. in downtown Adel. 

The evening also kicked off the sale of engraved memorial bricks that will be used around the stage. 
You can order your brick by completing this order form and returning it along with your check to Adel Partners, PO Box 73, Adel, IA, 50003 or drop off your completed order form at the Adel Partners office in City Hall

The roof of the stage was added a few weeks ago, but additional funds are still needed to complete the interior ceiling, handrails and landscaping.

 The stage will become the center of the community festivals hosted by Adel Partners each year and will also be available for use by the general public. 

If you have any questions or would like to make a donation to this great addition to our community, please call Adel Partners at 993-5472.

Gimikk at Adel IA

Gimikk at Adel IA
Gimikk playing to the crowd

What is DiscoverAdel.Com
DiscoverAdel.Com Image is a destination website.

Our goal is to inform everyone of the benefits of Adel. Not just those who live in Adel, but also our friends in the surrounding communities. From unique shopping and award winning events, to the outstanding services, you can find it all in Adel!
As Adel grows and changes, so will our website.

Make sure to bookmark to check out new businesses, changing events, and local stories.
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