Winterset’s Courthouse Historic District Facade Rehabilitation Project was undertaken in 2018 with 15 property owners electing to enter the program. It is funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the City of Winterset, and the individual property owners. The contractor was Cornerstone Construction of Corning, Iowa.

Participating buildings on each side of the square within the Courthouse Historic District have received some tough love, leaving them in an ugly duckling stage for quite some time.  But a swan has since emerged at each location.

Here is a photo collage of each building showing a historic picture from long ago, plus a “before,” “during,” and “after” photo, if available. Many thanks to all the participants who made this possible for all of us to appreciate.


Constructed in 1873, the two-story portion has held a variety of businesses including dry goods, grocery, restaurant, and seed store. Dr. Jesse Smith, who delivered Marion Morrison (aka John Wayne) in 1907, had her office on the second floor. Two one-story additions at the rear of the building were built in 1898. A flour warehouse was adjacent to the two-story building and an express (freight) office in the east end.

Madison County Tire

These two buildings were early City of Winterset municipal buildings. In 1888, the east building, with the misspelled Firemens’ Hall in the cornice, was built to house a fire engine on the first floor, which it did until 1977. Up a long flight of outside stairs, a citizen could climb to Winterset’s City Hall for the next 52 years, until 1940. The city built the west building in 1889 to house their first power plant to generate commercial electricity until a larger power plant was built 50 years later two blocks north of the Courthouse.

Bridges Financial

In the fall of 1880, Theodore Cox decided to tear down his old drug store and replace it with a new one-story brick building to house W.S. Doud’s furniture store. From the 1940s through the 1990s, this building was home to Jackson Electric and Breeding Hardware. The historic storefront was replaced in the early 1940s with it’s current “mid-century modern” style.

Pheasant Run

This two-unit building was built in 1876 by CC Schwaner and Dr. A.B. Smith. In the west bay, Schwaner owned a successful harness business that was in business for 86 years……