The Five Mile House
The Five Mile house is located 5 miles south of Westside Iowa in Hayes township Crawford County. Note: For a fun summer day go here the first Sunday every June. Everyone is Welcome.
Many of the men in and around Aspinwall have been, and still are, members of the Hayes Township "Schuetzen Verein" which was organized in May, 1883. In English, the name of this organization means "Shooting Club". This may be the only organization of its kind still continuing in the state of Iowa.
Andreas Lentz built the Five Mile House in 1876 to be used primarily as an amusement area. A huge barn was constructed to shelter the teams of horses while the family spent an afternoon or evening socializing.
Meves Schacht, an early Aspinwall resident, once was an owner of the Five Mile House, which is located in Hayes Township northeast of Aspinwall.
In 1899, the Schuetzen Verein purchased the Five Mile House building from Claus Strathman and used it for a place to hold their meetings and have their shooting contests. This group met once a month and gave prizes for the best marksman. This was later changed to a yearly event.
Other forms of entertainment were held at the Five Mile House, including Kinderfest or Children's Day, masquerade dances, and other fun-filled activities. Weddings were held in the building, and funerals conducted for the cemetery across the road.
The Verein has met nearly every year for the past 97 years to have shooting contests and to crown the kings; the exception was during the war years when ammunition was difficult to secure.
Today, the annual King Shoot is held on the first Sunday of June every year. The day's activities begin with a 9 a.m. procession to the home of the previous year's king, where music is provided and refreshments served. At noon the group, sometimes as large as 500 people, return to the Five Mile House for the contests. While the men engage in shooting matches, the women have a ball throwing contest. The winners of both events are then crowned King and Queen for the year; dances are held in the afternoon and evening.
Many area men have been kings over the years and have also held offices in the organization.
This History is from the Aspinwall Centennial, 1882-1982 book submitted by Fredric Dethlefsen, who won second place in the rifle shoot of Kinderfest 1946. The Kinderfest is an annual event at the Five Mile House. Material transcribed by Pauli Mullin.