By Mike Avitt
Many houses in Ringgold County have interesting histories or were built by historically significant people. This is one of those houses. This house is currently
owned by Rick and Lora Stull and was built in the early part of last century by George S. Allyn.
George Allyn was so significant to Mount Ayr's history [that] Jack Terry singled him out in the
Mount Ayr centennial book. George, along with C. B. Morris, started what eventually became Security State Bank and served on the Mount Ayr School Board for over fifty years, almost all of that time
as president. Mr. Allyn was elected clerk of the Ringgold County Courts and later served as an Iowa State Representative. He began his business career and an eighteen year old rural school
teacher and farmer.
I can tell you that the construction of this house is chronicled on the front page of a Mount Ayr newspaper, but I didn't save the information as I wasn't researching houses at
that time. I remember thinking that George waited too long to build this house as he died less that 20 years after its completion. George died in 1928 but I'm sure the house was there in 1913 as his
daughter Georgia, who graduated in 1913, participated in the senior picnic held just west of her house in an area known as Allyn's Grove. George's
son, Earle, later built a home in Allyn's Grove, one block west of his father's house.
This week's photo was provided by Lora Stull and was obtained by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Lane about 20 years ago when
they lived at this address. The Lanes got the photo, along with information, from Robert Allyn of Tuscon, AZ. Robert is the son of Earle and Nina (Miller) Allyn and recalled some memories from his
childhood. His letter says the child on the porch is likely one of George's children but doesn't mention the cow. I think the cow was placed in the photo intentionally.
Robert says the house was
heated by a gravity hot air system. The furnace was located in a bricked room and was equipped with a crude humidifying system that held 50 gallons of water. Also, there were two hand-pumps for
drawing water. One drew water from a cistern while the other drew water from a well.
After Robert's grandparents passed away, the house was occupied by his aunts, Georgia and Madge, until
a fire in the 1940's. After a major remodeling, the house was occupied by Johnnie Reynolds. Georgia and Madge moved to an apartment closer to the center of town.
If you look at the
house today, it looks very different from the photo. This is
because about half of the top floor was removed to repair the fire damage.
This is a topic I will cover again soon as there are many houses that were either moved, built as a business, or have
some other tale to tell.
Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2016