~Photo of the Turin Star taken May 3, 2012. Can anyone give us further information about the Star today?

~Photo taken by county coordinator, Linda Ziemann.


One day,  about two weeks before Christmas in 1960, Mrs. Park Daugaard remarked, “We should have a star on the hill for Christmas.”

That afternoon Park Daugaard made a few calls after talking the idea over with Merrill Johnson, and the star was soon to become a reality. In a half hour he had collected enough money to construct the star. Mr. Johnson designed and assembled it.

The star had five points constructed of 2 x 4s, 16 feet long and with 50 lights to represent all of the 50 states. The wiring was done in the Ravnsborg service station. The Johnson tractor was used to transport the star to the top of the hill. Iowa Public Service connected the star to the same source as the street lights, which furnish the power for the lights. The star was set on the hill by Park Daugaard, Lloyd Crosgrove, Jon Johnson and his father, A. M. Johnson.

The weather finally took its toll and the star failed to shine.

In 1980 a new star was designed and built of steel by Jerry Ravnsborg. It was brought to Turin by Grant Mann, of Moorhead, and Kermit Ravnsborg, of Turin and installed with electrical assistance by Wayne Marshall.  Materials were paid for by citizens of Turin. It was designed to be used as a star at Christmas and as a cross at Easter.

It reminds everyone of the true meaning of Christmas and Easter.

The star was downed again by high winds in 1983. With the help of Turin citizens it was erected again in 1984. It is working order now and is shinning brightly each night as this article goes to press, December 1986.

Our town with the star on the hill,
Has the nicest people you’ll see,
Though it’s small and sometimes so still,
It’s home, and to us, is the best place to be.
~Centennial Committee, Turin History Book 1887-1987


Anyone who has good, clear photographs of the Turin Star on the Hill, please consider sharing your pictures for this page. Email the County Coordinator, jpg images are accepted. Thanks in advance!


West Turin, Iowa -- Note the schoolhouse in the middle of theabove photograph



Turin, Iowa, Blacksmith Shop

The SIGN on the left-side building says: Elliotts Cement Works.

~Photo postcards contributed by volunteer, Larry Lundeen, for posting on this website

Turin Ladies Baseball Team, 1904, "Turin Bloomers"

Front Row, left to right: Iva (Babe) Counts, Elsie Leff (Cork), Anna Wolters (Edwards) catcher, May Harris (Hathaway) pitcher, Myrtle Buoy, and Nellis Leff (Jo Reese.)

Back Row, left to right: Stella Hathaway (Rinehart, Ollis Lasley, Fred Rees manager, and Mable McCollum

~Above picture of the ladies team is taken from the 1987 History of Turin, Iowa, Centennial Book.

~Submitted by researcher, Larry Lundeen


The first telephone in Turin was in the Reese Store, around the turn of the century. It may have been connected later to other local lines.

As more people installed telephones, a switchboard was installed on the second floor of the hotel operated by the Rues, just east of the “Dane” Store. Operators included Lillian Trafton and Carrie Anderson (Christofferson.)  This was destroyed by fire in 1919.

In 1920, Howard Reese helped organize the Turin Telephone Company, a loose association of patrons. A new building was constructed, with the company occupying half of the structure and with the town and township offices in the other half. The company maintained and operated the central office, and the patrons were responsible for building and maintaining their own lines into the exchange. There were some “private” lines in town, but most of the telephones in the country were connected to “party” lines, sometimes with as many as 15 subscribers per line. Lines were numbered and a ringing code devised that designated the proper “longs and shorts” for each number.

The load remained fairly constant, with about 40 lines and 100 telephones. Into the 1930s, “exchange dues” for local service were $7 per year for residential telephones and $10 for businesses. 24 hour service was maintained, with an operator sleeping at night in the back of the office. Calls were not supposed to be made between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. except for emergencies, but this was never strictly enforced.

One feature of the service was the “general” ring. One long ring summoned all patrons to the telephone for emergency or public service announcements. Long distance was provided through a single trunk line to Onawa.

Some of the regular telephone operators were the Minot family, Genieve (Hathaway) Winegar, all of the Howard Reese family, and Harold and Mabel Reese. Many different people served as relief operators.

During most of this period, the Hans Hansen farm had line connections to both the Turin and Moorhead exchanges, with a switch which could be used to interconnect the two systems. Many people took advantage of this method of calling between these two exchanges without paying long-distance fees, which made almost a full-time job for the Hansen family.

Howard Reese was manager of the company until about 1933, when he was succeeded by Clarence Clemmensen.  Subsequent operators included Mildred Peterson and Ida Breed. The last were Everett and Hazel Hinkel.

In September, 1970, the Turin Telephone Company was dissolved, and the service taken over by the Western Iowa Telephone Association. A dial system with all single party lines was installed.

~Source: History Turin Iowa 1887-1987 pp. 23-24



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