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Within the small community of Allison, which is located almost in the center of Butler County, is the Richardsonian Romanesque Farmers Savings Bank (1902). The designer of this stylistically late building pulled a narrow arched entrance out from the building and brought attention to it by creating an alternating pattern of light stone and dark brick voussoirs and then supporting the large arch on a pair of stubby columns. To the left of the door is a large arched window providing a view into the public banking area. On the second floor, four windows are grouped together within a stone frame that rests on a stone band extending across the entire facade. The bank is located at the southwest corner of Main and Fourth streets.

Farther up Main Street is the present Butler County Courthouse (1974–1975), designed by the Marshalltown architects Cervetti-Weber and Associates. This modernist brick courthouse consists of a series of rather severe interlocking blocks. It does retain a vestige of the Classical tradition in its central piered portico. Behind the present courthouse is the site of what was once a delightful and successful version of an Italianate courthouse. All that remains of this 1879 building (it was torn down in 1975) is its round, many-windowed cupola which now sits on top of a small building (“The Butler Hall of Fame”) within the courthouse grounds.

Eight miles east of Allison on Iowa 3 is the even smaller community of Dumont. Just east of the corner of Main and Second streets is the Roder house of 1925, designed by the Waterloo architect Howard B. Burr. In this house, which is in fact a double double house, Burr investigated the then-fashionable Dutch Colonial style, giving the dwelling a gambrel roof and large dormers with shed roofs. A pair of columned porches with arched ceilings and small gable roofs brings attention to each of the separate entrances.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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