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Welcome to Historic Ely, Iowa  

Visit our new blog, ELY HISTORY
    See info on Fackler's Grove Cemetery Restoration, unidentified photos, and more!

Sponsored by the Ely Historic Preservation Commission and the Ely Community History Society, Inc., these pages showcase on-going historical projects:

bullet Preservation of historically significant buildings in the town of Ely
bullet Ely's "Dows Street Historic District" now listed on the National Register of Historic Places
bullet The Ely Community Center building now listed on the National Register of Historic Places
bullet Preservation of history of the town and surrounding rural community, including Shueyville & the unincorporated town of Western.
bullet Development of the Ely Community History Center and Archives Room at the Ely Community Center building

Ely is a community with strong Czech ethnic identity and a well-documented history of the patterns typical of Iowa small town growth.  The small Dows Street commercial district with its wood-frame late Victorian buildings is most unusual and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of November 14, 2003.  The Ely school house, now the Ely Community Center, was listed on on the National Register of Historic Places September 20, 2006.

Because of Ely's location in the northern part of the booming corridor between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, its population has more than tripled in the past fifteen years and is now approximately 1,500.   Encircling residential developments threaten the cohesion of the town and weaken its self-image.  A 2002 survey of the citizens, new and old, shows a strong desire to maintain small town identity and values.  Preservation and documentation of Ely's small town history strengthens that goal.

MAP:  Scan of the Ely area from an 1897 State of Iowa Railroad Map, with Ely at right center. The dividing line between Linn County on the north, and Johnson County on the south runs just below  "Western College", which is now the unincorporated town of Western.  Shueyville is less than a mile south of Western.
     Danforth, a post office from 1858 to 1901, was located in Sec. 3, Monroe Township, Johnson County, west of where the town of Swisher now stands.  Gregg, located in the eastern part of Sec. 14, Monroe Township, Johnson County, was a post office from 1879 to 1899.

 Web Site by B. Horak
 Updated 3-27-15