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The Ely Community History Center

It is acknowledged that one of the greatest factors in the economic development of a community is that it has a sense of place. The History Center contributes to that cultural identity, making Ely more attractive to commercial enterprises needed to balance the tax base for all of the town's citizens. Both the surrounding neighborhood and the town of Ely were heavily settled by Czech immigrants. The history center affords a centralized place to archive this unique ethnic background as well as documenting all aspects of the area history.

The History Center is housed in the Ely Community Center. City government offices, City Council Chambers, a senior dining facility, and meeting rooms are also located within the building. Historic wall displays throughout the building document the history of Ely and its surrounding area.

The Ely School, built in 1923, is now the Ely Community Center.
It houses the History Center and Archives Room.
Wall space in rooms and corridors hold displays showcasing area history.

Wall Displays can be viewed Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • The building is closed Saturday and Sunday, unless special events are scheduled.
  • The building is often open evenings due to meetings of various civic and non-civic organizations.

The archives room has been established on the second floor to house important documents, books, maps, government &community organization history, biographies, obituaries, town histories and family histories, church and cemetery information, scrapbooks and clippings, as well as historic photos, not just from Ely, but from the surrounding rural areas, and including the town of Shueyville and the unincorporated town of Western, Iowa. Present holdings include over 60 collections and 1,000 photos.

A view of the growing number of collections in our Archives Room.

Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Please call ahead (319) 848-4963 or (319) 848-4074 to make sure we are going to be there before coming in, or to schedule an appointment for another day and time.
We are happy to make appointments for you to research in the archives.

RESEARCH BY SOCIETY MEMBERS is available for a suggested donation of $10.00 per hour.

If you have information, photos, documents or stories relevant to area history please contact us for inclusion into our archives. Documents and photos can be copied or scanned via portable computer at your residence if you wish. Help us preserve our history!

The history society applies for grants from public and private foundations, but it also needs your contributions toward on-going projects. Donations are tax-deductible.

Make your tax-deductible check to:
Ely Community History Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 191
Ely, IA 52227-0191