The only village located in Barton Township, Worth County, Iowa, is Bolan. It had its beginning when the Chicago Great Western Railroad was constructed in 1886; and named by the railroad roadmaster at that time, his name being Matt Bolan. The town was platted in December of 1885 and recorded in February 1886 on land owned by Anna Alexander. In the early 1900s, Bolan had a church, depot, elevator, grocery store, post office (1886-1934), two blacksmith shops, cream buying station, stockyards, coal and lumber yards, and school (1923-56) on the corner a quarter-mile west. There were passenger and freight trains daily. Populated to about 75 people in the Barton village with family names such as: Kenison, Whitcomb, Mowers, Thon, Hummel, Krusemark, Birdsall, Benish, Wambeam, Gearhart, White, Perkins, Smith, Olsen, DeMaris, West, Carberry, Anderson, Seater, McCready, Steiger, Burnett, Colby, Erdmann.
Worth County, Barton Township
1923-56, No. 2 Schoolhouse
There were rural schools one mile north and one mile south of Bolan. In 1922, the south school burned and the board decided to rebuild at the Bolan corner and combine the two into one two-room school. Barton No. 2 closed in 1956. Arthur H. White and his wife Ruth purchased the closed school and moved it to Bolan’s main street to replace the old store. It served as a grocery store until 1971, then Ruth’s antique store. George Hansen made Bolan the “Wagon Capitol of Iowa” and also sold lots of tile to area farmers. The school structure was an implement farm and feed store until 2002.
1940s, 29 businesses 18'x20' banner
Rent the Schoolhouse!
In 2007, an 11-member nonprofit Bolan Schoolhouse & Cultural Center board was formed and Barton No. 2 has since been restored and refurbished. It serves as, “A place where friends meet.” Educational and entertaining programs are hosted by the BSCC and the two-level, handicap accessible building is available to the public for rent. The upper-level has the original wood flooring and bell to ring. The 1940s 18’x 10’ school stage curtain with 29 businesses advertised has been replicated and is on display. The lower level has a full kitchen, tables and chairs for seating 80, and a bathroom with a shower, washer, and dryer. The BSCC is a member of “warmshowers.org” and has hosted overnight guests from all over the world.
Late Night with David Letterman
Sixteen residents of Bolan appeared as guests on Late Night with David Letterman, Wednesday, March 1, 1989. This was the result of Chuck Offenburger, the Des Moines Register’s “Iowa Boy” covering events and writing about Bolan in his column such as "Bitsy Bolan Boasting a Big Centennial Bash" with a Stand Still Parade in 1986; RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa being routed through in 1987; and the Register hosting a “Back-To-Bolan” celebration in 1988. All 16, along with oldest resident Agnes DeMaris’s granddaughter to accompany her, were flown by United Airlines to New York City for a three-day, two-night stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel overlooking Central Park. The show was recorded 5:30 pm on the 5th floor of Rockefeller Center, and televised that night at 11:30 pm on NBC following the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Other guests included comedian Jeff Altman, and model Cindy Crawford.
Trinity United Methodist Church
Services at 9:10 am, in person, followed by coffee fellowship
William Klinefelter began preaching in 1892, in a school house one mile north of Bolan. Charter member Byron P. Kenison organized the first Sunday School. Under the leadership of Rev. Charles Lang, the United Evangelical Church at Bolan was organized, and in February 1895, the building was dedicated. It burned down October 13, 1949, was rebuilt and the present building dedicated July 2, 1950.
Trinity United Methodist Church of Bolan celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2020. Services are led weekly at 9:10 am by Pastor Cory Allard. She also preaches in Manly at Bethel U.M. Church. It has been a two-point charge since 1968. Trinity is a traditional service filled with wonderful music and an active choir. Children are part of worship, Sunday school is available. Coffee fellowship is held weekly, and communion is the first Sunday of each month, and also held during Good Friday Services at 6:30 pm. Candle light Christmas Eve Services at 6:30 pm are a very meaningful and special tradition. The United Methodist Women’s organization has been a strong and active 5-Star Unit for many years and meets monthly. Vacation Bible School in its 14th year, hosts an average of 70, preschool – 5th grade students. With more than 50 volunteers, this has been a strong ecumenical event in the area. The 2021 theme is “Rocky Railway, Jesus Power Pulls Us Through!” and will be held in June.
During the pandemic
Vacation Bible School
2021 Group Photo.jpg
Park and Community
The Bolan Community has held fundraisers over the years to produce a railroad-themed park for the public to enjoy. It is parallel to the location of the railroad that was pulled out in the 1970s. It has a four-piece train, depot replica, water tower sandbox, teeter-totter, swings, and picnic tables under the big shady maple trees. The most recent community fundraiser was for the new sidewalk joining the schoolhouse on the south end with the church on the north end of town. At Christmas time, the community takes pride in ‘lighting up the town” making it worth the drive on the one street called Tulip Lane. It is also very beautiful in the summer with the flowers and well-kept landscaping of the residents. Current family names in the seven homes here: McCready, Nydegger, Willert, Bonner, Ausborn, Bull and Quam. There are many supporters beyond this Bolan perimeter that support and help keep the town going! Bolan hosts an annual fall event, the third Saturday of September. There is a pancake breakfast by the BSCC, UMW Bazaar, and luncheon, multi-route bicycle ride, live music, craft and produce vendors along the street. The 2021 program will be about Carrie Chatman Catt, the woman suffragist to commemorate the 100thanniversary of women’s right to vote.