City of Garwin, Iowa

GARWIN CITY HALLGarwin band stand
205 Main Street

Garwin, IA  50632
(641) 499-2307 

Council meets monthly, 1st Monday, 6 pm
Mayor Leonard Untiedt
Ricky Raymond
Lorri Waite
Tonia Meling
Darcy McCubbin
Matthew Deam

Garwin owes its existence to the fact that in 1879, at the county seat in Toledo, which is southeast of Garwin’s location, the Toledo and Northwestern Railroad was sold to the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.  After the sale, the line was extended northwestward from Toledo.  Other towns sprang up along the tracks, but Garwin was the first station beyond Toledo.

There was difficulty in giving the townsite a name.  The first name chosen was Maple, or some say, Myrcle.  Neither was an overwhelming favorite.  The next choice was Marvin in honor of Marvin Hewitt, an official of the Northwestern railroad, but another town already bore that name.  When the site was being considered, several landowners were interested in selling their land for that purpose, among them being George Rider and John Galvizer.  After much controversy, these two men won out and a message was sent to Toledo:  “G (for Glavizer) and  R (for Rider) win”.  This was construed to be Garwin and the town had its name.

9 Comments on “City of Garwin, Iowa”

  1. Sally R. Kennedy March 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    My Name is Sally R. Kennedy. I am looking for any Information regarding Mary C. McCollister.. Birth 1875 or 1872. Death 1941. She is buried in Turner Cemetary Garwin Iowa. I am looking for Obituary,Plot information,Death certificate, I would also would like a email # for your Historical Society.
    Thank You and let me know if their are fees involved.

    Sally R. Kennedy Email

  2. Marc Adami June 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    A very special thank you to Jeremy Vaverka who took his trusty metal detector and found my wedding ring, lost on Ragbrai last year. He was the one and only person from Garwin to contact me and make the effort to look – as far as I am aware. He found and promptly returned my wedding ring and my wife and I are forever grateful. Thank you!! And if you ever need to find something metalic, I highly recommend Jeremy.

  3. Peter Nolting November 5, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    Good Day,
    My name is Peter Nolting , my aunt Martha Sierk (Bebensee) lived in Garwin for many years , she arrived from Germany by ship at Ellis Island in 1923 as an 18 year old au pair accompanied by her father Gustaf Bebensee my maternal grandfather.

    She later married John ? Sierk . My mother Marilene visited on a few occasions from Johannesburg, South Africa
    I am trying to obtain some background and family history and wonder whether there are any persons in Garvin that remember or know some background about Martha’s life in Garvin.
    Thank You.
    Peter Nolting.

    • Dinny Nielsen January 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      As a former Garwin resident I remember Martha. My dad used to do her income taxes and she translated letters from our German landlady from when my husband was stationed in Germany with US Army 1970-1971.

    • Paul Lorensen January 14, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      Hi Peter,
      My name is Paul Lorensen and my family lived across the street to the west of Mrs. Sierk (as we addressed her when we were children growing up). She always seemed like a very proper, clean, old, German lady. I grew up in the 50s and 60s and my parents maintained their home in Garwin . I believe Martha may have moved to town from the farm after her husband died. She kept her yard very tidy,
      had a big vegetable garden and lots of flowers. I remember she spoke with an accent and I do remember her sister (your mother) visiting from South Africa.
      My mother always said she (Mrs Sierk) was like a “mail-order” bride. I don’t know if it was true or not. Mom said that the old German farmer (Sierk) didn’t think any American women would be good enough for his sons, so he sent to Germany to get a good strong solid proper German wife for his son. I don’t remember exactly if old farmer Sierk had 2 sons and he sent for 2 women, or if Martha was accompanied by another girl her age for some other man. It’s too vague in my
      Garwin, as were many of the small Iowa towns around it, was made up of predominately persons of German and Danish ancestry. My grandmother, Rosa Bartling Lorensen grew up in a similar Iowa town. And although she was born in
      USA in 1885, she could only speak and understand German until she started kindergarten and was forced to learn and speak English. I believe she knew and socialized with your aunt Martha more than my parents did. Maybe have her over
      to her home for an adult birthday party- only women, playing canasta, having cake and coffee on her good china which would have been kept with her other good dishes in the corner cabinet. Oh, and absolutely no alcohol. As a child I remember going to a neighboring town for kinderfest celebration-only little kids-around May 1st every year. Polka, maypoles. The original name of that town was Berlin (but name of town changed to Lincoln after the 1st WW broke out) ;-).
      I hope you get this note!

  4. Peter Nolting January 15, 2015 at 12:11 am #

    Thank you for the interesting details of my Aunt Martha Sierk,
    As far as I know she came to the USA alone accompanied by her father Gustav Bebeensee my maternal grandfather. He passed away in about 1945 and her mother in 1947, so she never saw her parents again.
    She visited us in South Africa in about 1963, my mother and father together visited her once and my mother more often.
    Regards Peter Nolting.

  5. Karen R. Deck June 14, 2021 at 9:09 pm #

    My great grandfather was one of Garwin’s doctors, Dr. Frank Trowbridge Launder. He practiced there in Garwin from 1901 to around the 1940s. He and his wife, Lena (Jenkins) Launder were very active in the community. I was wondering if anyone has more information about him and his practice or their lives there during that time.

  6. Katie Johnson June 19, 2021 at 12:43 am #

    My grandmother SARAH JANE GODFREY was 16 when she gave birth to her firstborn in 1879. She was married to Timothy William D Haskell – I want to find out about the Godfreys. I know nothing about her parents…I believe she left him in 1903 and moved to NE taking their 2 children with her.
    March 17, 1853- July 30,1955-Sarah Jane Godfrey . Mr. Haskell is buried in Garwin. Does anyone have any information to share with me? I was trying to find if Garwin has a historical society or museum?

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