Humeston, Iowa - "Where Things Get Done"
Community News

Emergency Decisions to be Made Regarding Continuation of Senior Meals Program in Humeston

Recent discussions regarding the Senior Meals Program have brought to light several challenges that must quickly be addressed if the program is to continue.  We have been informed that we can no longer store food items off-site to house food items for the program.  Equipment must also be upgraded to store frozen food items.

Donations are desperately needed to fund the building of a 10' x 12' foot storage shed and for two upright freezer units. Several community members have volunteered to build the storage building once funding has been secured.  Members of the Senior Meals Program Committee are seeking community support to acquire funding to proceed with the building and upgrading of equipment. 

If you would like to donate to the fund, please contact Janet Sponsler, Roma Anderson or LaVern Tueth.  If you would like to support this initiative by sending a donation by check, checks can be mailed to:

Great Western Bank
c/o Senior Meals Building Fund
206 Broad St.
Humeston, Iowa 50213

Thank you!

  Angel tree Going On Eighth Year!

by Linda Grismore

"The Angel Tree is what I have been doing for eight years now," said Amy Horton.

"I decided to start it when I saw a thing down here for Toys for Tots from Des Moines.  I was just thinking half the time I don't think our kids would get that stuff, I imagine it would go up that way, so it just kind of bothered me.

"My kids were in elementary at that time and I would see all the kids that didn't have things. I grew up around here and I have seen how some families live and how these kids are doing without so I thought, I have got to do something, so I created the Angel Tree.

"It is all in confidence.  The parents can come in and fill out a form that applies for their needs.  I fill it out on an angel.  You have little boy angels and little girl angels and I hang them on a tree.

"When you come in to buy for them, all you see is the angel hanging on the tree that is a boy or girl and their age and then it has their needs down below it.  You don't have to buy everything,  you can only buy one thing if you want but basically you adopt an angel."

Horton said, "After you buy the stuff you need, you can bring it in and I will go and deliver the presents.  Another guy and I have done it, but I have done it myself for the last two years.

"I have started it where the families can actually come in and pick up their stuff, which has helped me a lot.  They can come in and pick up their own gifts.  I know a lot of the families like to make it look like the gifts come from them."

Horton said, "We get a lot of donations from the people in the community.  I have an Angel Tree account where people can deposit money in the account or they will send me checks and I deposit the money.

"What I do with the money from that is buy gift certificates to the Front Street Market, so each family gets a gift certificate for groceries to go with their gifts.  It not only helps the families, but it helps the store and keeps it local.

"I think the very first year I had maybe 30 kids.  I only do the Mormon Trail district, because I know that Wayne County has 'Empty Stocking' and all that stuff.  I have had over 50 kids at one point but it varies from year to year.

"The teachers at school know about the Angel Tree and I give them a form every year so that if a parent doesn't feel comfortable contacting me or can't get a hold of me, they can contact their child's teacher and the teacher will give me the information.

"I will have the tree in the shop.  I just hang all the angels on it and I have them coded a certain way.  Say you wanted to come in and adopt an angel that you picked, I would write your name down with it and that code and your phone number.  Then I would provide a date for it to come back in.  If I didn't get it then, I would call you to stop by because I deliver gifts on those days."

"If the gift comes in unwrapped, I have people that donate their time, wrapping paper and tape to wrap the gifts.

Horton said, "I don't spend the entire amount of money at Christmas time. They each get a set dollar amount with their gift certificates, but the rest of the time, the money sits in the account throughout the year.

"We have people that have had house fires, and I've given them money to get started.  We have had people come through that ran out of gas and needed to get someplace and we've given them money.  If somebody is struggling medically we have given them money.

"We had one lady whose husband had gotten in to an accident and she needed to go to Iowa City and was driving back and forth.  I gave her some money to at least get a hotel room and stay there for the weekend or whatever.  She paid it back.  She said, "I want it to be available for somebody else if it's there."  Horton said, "It is not necessary, you don't have to pay it back but she wanted it to be there because it came in handy when she needed it.

"So it is used more than just at Christmas time."

If you would like to support this effort, donations for the Angel Tree can be mailed to:

P.O. Box 246
Humeston, Iowa 50123

Or if you are in Humeston and would like to donate, visit Great Western Bank and tell them you want to put money in the Angel Tree account. 
(article from the Humeston New Era)

Front Street Inn Opens!

by Willa Clark

A 110-year-old house in desperate need of repair on Humeston's Front Street has become a gracious and lovely inn, thanks to the efforts of Todd and Kari Lambirth. Front Street Inn hosted its first guests last week, when Kathy and Jeff DeKoter and their children spent nearly a week in Humeston.

Kathy's father Paul Gunzenhauser reports it was a comfortable arrangement, they could spend lots of time together, and "I didn't have to cook breakfasts."

Todd Lambirth said he wasn't sure what to expect when he agreed to look at the house, which was built in 1908 by Iowa Senator Joseph Doze.  He had been looking at houses in Chariton, with an eye for rental properties, when realtor Betty Hansen urges him to check out this one.  This house had been empty for some time, and sagging porches were overgrown with vegetation.

"This better be special on the inside." Lambirth thought as he approached the house.  As soon as he stepped in the door and saw the wood, from stately ceiling beams to oak floors, he knew he liked the house.  The unique open stairway clinched the deal.

At first, Todd Lambirth did not really know that the home would become an inn.  He just knew this was a wonderful house that needed to be saved.  The possibilities of an inn drew Kari on board.  She envisions not only an inn, but a landscaped yard that will host lovely weddings, parties and other events.  The spacious first floor allows intimate family time or is open to accommodate larger groups for meetings or events.  A three-season sun room is a comfortable spot to relax and could expand the dining area.

While an original coal burner still resides in the first-floor fireplace, it is not functional.  Guests will enjoy the comfort of newly installed central air and heating systems.  Todd Lambirth knows these old houses are famous for uneven temperatures, so a second central air and heat system in the attic serves the second floor.

The fireplace mantel had been removed, and the Lambirths searched high and low for a replacement that would match.  They finally found one in the Brass Armadillo in Kansas City.  That's not all they found.  A carved bedroom suite complete with radio cabinet, a unique ice chest that became a side tables and other antique furnishings filled the van as they returned to Front Street Inn.

While the Lambirths are still working on the details of marketing, their calendar is showing reservations.  Single rooms are available, or families may choose whole-house rental and , if they wish, do their own cooking.

The cupboards are fully stocked with fine dinnerware and cookware, along with basic spices, herbs and condiments for those who choose to cook their own meals.  Guests will find pancake mix, cereals and more for a simple breakfast.  For other meals, bring your own food or pick up supplies at the local grocery store, or dine out at a local cafe.  The kitchen is one room where the Lambirths focused on modern, rather than antique furnishings.

"We want to have all the amenities for our guests to stay here comfortably," Kari says.  Whether guests area cooking full meals or just using the frig for cold beverages, they will find the Inn's kitchen to be not only convenient, but also a comfortable place to gather.

Upstairs, four bedrooms feature furnishings period to the house, with the choice of new mattresses from pillowtop to firm.  Kari says her favorite would have to be the Lilac Room, where windows open to let in summer's south breezes and huge shade trees shelter from the sun.

"When you wake up in the morning, birds are singing in these trees," she says.  Other choices are Ivy, Sunflower and Rose rooms.

Renovating the house has been a lengthy process, but the Lambirths are experienced.  Todd heads up the graphic design department for Woodsmith Magazine at August Home Publishing in Des Moines.  His knowledge of woodworking has been a huge asset.  Kari operates Ellis Greenhouse in Lucas and has landscaping plans in the works for Front Street Inn.  Together, they have given new life to several houses over the years.

They also called on Darin Keller of Allerton, who has a history of home renovation.  He worked full-time nearly a year, and Todd and Kari spent every spare moment.  Original plaster was mostly in good shape, but crumbling wallpaper was removed and walls skim-coated.  Every bit of woodwork has been refinished.

"This old house has awesome bones," Todd says.  A sagging ceiling in the dining area was the only structural issue, and that was where a previous owner had cut through floor joists to install plumbing in the second floor.  In spite of the initial appearance with those sagging porches, the rest was structurally sound.

Todd and Kari say the community support has been almost overwhelming.  People thank them for taking an interest not only in the house, but also in the community.

"Everybody has a story about this house," Todd says.  Some point out the tree their grandparents planted, the rooms they used to play in or the fact that they almost lived in that house.  He is collecting those stories and researching the house's history.

And he's hoping a lot more people will make history of their own at Front Street Inn.  Whether  you are looking for a romantic get-away, or need a place for all those children and grandchildren to land when they come home to visit you, or are looking for a unique spot for your next meeting, Front Street Inn may be your place.  Contact Front Street Inn at, on facebook, or at 641-203-2643.  

Follow them on Facebook: 

(This article from the Humeston New Era.  Pictures from Front Street Inn Facebook page)

Great News from Humeston City Hall
A special announcement from City Hall:
Phase 1 of the ongoing beautification of the
City of Humeston is complete! 
Several years ago, citizens and friends of Humeston began a journey together to update and beautify the town.  Now, as one visits the city, they can stroll down safe sidewalks as they shop or enjoy the nice weather on one of the bright and friendly donated memorial benches.  Visitors will also enjoy the new town clock, freshly painted water tower, and continuing landscaping efforts throughout the town.
At this time, City Hall proudly announces that due to your generosity, the needs for memorial benches have been met!  Humeston City Hall would like to thank everyone who has donated memorial benches as well as those who have volunteered time, efforts and skill sets to plant trees, paint, wire, fund raise and bring to life the vision of Phase 1. 
As we enter Phase 2, new projects and needs arise.  Some of those new needs focus on the continuing development of the RV Park, Humeston Union Depot & Museum complex and the ongoing needs of the Chris Street Memorial Park. 
In Phase 2, Humeston City Hall would like to install permanent picnic tables at the RV Park.  These picnic tables will continue to offer families the ability to enjoy all that our town has to offer.  Much like the memorial benches, the picnic tables may be donated as a memorial to a loved one, or sponsored by a class, business, or individual.  Plaques indicating the memorial or sponsorship will be installed with the picnic tables.
Another goal during Phase 2 is to install permanent trash recepticles throughout the city to encourage continuing efforts to keep the city clean and safe.
If you or someone you know would like to discuss  memorial picnic table donations or sponsorships or learn more about the city needs during Phase 2, please contact Humeston City Hall at 641-877-6841. 
With continued teamwork and ongoing efforts and enthusiasm, we are certain that Phase 2 will be as successful as Phase 1 and look forward to these new opportunities to continue the beautification of our beloved town!
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