We spotted the Munson Building from a block away, and immediately our interest was piqued. At first, we thought it was the old Buchanan County Courthouse, and then, when we got a little closer, we assumed it was a church.
Then we got up close, and I spotted the figure of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom reading a book, and we realized this was a special building, and never any of those earlier functions. As the National Register nomination explains, this was a community center, built was money left in 1895 by a successful businessman, Perry Munson..
Building off German notions in the Nineteenth Century of developing both the mind and the body, the Munson Building was both a library and gym, allowing for young people to exercise all aspects of their persona. I couldn’t figure out what it is used for now.