Town Square, Fairfield, Iowa

Iowa and St. Louis Place Redevelopment Plan 009

The vibrant, fully occupied town square in Fairfield raises an interesting quandary; many of its buildings no longer possess their historic fronts, but they still house operating businesses. Is architectural uniformity and beauty more important than a healthy city? Certainly not, and while the storefronts of Fairfield with their hodgepodge of often disparate styles are not aesthetically perfect, the town square was buzzing with activity and life–certainly better than perfectly preserved but abandoned buildings.

Iowa and St. Louis Place Redevelopment Plan 003

In many ways, the miscellaneous styles create their own beauty, and definitely tell a fascinating story.

Iowa and St. Louis Place Redevelopment Plan 007

The alley between the square and courthouse has been converted into a cozy shopping district, linking the two foci of the town.

Iowa and St. Louis Place Redevelopment Plan 012

An interesting characteristic of local buildings is the presence of enclosed outer staircases on the side walls of commercial buildings.

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The cool Art-Deco style bank building on the northeast corner of the square fits in well, with its massing and proportions equal to its earlier neighbors.

Iowa and St. Louis Place Redevelopment Plan 005 Iowa and St. Louis Place Redevelopment Plan 006

6 Comments Add yours

  1. samizdat says:

    IOOF hall! DRINK!

  2. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

    Did anyone notice the blue 1920’s roadster in front of Henderson’s store in photo 3?
    The shot of the overhead wiring spaghetti reminds me of shots of “wiring” in a favela.

  3. samizdat says:

    A favela…or any other wretched hell-hole of a slum around the planet.

    I saw the roadster, too, but I’m smelling kit car, for some vague reason.

    1. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

      In retrospect – I’m thinking you are correct.
      1. The bright color blue was unknown on “peoples cars” of the era (of course, the color is up to the owner).
      2. The rear clip looks too smooth – like a fiberglass tub.
      3. The wheels, while correct artillery style with demountable rims (and correct OE Ford factory black finish), look like steel rather than wood.
      Although – if a repop car, to meet current safety rules, it would have to have twin stop lights and turn signals, which genuine old crocks can skate by without. I see no lighting on the RR.

  4. says:

    This shows the old adage that “history is

  5. Scott says:

    I used to live in Fairfield in 1989-91. I did extensive remodeling on the Parsons dorms, Peck’s bar, and other properties. I haven’t been back since and I was looking for some pictures of downtown. But I’m not sure anymore of what buildings face what direction, the fifth picture looks like the building we remodeled. On the second floor we uncovered a bunch of 100 year old signatures under the wall paper, high school students I guess. Next to it(east), we made a beauty salon. I wonder how many of these business’s are around. I remember while working on the ground floor of Peck’s I found an old silver dollar under the bar, the owner had it framed. I think I’ll road trip back there while gas is cheap and I have the time off from work. By the way nice pics.

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