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Our History

Greene County Courtyard

Greene County was named for General Nathaniel Greene, a Revolutionary War hero.

The first settler to Greene County in 1849 was Truman Davis, settling close to the present town of Rippey and near the Raccoon River, just South of Squirrel Hollow.

The Courthouse

In 1854 Greene County was officially organized and in 1856 the first courthouse on the town square of Jefferson was built. Prior to 1856 Judge Phillips held court in a log cabin located southeast of Jefferson.

Our present courthouse was dedicated in 1917. Three structures have been located on the present site in Jefferson. The first, a wooden structure, was built in 1856 at a cost of $1,825.00.

The second building on this site, more often referred to as the Red Brick courthouse, was built in 1870.

The current building was built at a cost of nearly $180,000.00 and was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Some of its most prominent features, materials and architecture are modeled in many State Capitols throughout the United States.

Abraham Lincoln Statue

The Abraham Lincoln Statue was erected in 1918 as a gift from local resident E. B. Wilson to honor the first highway across the United States. This monument serves to commemorate the Lincoln Highway, which crossed through Jefferson and directly in front of the monument.

Lindsey Memorial

The Lindsey Memorial once stood at the Lindsey Air Station in Wiesbaden, Germany. When this Air Force base was closed, the monument was returned in 1993 to Greene County, the home county of Captain Darrell Lindsey. Lindsey was a World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipient whose B-26 airplane took a direct hit and by his skillful maneuvering, the crew was able to parachute to safety. Captain Lindsey went down with his aircraft on his 46th bombing mission.

Mahanay Bell Tower

The Mahanay Bell Tower, located on the southwest corner of the Greene County courthouse plaza in downtown Jefferson, was given to the people of Jefferson and Greene County in accordance with the wills of Mr. and Mrs.Floyd Mahanay. The tower is 168 feet - 2 inches high and holds 14 bells that were cast at the world famous Petit & Fritzen Bell Foundry in the Netherlands. The bells chime on the hour, quarters and half-hour and music can be played from an electric keyboard. The tower has music playing daily. The cost of the tower was approximately $350,000 and was dedicated Sunday, October 16, 1966. The 14-story tower commands a breathtaking view of Jeffeson and the countryside of five counties. Visitors can take a glass elevator ride to the 120-ft. observation deck. Rides are $2 for adults, $1 for children 5 and under. The tower is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day 12 pm - 4 pm and weekends only in May and September. Other times by appointment by calling 515-386-2155.
    Greene County Courthouse
    Courthouse hours 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
    114 N. Chestnut Street
    Jefferson, IA 50129
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