Struble, Iowa is in Plymouth County, about thirty miles northeast of Sioux City, and not far from another place we recently visited, the similarly-named Ruble, Iowa.
According to the 2010 Census, Struble is a town of 78 residents, down from an all-time high of 327 in 1910. I was fooling around on Google Earth One day when I stumbled upon Struble, and we decided to visit so we could photograph the abandoned buildings in town. In April of 2016, we found ourselves daydreaming on Main Street in Struble, Iowa, photographing two old banks which stand side-by-side.
The Bank of Struble, built in 1917, stands right next to the former Farmers Savings Bank. It’s pretty unusual for two banks to stand right next to each other. In the years we’ve been exploring little places like Struble, this is the first time we’ve ever encountered this arrangement. If someone knows the story of these two banks, we’d love to hear it in the comments below.
This town has been the subject of some press coverage in recent years, spotlighted in 2008 by AP writer Magdalene Biesanz in a story about Struble resident David Hawkins’ massive collection of John Deere tractors, and again in 2011 in a story about Joe and Marilynn Vollmecke, dedicated public servants who gave generously of their time to keep this tiny city in good municipal shape.
Directly east of the Farmers Savings Bank, a new structure is going up. We were pretty happy to see it, since most of the time, they’re tearing buildings down in little communities like this, not putting them up. It seems to be a good sign for a community that reached an all-time low population of 59 in 1970. There were a few gentlemen working on the structure next to the bank, and we would have loved to talk to them and learn a little about Struble, but they were hoisting beams into place and we were reluctant to interrupt their work.
On the west edge of town is the amazing St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, which celebrated its centennial back in 2003.
The first part of the marker inscription reads: “Our Lady of Fatima statue was erected in 1958 in Memory of Barbara and James Groetken who died December 12th, 1957 in a truck-car-school bus accident south of Struble on their way to Gehlen Catholic Schools in Le Mars.”
The second part of the inscription on the marker reads: “This marker was dedicated August 10th, 2003 at the parish centennial celebration in memory of all the children of St. Joseph’s Struble and St. Mary’s Maurice who died in their youth.”
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media