History & Literature

Book Vault:  A History of the White Pillars and Vaults (from www.bookvault.org) “The cozy building we now call home to Book Vault has witnessed Oskaloosa since 1892. It humbly began as a bank, and would be called home for three other banks until 1962. For the next 30 years it would house Oskaloosa’s Abstract legal documents while quietly watching history unfold on the Square. In 1997, history called the White Pillars home as antiques filled the marble lined walls and vaults. The history lives on inside as we now call the White Pillars building the Book Vault. The historic charm of the marble walls, vaults, and stained glass ceiling house so much more than books and other unique items. The White Pillars have stood tall against the test of time.” Book Vault is located on the west side of the square in downtown Oskaloosa and has books for all ages, kitchen gadgets, and supports many local book clubs.


History: Nelson Pioneer Farm Daniel and Margaret Nelson settled their farm in 1843. They raised six children on the farm. Two Civil War veteran mules made their home with the family. In 1959 when grandchildren Roy and Lillian died, the farm became the home to the Mahaska County Historical Society. Since 1960 the Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum have been honoring the rural pioneer, sharing his life and her thoughts through the place they lived, the skills they had and the items they left behind. A visit to Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum is a walk in the past. Open May through October, enjoy buildings tours and demonstrations (2211 Nelson Lane, 4 miles northeast of Oskaloosa), 641.672.2989.


Oskaloosa Public Library:  This restored Carnegie library first opened its doors in 1903 as a result of a drive spearheaded by the Oskaloosa Women’s Club and a generous donation of $20,000 from the Carnegie Foundation. The Library’s first book collection came from the Mahaska County YMCA library. Located just one block south of the Oskaloosa City Square and business district, the Oskaloosa Public Library has served as an easily accessible hub of information and resources in the downtown area for 110 years.is located just one block off the square and is continuing its 100+ year history of serving as an educational and informational resource. 301 South Market, 641.673.0441


Oskaloosa Bandstand: On May 9, 1970 the Des Moines Tribune carried a beautifully written, half-page article by journalist Lillian McLaughlin about the band and bandstand: “The 58 year old bandstand set like a fancy cupcake in the center of City Park is Oskaloosa’s Eiffel Tower, its Trevi Fountain, its Plymouth Rock – a symbol of community pride. A replica of Oskaloosa’s gazebo rode on an American Federation of Musician’s float in the inaugural parade of the late President John F. Kennedy.” Each Thursday evening at 8 p.m. during the summer months (June-August) the Oskaloosa Municipal Band gathers in the bandstand located to perform as it has every summer since 1864. Click here to read more about the band…