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Nashua is home to some interesting historical spots, one in particular is quite famous, others will give you some insight into what it was like living during the early years when Nashua was actually two towns: Nashua and Bradford. The other, a valued gift to the community from an historic benefactor. All in all Nashua, and the surrounding area has a wealth of historic places to visit.


Little Brown Church in the Vale  2730 Cheyenne Ave. Nashua, IA 50568

Located just three miles from the Avenue of the Saints (hwy 27/218), The Little Brown Church was made famous by the song, "The Little Brown Church in Vale" or as it was originally written, "The Church in the Wildwood", by William Pitt, a music teacher who was passing through town on the stagecoach.  He had seen this wooded spot while walking down the street and it inspired him. Interestingly enough, at the time of writing the church didn't physically exist. There was, at that time an established Puritan-Congregational Church that had formed and they were meeting in various places around the town of Bradford. (see the "History" page for more information on Bradford) They soon made plans to build a church. Providentially, the very lot where William Pitt had envisioned a church was donated by the family that owned it and soon a church building stood in the exact spot. At the time the cheapest paint they could purchase was Ohio Mineral Paint, great wood protector but...brown.  The bell was hung and the church completed in 1864.

Pitt was hired as a music teacher for the Bradford Academy. He had simply tucked away the song away and forgotten about it. When he arrived back in Bradford, there, in the very spot he had romanced about, stood a little brown church. The interesting thing is that the congregation had no idea that Pitt had penned the song and that the church in his song was, indeed, brown. Pitt dug out the song and taught it to his class who sang it at the church dedication.

Each year, this little country church is sought out by people from all over the world to exchange their vows in. To date, over 70,000 marriages have been performed there. Services are held regularly and the church hosts a lively, warm congregation. For further history and information on the Little Brown Church in the Vale, visit the official website at www.littlebrownchurch.org .

The church is nestled amongst the pine trees and there are ample grounds for wedding receptions and reunions. It boasts a small but beautiful prayer garden on the grounds behind the church. Picture of the Prayer Garden behind the Little Brown ChurchVisiting the Little Brown Church is a pleasent and a memorable one. It is an enduring icon of faith and history here.

Pastor: James Clifford Mann
email: info@littlebrownchurch.org

Sunday Worship Service 10:30 a.m. with sing-a-long at 10:15 a.m. 

Everyone Welcome!



Bradford Pioneer Museum
Located near the Little Brown Church on Hwy 346, the Bradford Pioneer Museum has it's roots all the way back to 1836 when the area was an Indian trading post. Originally Bradford was the hub of activity, it was the the county seat of Chickasaw County and the area possessed and abundance of natural resources. Water for mills, trees for lumber land for grain and the potential of the railroad coming through town encouraged growth. The town once boasted 4 hotels, mills, blacksmith and the Bradford Academy. One of the first academies in Iowa, the Bradford Academy was the academic equivalent to High School. William S. Pitts, author of the song "Church in the Wildwood" or "The Little Brown Church in the Vale," who was both a physician and music director, taught at the academy.

The railroad made the decision to run it's line through Nashua and New Hampton effectively causing Bradford to wither away. Now, all that remains as part of the town of Bradford is The Little Brown Church. In tribute to those early pioneers, the Bradford Pioneer Museum shows a glimpse of what it was like to live in the area at the time with period buildings and exhibits. Every year in May, they sponsor a Civil War re-enactment called the "Battle of Bradford." It is an enjoyable stroll through the village and many of the buildings are open during the summer for touring.


Carnegie Library

The first library of Nashua was started with books donated at a book shower. These books were gathered in a room over the Bartish & Nafus Racket Store along with books from the traveling library out of Des Moines. The first librarian was Miss Fanny V. Eastman. In 1903 the library was moved to a building on Madison Street after a 3-mill tax was passed in 1902 to cover expenses.


In 1903 several members of the Nashua Isabella Club began corresponding with Mr. Andrew Carnegie asking for

enough money to build a library facility in Nashua. The correspondence was, however, one-sided. Some of the

residents of Nashua joked that Mr. Carnegie did not give libraries to such small towns! Others commented we must

have a least $10,000 before he would even consider us worthy of notice. But the women of the Isabella Club had a mission and they were not going to be easily discouraged. Their correspondence continued for months with Mr. Carnegie. Close to a year passed and like a thunderbolt from a clear sky a proposition arrived from Mr. Carnegie - an offer of $5,000 to put up a building if the council would support the tax and the citizens furnish the site.

The council accepted the conditions, the site was secured, the plans and specifications were drawn and the contractor was hired. Nashua was going to have a library building that they could be proud of. The Carnegie Library

was completed in 1905 and dedicated in 1906.

The Carnegie Library served the community of Nashua for 80 years. In 1986 a building addition to the Carnegie was completed. The Carnegie Library had become too small to adequately meet the needs of the community. The new

addition has 3,000 square feet for the lobby, furnace room and bathroom. The facility was totally paid for by local donations and grants when the doors opened.

As Mr. Andrew Carnegie's generosity provided the community with a beautiful library, it is the communities support that has kept the shelves filled with books and the door open for close to a century.



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