ALL VETERANS MONUMENT
Located on the northwest corner of the courthouse lawn, the Veterans Monument includes two black granite blocks engraved with the six branches of the Armed Forces. An American flag stands between them, illuminated at night and flying over the monument. A walkway lined with bricks inscribed with the names of veterans or those supporting the veterans completes the monument. It also includes two concrete benches and flower pots.
Veterans Monument was planned by the American Legion Blakley-Stevens Post #169 for two years and was dedicated in a ceremony on Veterans Day, November 11, 2007. Keynote speakers before a large crowd were Colonel Dan Bunnell, a US Army veterans and former resident of Montezuma, and Congressman Leonard Boswell.
The dedication was followed by a veterans' supper held at the Memorial Hall. Following the supper, six sixty-year members were honored: John Morrissey, Dick Bowers, Gerold Lidtka, Dale Watts, Frank Wheeler, and Ray L. Thompson.
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT
In the spring of 1927, the members of GAR post of Montezuma purchased a red granite monument to be erected on their lot between the GAR building and Shearer Auto Company (now a vacant lot). Engraved on the stone were the names of 189 past and present members of the Post.
The two Civil War cannons purchased by the GAR in 1902 and standing in the courthouse park were to be placed on either side of the monument on specially erected foundations after the wheels were removed. In front and to the rear, flower beds and evergreens were planted to form a small park.
Of the 1489 former members, only six remained to help purchase and erect this tribute to the "Boys of Blue of 1861." They were comrades Wiltse, Bogard, Rodgets, Marsh, Carr, and Robinson.
The monument was dedicated on May 29, 1927, with addresses given by Clyde McFarlin and Frank Beckly. The streets in front of the GAR building were roped off and seats were placed in the street. Automobiles were then driven up to the rope and may sit in them during the program. Crowds also sat in the courthouse park across from the monument.
Damage to the cannon bases occurred in 1985, when vandals exploded a stick of dynamite between the cannon and the concrete base.
In September of 2013, the monument and cannons were moved from their longtime location near the GAR building to the northeast corner of the Poweshiek County Courthouse lawn.
BILL OF RIGHTS MONUMENT
The idea of a Bill of Rights Monument, the brainchild of Arizona comedian and juggler Chris Bliss, was spearheaded in Montezuma by retired local businesswoman Hazel Sig-Hester, who had heard about Mr. Bliss and the project. She contacted Mr. Bliss and indicated to him that she was interested in having this monument built in Montezuma.
Mr. Bliss and Ms. Sig-Hester met with the supervisors to discuss a location and design for the monument. They hosted an evening of fundraising and entertainment where enough money was raised to build the nation's first Bill of Rights monument at the north entrance to the courthouse.
The design of the area was drawn up and built by Bushong Construction. The sidewalk leading into the courthouse was changed to incorporate both the monument and a new flagpole. The monument and flagpole were centrally located within an oval area with the sidewalks passing on each side.
The unveiling and dedication of the monument occurred during the 2008 "Let Freedom Ring" celebration. Both Hazel Sig-Hester and Chris Bliss spoke to the crowd of about 400, where Ms. Sig-Hester encouraged everyone "to come back once a year and read the works on this monument. Always remember your rights and always be willing to fight for them," she said.
WORLD WARS MONUMENT
POWESHIEK COUNTY FREEDOM ROCK
The Freedom Rock, located on the southeast corner of the courthouse lawn, is the most current tribute to our veterans. Artist Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, painter of the rock, has been painting the original boulder located near Greenfield, Iowa, since 1999, to honor veterans' service to our country.
While painting murals across the country, Sorensen had the idea of spreading the message of the Freedom Rock to other small communities across Iowa, and the ideas of painting a rock in each of the ninety-nine Iowa counties was born. He has also painted murals and rocks in surrounding states.
The American Legion Post #169 applied for a rock to be painted in Montezuma, the county seat of Poweshiek County. A boulder was located on the John Roorda farm north of Montezuma and brought to town. Funds were raised through a fundraiser and the design for the boulder was drawn up by Mr. Sorensen.
The painting of the boulder was completed in August 2016. Four scenes drawn from Poweshiek County's military history were painted on the rock. They depict Captain Merlin Stoker, Rear Admiral Thomas Jefferson Cowie, Corporal Harold Keller, and Chief Poweshiek. The surrounding area, which includes a walkway around the boulder and a short wall behind, was landscaped by Bushong Construction.
The Freedom Rock was dedicated in a ceremony on September 11, 2016, before a crown of about 400 people.
TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT
In the summer of 2010, the First Presbyterian Evangelical Church was the recipient of a beautiful, five foot black marble monument featuring the Ten Commandments on the south side and the Beatitudes on the north side, as a gift from Hazel Sig-Hester.
She also placed a similar one at her home located a few miles south of Montezuma. When asked why she did give a wonderful gift, she said it was something she wanted to do for the community but it wasn't allowed on the courthouse lawn as the Bill of Rights monument was, so she donated to the church.
The church found a wonderful spot between two trees on the south side of their parking lot and Watts Vault & Monument, whose family had been a long time members of the church, donated the beautiful marble benches. Local congractor, Bushong Construction mounted the monument and the surrounding landscaping was completed by Kathy Gorsuch and Bryce Vander Kamp.
9-11 WORLD TRADE MONUMENT
Thomas and Aletta Sullivan lived in Waterloo, Iowa in the early 1900's where they raised their five sons - Albert, Francis, George, Joseph and Madison. Thomas and Aletta instilled the importance of a strong family bondy between the young brothers and their lives were build with a deep sense of commitment to each other.
After the bombing of Pearly Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the beginning of WWII, the Sullivan brothers decided they would do their part and on January 3, 1942, all five brothers enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Because of their 'we stick together' motto, their enlistment condition was they insisted they would all serve together on the same ship. The accepted Nacy policy then was to seperate family members, however the brothers persisted and their request was approved and were assigned to serve on the newly commissioned Light Cruiser the USS Juneau (CL-52).
The USS Juneau was assigned to a large task force that left New Caledonia on November 8, 1942 and headed for the island of Guadacanal in the Colomon Islands. They were bringing needed reinforcements and supplies to the outnumbered fighting Marines trying to hold that island. These American ships were met on November 13, 1942 by a larger Japanese naval force and the Naval Battle of Guadacanal began. During this battle, the USS Juneau was hit by an enemy torpedo and sank within minutes. All five of the Sullivan brothers lost their lives when their ship was sunk.
The tragic death of all the Sullivan brothers became the ultimate symbol of heroic sacrifice in WWII and an inspiration for others to enlist and to support the war effort by purchasing U.S. War Bonds.
In 1952, in order to honor their memory, one Crabapple tree was planted for each of the five Sullivan brothers on the capital grounds in Washington, D.C. The Crabapple tree which is located on the Poweshiek County courthouse lawn was planted in May 2000, and it came from a cutting from one of the original trees planted back in 1952.