Special thanks to my aunt, Marge Kimble,
for sending me this article from The Burlington Hawk-Eye.
It was originally published on Sunday, June 1, 1969, page 13.
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New London — Former editor of The New London Journal, E. E. Wessel, says that he knows of no other town in the midwest of comparable size which has felt the generosity of its citizens more abundantly than has New London.
The town received its first donation in the same year that it was surveyed and received the present name.
In 1837 John J. King gave a plot of ground to be used as a city park. The park is a square city block and is located in the center of town on US 34.
Wessel said that it was almost a century before the next sizable gift was made.
Henry J. Nugen, a wealthy bachelor farmer, made a bequest of $10,000 in 1935 to buy a library. A 210-acre farm and other assets were also given to stock the library.
The H. J. Nugen library has functioned on this money and has been staffed by the city for 32 years.
Nugen must have turned on the green light for donations. Since his time the town has received over $300,000 in donations.
Rebecca Clark, the last of eight siblings, who died in April of 1958 at the age of 88 years, gave approximately $150,000 worth of property and other assets to build a new school, according to New London City Attorney Robert L. Hansen.
Clark elementary school was built and has been in use since the fall of 1965.
In February of 1965 Wessel said that "Judge" F. W. Walter, a lawyer and justice of the peace, died leaving $50,000 in trust with the New London State bank.
Hansen said that the donation is used as a scholarship for New London Community high school students who plan to enter the fields of home economics or teaching.
The Frances T. Codner and Cora V. Walter scholarship is awarded annually.
Not only do residents give their money to the town but last fall John Woodside, a former resident of the town no living in California, gave $50,000 to the school district to construct a swimming pool.
Donald J. Bell, Hansen's associate and president of the New London State bank, also donated $50,000 for the same purpose a short time after Woodside's gift.
The people of the town have more than matched the sum total of the two through the sale of a goat (several times) for $2,300 and other projects.
Hansen said that the pool will be built within the school complex and will be used by the students free of charge.
Start Pool Soon
Construction of the swimming pool will be started this summer by H. Eugene Smith, Mt. Pleasant contractor.
As well as gifts to institute new programs such as a pool or a library, the people also give money to improve on the old.
Lester Ramey, a retired farmer who died last fall, left $30,000 to allow the town to build a new building for the now crowded H. J. Nugen library.
Plans for the new library are being drawn up by William J. Wagner, of Wetberell, Harrison, Wagner, and McKlveen Architects, Des Moines.
In considering possible reasons New London has been so fortunate, Wessel said that he drew two conclusions.
The town's benefactors have been, as a group, either single or, if married, childless.
Secondly he said that as he has studied and known the benefactors they were conservative, economically speaking. Careful with their money.
The former editor and publisher said the town must be well liked because it is the only town in the state to his knowledge which has never had a population recession. Even if a few gandy dancers were counted one year.