Rolfe News 2004

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Rolfe Alumni Reunion 2013
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Rolfe's Main Street in the 1960s. Photo provided by Lorene Hansen. Click on image for larger view. Click here for photos of construction of the community center.
  Rolfe School Building Fundraiser
  Rural Iowa 2005 Calendar Published
  Aerial Photo of Rolfe Area
  Sale of Rolfe Calendars to Benefit C.C.
  LIONS to sell Rolfe Rams T-Shirts & pins
  Local school news and editorials
  Former Rolfe beautician writes two books
  Rolfe author has book published
  Rolfe Tapestry Throws and Cookbooks
  City Hall and Rolfe Enrichment Contacts
  Pocahontas Record-Democrat Information
  Archive of Main Street Development Stories

Rolfe's new community center on August 25, 2003. Click photo for larger view.

Rolfe School Building Fundraiser

 I submit the following to the Pocahontas Record-Democrat as a Letter to the Editor and to the Rolfe High School Alumni Web as an open letter to Rolfe graduates.

As you know the PAC school board has decided that the old portion of the Rolfe School building will be destroyed rather than repaired.  According to contractors, it would cost $175,000, plus the insurance money, to repair it.

I propose that Rolfe graduates, or any one else that would like  to contribute, come up with the $175,000 and present it the school district as a gift in exchange for repairing and continuing to use the Rolfe School.  We would be helping not only the town that we love, but we would have a building to tour when we convene for our All Class Reunions.

I have opened an account in the Rolfe State Bank called Save-The-School Fund.  Anyone that would like to contribute can send or bring a donation to the bank and deposit it in that account.  When the account reaches the goal of $175,000, the account will be closed to further donations.  Contributions received by mail after this time will be returned.   A check for the total amount in the fund will then be presented to the PAC school board as discussed above.  If  this money is accepted and the building is repaired, the situation with the PAC school district will then have been returned to where it was before bricks started to fall off the south wall of the Rolfe School this last spring.   If the  PAC board declines the offer, the money will  be returned to the contributors and interest given to the town of Rolfe to be spent as the town council determines.  If the goal is not reached before the school is destroyed, the money will also be returned  and the interest given to the town of Rolfe.

This issue is time critical.  Plans are already being made to bring together bids for the destruction of our school.  I urge you to contribute to this cause for the town and for yourselves.

Mike and Kaye Calligan
Altus, OK

Rural Iowa 2005 Calendar Published

Photographer Helen Gunderson (RHS 1963) has created a color photography calendar for 2005 that includes rural Iowa scenes of grain elevators, corn cribs, barns, and field work. Several of the images are from the Rolfe area. The 12-month calendars are available from Big Table Books in Ames and directly from Helen via her Gunder-friend Productions web site. In 2003, she created a variety of calendars that focused specifically on Rolfe, including one called Retrospectively Rolfe. It consisted of historic black and white images from throughout the 20th Century that Helen had either collected or photographed. Unless there is a huge outcry for her to publish that calendar again for 2005, she will wait and make it available during the all-class reunion next July for use in 2006.

Rolfe elevator scene

Interesting Aerial Photo of Rolfe

We've discovered a fascinating site at Iowa State University called the Iowa Geographic Image Map Server. It has aerial photos as well as USGS shaded relief maps, topographic maps, and land cover maps for the entire state. A visitor can zero in on specific counties and properties. The most recent material is the set of 2002 color infrared aerial photos. We really liked the black-and-white aerial photo of the Rolfe area from a decade or so earlier. We have posted the photo in large, medium, and small formats.

Photo cropped to show mainly Rolfe. Click on it for larger view.
Rolfe native offers pottery in Pocahontas

RHS graduate, Steven J. Graeber takes up pottery. Read the Record-Democrat article.

Rolfe School Building damage of 2004

Here are a series of articles relating to the damage and decision making related to the Rolfe Community School building damage of 2004.

Tornado of 2004

Please click here to go to the tornado information page. The May 21, 2004 tornado damaged the Rolfe Golf Course, cemetery and local residents prior to the greater damage to the town of Bradgate.

Sale of Rolfe Calendars to Benefit Community Center

Helen Gunderson has created three photo calendars of Rolfe scenes for use in 2004. The most intriguing is called Retrospectively Rolfe and contains a collection of black and white images from about 1903 to 1996. Many of the photographs are ones that Helen has borrowed over the last several decades from old-time residents of the Rolfe area.

There are a few copies of the calendar for sale at the Rolfe Public Library. They cost $5.00 apiece with the proceeds going to the library.

Interested persons may go to the calendar section of the Gunder-friend Productions web site and preview the images used in the calendars, check on prices, obtain other information, and find an order form.

Helen is a 1963 graduate of Rolfe High School and editor of the RHS Alumni Web Site. In the summer of 1993, she moved  back to Iowa from the Napa Valley in California and has made her home in Gilbert, just north of Ames.

LIONS Club Sells Rolfe Rams T-Shirts and Pins

The local Rolfe LIONS Club is conducting a fundraising event selling T-shirts and pins. The shirts and pins feature a Rolfe Ram design based on an original drawing by local artist Mona Majorowicz.

The Rolfe Ram pins are $3.00. The T-shirts are $10.00 plus $3.00 shipping/handling (if mailed) and are available in sizes L, XL and XXL. To get your T-shirt, contact a Rolfe LIONS club member or LIONS treasurer LeRoy Simonson by phone (712-848-3959).

Click on the image of Jim Martin for a larger view.

Jim Martin

Local School News and Editorials

The Pocahontas Record-Democrat newspaper has recently published some articles and opinions on the current condition and future of the local school district.

  Taylor's Topics - perspective on the importance of our school.
  PAC & Laurens-Marathon discuss sharing a superintendent
  PAC Enrollment Plummeting

Former Rolfe Beautician Writes Two Books

Many RHS graduates and other Rolfe people may remember Dorothy Farlow. She was the single mom who operated a beauty shop in her white, two story, frame house just south of the main entrance of the school. Dorothy eventually remarried and moved from Rolfe. She is now Dorothy Gravlund, lives in Ayrshire, and has written two books that her son Jerry Farlow (RHS class of 1955) has posted on the Internet. As Dorothy says in the introduction to her web page:

"My name is Dorothy Gravlund and I would like to invite you to read two small books that I have written. The first one, Did I Tell You Spot Likes to Run, tells about and Iowa childhood from the 1920s and 30s, and the second book, Just What Does Go on in the Beauty Shop, tells about my experiences as a beauty operator in a small Iowa town during the 1950s and 60s. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them."

We've convinced Jerry to shift Dorothy's work and his class of 1955 web site to our Rolfe alumni server. We're also working on him to make Dorothy's work available in a PDF file format that visitors can easily download, print, and read at their leisure in a conventional manner (i.e. away from the computer with a cup of hot coffee or herbal tea and maybe snuggled under a warm blanket on the couch during these cold winter days.) We'll keep you posted when Jerry has provided the PDF files.

Rolfe Author Has Book Published

Iowa authors James W. Roland, a rural Rolfe resident, and William H. Spetman will hold a book signing event. on Saturday, Dec. 14, from l-3 p. m. at Fran's World of Beauty/Praise Shop, 516 South Phillips, Algona, IA.

Their new book "The Chronicles of Seth: In Pursuit of Giants," has been published under the pen names Peter R. Sterling and Augustus R. Kelvin.

Featuring illustrations by acclaimed Canadian artist Lewis Lavoie, this adventure romance story is set in the time before the Biblical flood. A young army officer must rescue the woman he loves, and save them both from the world's most destructive weapon.

Copies are now available at Fran's World of Beauty/Praise Shop in Algona. Discover the World of Seth at: For more information, please contact James Roland at (712) 848-3225,

Roland was born and raised in Atlantic, and educated at home from the fourth to the 12th grades by his parents Warren and Amy Jo Roland.

He holds a B.A. in history from Northwestern College (St. Paul, MN) and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Christian thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). Aside from writing and academics, Roland enjoys interests in travel, art, philosophy, sailing and outdoor adventuring.

Formative influences in fiction for him have been C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Stephen Lawhead. He resides in Rolfe with his wife Heidi and children Sophia, Maria and Peter.

William Spetman was born and raised in Iowa and currently resides in Atlantic. He holds a B.A. in business administration. Spetman's interest in writing began in grade school. Growing up on farms, he would sometimes sit in the hayloft of the barn on 'rainy days and write stories.

His awareness of the validity of creation science started at the Atlantic Evangelical Free Church which he still attends, and has been a major interest of his for almost 20 years. Creationist scientists such as Henry Morris, Duane Gish, Ken Ham, and others are authors who have influenced him.

from the Pocahontas Record-Democrat, December 11, 2002 page 4B

Rolfe Tapestry Throws and Cook Book for Sale

The Rolfe Enrichment committee, which is the main force behind the new community center, has announced two new fund-raising projects. It has created a design for a tapestry throw depicting scenes from Rolfe and the surrounding area. The committee is also recruiting recipes from current and former residents and friends of the town for a cookbook. The committee will sell both items and have them ready for delivery in time for Christmas presents.

(Click here to go to an archive of complete coverage of Main Street happenings from the razing of the tall buildings on the east side of the street to the progress of raising funds and planning for a new community center.)

Rolfe City Hall

Telephone: 712-848-3124
Address: 320 Garfield; Rolfe, Iowa, 50581
E-mail address:

Bill Winkleblack with the Rolfe Enrichment Committee
(he can be reached at the Rolfe State Bank where he is the executive vice president) 

Telephone: 712-848-3480
Address: 316 Garfield; Rolfe, Iowa, 50581
E-mail address:


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If you have information you would like posted on this page, please e-mail the RHS web site the who, what, when, and where of the announcement or story. This page is an experiment. Submitted items should be consistent with the terms of service of this website. You may also e-mail the Pocahontas Record-Democrat.
Painting at top of page by the late Darlene Brinkman, former mayor of Rolfe.

1999 Rolfe Alumni Group
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