Public Meeting Planned to Present History of Agassiz School

OTTUMWA – Ottumwa Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public meeting at Ottumwa City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.  Ottumwans interested in local history are encouraged to learn more about its history.


Consultant Molly Naumann has been working on the nomination documents to have the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Naumann has completed the documentation necessary for the listing and will present the nomination at the public meeting.  The same presentation will be made to the State National Register Review Committee.


Agassiz School was constructed in 1941 as the first and most representation of Art Deco style building within the Ottumwa School District. The school was built to meet the needs of a growing population on the south side of the Des Moines River. It is a fine example of Art Deco design used for a moderate size building in a county seat community (population 31,570). The monumental limestone surround with vertical emphasis at the front entrance, low-relief panels of an allegorical figure “sowing the seeds of knowledge,” the curving corner wall, use of glass block, terrazzo, and glazed tile all are representative of the style. The building retains a high degree of integrity, despite the installation of “energy-efficient” windows in the 1970s.