Chariton Iowa Chamber of Commerce Circa 2003 -2012


This was the official website for the Chariton Iowa Chamber of Commerce.
Content is from the site's 2003-2012 archived pages.

The current website for the Chariton Iowa Chamber of Commerce is found at where you will find all the latest news.

Chariton Iowa Chamber of Commerce
Chariton, Iowa Chamber and Development
104 North Grand
Chariton, IA 50049
Phone (641) 774-4059

Chariton Chamber & Development 
Charitable Foundation

Board of Directors
Jill Kerns, Chair
Dennis Bisgard, Vice-Chair
Adam Bahr, Secretary
Randy Westman, Treasurer

Christopher Watkins
Betty Pepping
Kris Patrick
Alyse Hunter
Shantel Dow

The Chariton Chamber and Development Corp.  is an organization dedicated to supporting and developing our community.

Its purpose shall be improvement of our quality of life by the advancement of industrial, retail, services, agriculture, tourism and community betterment climates; the development of a community identity; and the stimulation of positive public sentiment to these ends.

We will facilitate and maintain growth of our community by creating a future vision that responds to our community's needs and desires.   


The Chariton Chamber and Development Charitable Foundation was organized in 1992 for charitable, educational, literary and scientific purposes and provides an avenue for charitable giving for area projects. The business and affairs of the Foundation are conducted by a nine-member Board of Directors.  The sole member of the Corporation is the Board of Directors of the Chariton Chamber and Development Corp.

The Ken and Atha Crist/Rotary Memorial Community Service Scholarship was established to offer financial assistance to graduating seniors of Lucas County who have shown a genuine concern and interest in their community, school and/or church.  Ken and Atha Crist worked closely with the youth of Lucas County, always personifying positive leadership and the virtues of volunteer community service.

Two scholarships are awarded annually in the amount of $1,000 each to graduating seniors of Chariton or Russell High School.    Past recipients include   Sherrie Barber (1992); Jason Beebout (1993); Jason Swarthout (1994); Brian Moore (1995); Kara Fristad (1996); Megan Swanson (1997); Brian Anstey (1998); Ryan Miller and Aron Morrow (1999): Issac Hirschy and Allison Kuball (2000);  Andrea White and Katie Kitterman (2001);  Zachary Baughman and Adam Curran (2002); Douglas Bear and Ashlynn Hunter (2003); and Cassandra Morrow and Cole Bisgard (2004); Amy Hayes (2005); Dan Brown (2005); Anna Anderson (2006); Zachary Holmes (2006); with John Douglas being an alternate (2006); Ben Mosbach (2007); Tiffany Chandler (2007); Anna Bortz and Avery Fuhs (2008); with alternate Emily Wilker (2008). Ailey Hunter and Ashley Wright (2009); Jessica Lundquist and Amanda Snider (2010): Tacy Jeans and Dalton Storm (2011).

The Glen L. Mitchell Scholarship was established in 2005 by the late Glen L. Mitchell in memory of his grandparents, Clinton and Agnes Ambelang Mitchell; his father, Glen L. Mitchell; and his uncle, Richard Mitchell. Two scholarships are offered, each in the amount of one thousand dollars, for a graduate of Chariton High School who plans to further his/her education in animal husbandry, agronomy, or other agriculture or farm-related pursuits. 2011 $1000 scholarships were awarded to Carolina Covington and Logan Chandler.  2010 $750 scholarships awarded to Kristy DeVore, Heather Sanders and Emily McGee.  2009 $1000. scholarship awarded to Kelsey Etter; 2008 $1000. scholarships were awarded to Bradley Evans; Anna Bortz; and 2008 $ were awarded to Trenton Jeanes and Emma Offenburger; Janine Comstock (2007); Corey DeVore(2006); Travis Goering (2005).

The Mary Sandy Scholarship was established in 2005 by Dr. Bill and Pam Sandy, Brock and Ashton of Holdrege, Nebraska in honor of his mother's 80th birthday, "to honor her contributions to the education of our  family and the members of the surrounding community." Mary graduated from Chariton High School and  attended Chariton Junior College during its last year in existence and went on to a 35-year teaching career (including 29 years at Russell Community School. One scholarship, in the amount of one thousand  dollars, will be awarded to a student who plans to enroll in a course of study that will lead to a career as a teacher, from the Chariton or Russell  High School.   2011 $1000 scholarship awarded Jenna Beatty;    Tara Wilson;  (2005); Cameron Willis (2006); Amber McRoberts (2007); Tianna Goddard (2008); Tara Wilson (2009); Mackensie Moore(2010);

The Lyle and Donna Nickelson Fine Arts Scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to graduating seniors of Chariton or Russell High School who participated in fine arts programs during their high school years. The scholarship was established by Mrs. Donna Nickelson in 2008 in memory of her husband, Lyle Nickelson. One scholarship, in the amount of five hundred dollars will be awarded each year. The recipient may pursue any course of study at any accredited college or university. The scholarship for 2011 $500 scholarship awarded to Meghan McElroy;  Jordan Crabtree (2008); Allison Kelley (2009); Jared Ritenour (2010).

The Dorothy Disney Miller Scholarship was established in 2008 through a bequest from the estate of the late Dorothy Disney Miller of Chariton.  Dorothy was a 35 year employee of Hy-Vee, Inc.  This scholarship offers financial assistance to a graduate of Chariton or Russell High School who rank in the top one-half of their classes.  Scholarship in the amount of three thousand dollars and renewable for up to four years upon demonstration of satisfactory progress toward a degree. This is also available to past graduates currently enrolled full-time in college.  2011 scholarship was awarded to Carolina Covington.  Emily Wilker (2008); Amber Kearney (2009) Scott Morrett and Jordan Crabtree (2010).

The generosity of the Vredenburg Foundation has provided summer band concerts from the Community Bandstand for the past several years.  The concert series enhances Chariton's cultural offerings by a dedicated band director and residents of all ages. CleanItSupply, a nation-wide internet commerce enterprise focused on cleaning supplies and equipment donated products to help maintain the Bandstand and the adjacent facilities. They also provided custodial products and equipment to upkeep the restrooms on the public grounds.

The Coons Foundation's generous donation has made it possible for second story windows in the Chamber Office to be replaced.  They are historically correct, replicating the originals.

The many ways to give include gifts of cash (one-time, annual or pledge basis), honor or memorial (a loving way to remember a family member or friend), personal property or securities, special requests through your will or life insurance; or special funds to be designated toward a restricted project of your choosing.

All contributions are tax-deductible under the criteria established in the IRS Code 501©3.




        Chariton was named after a French Indian trader who located a trading post at the spot where this river, then unnamed, flowed into the Missouri River, and to this stream he gave his own name.

Shortly after the Sac and Fox Indians had gone, a band of Mormons, on their way west from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, settle for the winter just south of Chariton.  They built temporary homes where the Chariton River had a sharp pyramid-shaped angle.  They named the place "Chariton Point".  They built log shanties with dirt floors and thatched roofs, planted crops and lived there for almost two years.  The Daughters of the American Revolution placed a large rock on the south side of the Chariton square to commemorate this event.


Lucas County was named after Robert Lucas, the first territorial governor of Iowa.

There is the grave of an old Cherokee Chief - Chief John Rinehart and his family buried on the south side of the road just inside the Chariton Cemetery.  He died on January 2, 1881.





Lucas County holds the state record for the largest Flathead Catfish caught weighting in at 81 pounds and measuring 52 inches in length.  Caught at Lake Ellis in June 1958 by Joe Baze.

Rainwater falling on the east side of the Lucas County Courthouse in Chariton eventually flows into the Mississippi River, while the rainwater falling on the west side of the Courthouse flows into the Missouri River.

The first light bulb in the State of Iowa was turned on in Lucas; Thomas Edison had invented it the year before.  It had been exhibited at the Philadelphia Exposition and bought by the mine officials for Whitebreast No. 1.  The mine was located east of Lucas in the town of Cleveland.

The clock in the Lucas County Courthouse was obtained from the Columbian Worlds Fair in Chicago.  S.H. Mallory of Chariton purchased the clock and donated it to the new courthouse for its dedication in 1894.  The clock had been in the agricultural building at the World's Fair in 1893.

In 1881, there were 96 school houses in Lucas County, costing nearly $70,000.

John L. Lewis, Lucas County's native son, worked in the "Big Hill" mine at the west edge of Lucas. 



There were five coal mines operating in Lucas County in 1923.  The pay roll ranged from $60,000 to $80,000 in gold for a two week period.

Buffalo Bill came to Chariton with his wild west circus.  He had an Indian with him who was known to be a troublemaker.  Bill warned him not to get into trouble here or Bill would shoot him.  He did and HE DID!



 Business/Professional Division



Darcy Fitzgerald, President
Laura Farrell, Vice-President
Gary Pepping, Secretary/Treasurer

  Meetings are held at 7:00 A.M. on the second Thursday of each month in the Chamber Office.  All Chamber business members, both retail and professional representatives, are invited to attend.
Sponsorship of Norman Moon Memorial LIghted Float Parade held during Holiday Open House on the Friday after Thanksgiving each year.  The winner's name is placed on a plaque in the Chamber office.

Sponsors the annual Haunted Forest at Red Haw State Park.  This event grows each year due to a very dedicated and energetic Haunted Forest Committee.

Coordinates and sponsors the January and July Crazy Days.  The July event features free hot dogs and watermelons.

Promotes the beautification of Lucas County through the annual sale of Red Bud Trees in mid-April each year.

Encourages and plants annual flowers in large containers in front of each business to provide a friendly and inviting experience for shoppers and visitors.

Coordinates the summer band concert series which is funded by a generous grant from the Vredenburg Foundation. 



Chariton Community Betterment

The purpose of Chariton Community Betterment shall be to improve the quality of life by promoting a positive attitude within our community; by encouraging the coordination of community efforts; and by creating and maintaining a healthy business, social and physical environment. Chariton Community Betterment is a division of the Chariton Chamber and Development Corp..  It functions under this organization but maintains a separate budget and rules governing its activities.

Chariton Community Betterment meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 12:00 Noon in the offices of the Chariton Chamber and Development Corp.

Coordination of the Annual Community Clean-Up Day held during early May each year.

Sponsors the Annual Community- Wide Garage Sale held on the first Saturday in June of each year.

Sponsorship of the annual Miss Merry Christmas pageant held during Holiday Open House on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving each year on the Chariton Town Square.
Coordination of LAVITSEF activities held on the third Saturday in October each year.  This event features a children Halloween costume contest and children's parade.
During mid-December each year, Community Betterment sponsors a Holiday Home Decorating Contest with prizes given to winners in various categories.


Quick Facts


Chariton is a community of 4573 residents, the county seat of Lucas County, and located in beautiful south central Iowa.  The 2000 U.S. Census indicated a population increase in population for Lucas County of 3.9 percent during the past 10 years.

You can find Chariton at the intersection of U.S. Highway 34 and Iowa Highway 14.  We are less than 30 minutes to Interstate 35 and less than 60 minutes to Iowas capital of Des Moines.  Both Kansas City and Omaha are a short three hours drive.

The Chariton Municipal Airport is located two miles west of Chariton on U.S. Highway 34 and features: 2800 foot paved north-south runway; 4000 foot paved east-west runway;  three instrument approaches;  runway end identification system and precision approach path indicators.  

The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroad serve our community.  Chariton is located near the heart of an Amish community, which brings tourists to view the quieter side of life.   Chariton is attracting a growing number of people to Iowa and Lucas County to enjoy the rural experience.




People Quick Facts

Lucas County


  Population, 2001 estimate 9,470 2,923,179
  Population percent change, April1, 2000-July 1, 2001 0.5% -0.1%
  Population, 2000 9,422 2,926,324
  Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 3.9% 5.4%
  Persons under 5 years old, percent, 2000 6.0% 6.4%
  Persons under 18 years old, percent, 2000 25.4% 25.1%
  Persons 65 years old and over, percent, 2000 19.3% 14.9%
  Female persons, percent, 2000 51.4% 50.9%
  White persons, percent, 2000 98.4% 93.9%
  Black or African American persons, percent, 2000 0.1% 2.1%
  American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2000 0.1% 0.3%
  Asian persons, percent, 2000 0.3% 1.3%
  Persons reporting some other race, percent, 2000 0.4% 1.3%
  Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2000 0.6% 1.1%
  Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2000 0.9% 2.8%
  White persons, not of Hispanic/Latino origin, percent, 2000 98.0% 92.6%
  Living in same house in 1995 and 2000, pct age 5+, 2000 61.6% 56.9%
  Foreign born persons, percent, 2000 0.7% 3.1%
  Language other than English spoken at home, pct age 5+, 2000 4.5% 5.8%
  High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, 2000 79.1% 86.1%
  Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2000 11.1% 21.2%
  Persons with a disability, age 5+, 2000 1,699 446,665
  Mean travel time to work, workers age 16+ (minutes), 2000 25.6 18.5
  Housing units, 2000 4,239 1,232,511
  Homeownership rate, 2000 78.3% 72.3%
  Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2000 12.5% 18.4%
  Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000 $50,900 $82,500
  Households, 2000 3,811 1,149,276
  Persons per household, 2000 2.42 2.46
  Median household money income, 1999 $30,876 $39,469
  Per capita money income, 1999 $15,341 $19,674
  Persons below poverty, percent, 1999 13.7% 9.1%
Business Quick Facts

Lucas County


  Private nonfarm establishments, 1999 214 81,213
  Private nonfarm employment, 1999 2,627 1,239,354
  Private nonfarm employment, percent change 1990-1999 2.4% 23.0%
  Nonemployer establishments, 1999 553 169,753
  Manufacturers shipments, 1997 ($1000) NA 62,413,687
  Retail sales, 1997 ($1000) 50,230 26,723,822
  Retail sales per capita, 1997 $5,514 $9,362
  Women-owned firms, percent of total, 1997 32.5% 25.3%
  Housing units authorized by building permits, 2000 1 12,500
  Federal funds and grants, 2001 ($1000) 58,289 17,401,265
  Local government employment - full-time equivalent, 1997 461 112,667
Geography Quick Facts

Lucas County


  Land area, 2000 (square miles) 431 55,869
  Persons per square mile, 2000 21.9 52.4
  Metropolitan Area None