Swanson House History
The Swanson House was built in 1911 for the purpose of income and living quarters for Mrs. Scennia Swanson and her five small children.
“In the fall of 1911, my mother was left a widow with five small children, ages ranging from five months (Mildred) to 10 years old. She left the farm in Grimes and built her home in Clive with the help of friends and neighbors. It was in this General Store and Post Office where she raised her family. Our home was very plain. No carpet on the floors. We lived in the upstairs. Only the living room was papered. The downstairs was used for the store, post office and general storage.”
Mrs. Scennia Swanson ran the store from 1911 to 1929. At that time it was turned into a two-story house where Scennia and Mildred lived out the rest of their lives.
Upon Mildred’s death in 1991, she left the property in trust to the City of Clive with the stipulation that it be developed into a park. The city had no desire to work with the structure (house) and came to the historical society to see if they would want to restore the house to some functional capacity and manage it. For the Historical Society, it was a blessing in disguise. No one would wish for Mildred’s death, but with this property, a plan was devised for allowing the old depot to be moved across the street instead of to the new Campbell Park and a promise was make to restore the house to the original General Store.
Restoring the Swanson house back to the General Store cost approximately $45,000. The addition had to be removed and replaced, the interior was gutted to remove walls that had been added, floors had to be replaced that had been destroyed by termites. When our contractor removed the 13 layers of wall paper in the main rooms he could see exactly where the shelves had been in the store, so he built the shelves to match the original ones.