Luncheon benefits McElhinny House
Fairfield Women’s Club will serve a lasagna luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the McElhinny House, with proceeds to help maintain the historic house.
The menu includes lasagna, salads, bread sticks, pie and beverages.
Deliveries and carry-out lunches are available and can be called to 472-5762 or 919-5761. Orders also can be faxed to 472-0866.
Tickets, available Tuesday at the McElhinny House, are $10.
The McElhinny House on Court Street, just north of Jefferson County Courthouse, was built for pioneer merchant Robert McElhinny by carpenter John Lynn Jr. Both men came to Fairfield from Washington County in Pennsylvania.
McElhinny acquired the building site Jan. 15, 1846, purchasing two lots for a total cost of $60. Fairfield was less than 7 years old, and Iowa was still several months away from statehood. Most sources list construction of the house as beginning in 1846, with completion between 1852 and 1857.
The McElhinny family’s home was Fairfield’s first showplace.landowner
Robert McElhinny, once the largest private landowner in Jefferson County, died May 6, 1878, at age 74. The dwelling remained in the McElhinny family for 69 years. At times, it was closed and vacant, while at other times, it was rented as a rooming house and a private home.
After the family sold the house, it had various owners, then sometime after World War I, it was bought by the Fairfield school district, named Central School and used as elementary school until 1931.
In 1933, it was purchased by the Fairfield Women’s Club through a bequest from the estate of Elizabeth McElhinny, daughter of Robert McElhinny. In her will, McElhinny gave $10,000 to the club to purchase a club house.
Since then, not only have Fairfield Women’s Club meetings been held in the historic house, but it has been the setting for parties, weddings, anniversaries, receptions, reunions, meetings, and many other events.
The McElhinny House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.