The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 10, 2013

The Koons’ Mansion



The Koons’ daughter, Nellie, and son, Charles, had no offspring who lived in Clinton. However, their brother Frank would scandalize family and friends in 1894, by marrying his mother’s maid, Amelia Moeller (later changed to Miller). Frank and Amelia had ten children and lived across the street, on the east side of Camanche Avenue. Two of their daughters married neighboring Jackson brothers, but they never owned or lived in the mansion. That, however, may explain why it was sometimes referred to as the Jackson house.


The old homestead became known locally as a neighborhood clubhouse. It was once used as a servicemen’s canteen and was home to Chancy Lutheran Church from 1948 until a portion of their new church was built for the congregation further on up the hill. Completed in 1967, Zion’s Reverend Schoenbaum began it as a mission church shortly after the Second World War.


Retired Clinton businessman Bob Koons, once the personnel director for Clinton Foods/ Standard Brands and V.P. of Human Resources & Planning under President Leonard Lewis, is one of the great-grandsons of the pioneer Koons couple. He recalls the old house serving many years as Chancy Branch Library and being used by the USO during World War II. Church services for several denominations were also held there.


Sadly, the house was torn down in 1958. It was a unique landmark in the south end of the city for nearly 100 years. William Koons had built it himself with wood from surrounding farmlands. He was a master carpenter who taught his sons Frank and Charles well. Both would later work for the Chicago Northwestern R.R.; Charles as a switchman-engineer, and Frank as a skilled saw-filer in the hot, well-lighted heights of the Car Shops. Frank also produced all the first-generation grandchildren, and his three sons… another William, another Frank, and another Charles… were also very talented with their hands.

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