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Posted on: January 7, 2019

JOHNSTON CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY

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Incorporation did not come until the fall of 1969 when area residents worked together to incorporate the City of Johnston. Because state law prevented the formation of a town within three miles of another city from incorporating, the original city boundaries did not include the Johnston Station area. On September 8, 1969, Mayor Harold Southerwick gaveled in the first Johnston City Council meeting. At the time Iowa’s newest city boasted 2,236 residents. In April 1970, Johnston and Urbandale reached an agreement that allowed Johnston to annex the Johnston Station area.

Nearly 50-years later, on January 7, 2019, Mayor Paula Dierenfeld will gavel in the first City Council meeting of Johnston’s 50th year. Johnston is now a bustling community with more than 21,500 residents. Johnston is recognized as a community of active and engaged residents, strong neighborhoods, vibrant businesses and organizations, and an exceptional school district.

In July 2018 a 50th Anniversary Steering Committee was formed to plan a year-long celebration in 2019. The events involve a mix of activities designed specifically for the 50th anniversary combined with many existing community events that are planning unique ways to recognize this important community milestone. 

Mayor's the past 50-years
  • Harold Southerwick 1969-1973
  • Richard Franklin 1974-1979
  • Ruth Schuler 1980-1981
  • Mary Ann Roberts 1982-1985
  • James Powell 1986-1992
  • Richard Garland 1992 Pro tem
  • John Ver Hoef 1992-1997
  • Dallas Patterson 1998-1999
  • Bob O'Hollearn 2000-2003
  • Brian Laurenzo 2004-2007
  • Paula Dierenfeld 2008-present
Events and Activities (click here PDF)
  • Monday, January 7: 7:00 p.m., City Council resolution recognizing Johnston’s 50th anniversary
  • Sunday, March 10: 1:00 p.m., Simpson House Museum, 6161 Northglenn Drive. Opening the time capsule sealed on the 25th anniversary (1994), recognition of founding members of the Johnston Historical Society that signed the articles of incorporation. Refreshments and house tours. 
  • Saturday, May 4: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Kites on the Green, Johnston Commons
  • Tuesday, May 14: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Neighborhood Picnic, Ray Schleihs Parks, 5400 NW 54th Avenue
  • Sunday, June 9: 1:00 p.m., Historical Mural Tours, Simpson House, 6161 Northglenn Drive. Guided tour of the historical murals at Lawson Elementary School and clay tiles located at the intersection of NW 86th Street and NW 62nd Avenue. The guided tour will begin and end at the Simpson House Museum. Participants must have their own transportation. 
  • June 13-16: Johnston Green Days, 6400 Pioneer Parkway 
  • Saturday, June 15: 7:00 a.m., Johnston Public Library Foundation 5-K run, Terra Park, 6400 Pioneer Parkway
  • Tuesday, June 18: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Neighborhood Picnic, Crosshaven Park, 7909 NW 95th Street
  • June: Adjutant General’s Summer Concert 
  • Tuesday, July 16: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Neighborhood Picnic, Adventure Ridge Park, 10201 Windsor Parkway
  • Sunday, August 4: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., No Man's Land Trench Run, 7105 NW 70th Avenue
  • Sunday, August 11: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Sundae in the Park, Johnston Commons, 6700 Merle Hay Road
  • Tuesday, August 13: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Neighborhood Picnic, Dewey Park, 5225 NW 64th Place 
  • Saturday, August 24: 8:00 a.m., Mayor's Run for the Trails, Terra Park, 6400 Pioneer Parkway
  • Saturday, September 7: Camp Dodge Tour, Town of Herrold, the bridge and Gold Star Museum  
  • Friday, September 27: 6:00 p.m, Johnston 50th Anniversary Gala, Hyperion Field Club, 7390 Beaver Drive. A celebration featuring a fashion show with clothing from 1969; popular music from 1969; appetizers; speaker presenting an overview of what was happening in Iowa, the nation and the world in 1969; and present video from the events.
  • Friday, October 18: 5:30 p.m., Art in the Barn, Simpson Barn, 6169 Northglenn Drive
Although most of the events have been scheduled, there are plenty of opportunities for citizens, businesses and organizations to get involved. Planning the celebrations will continue until the event takes place and volunteers will be needed to work at the events. If you are interested in working on the planning an event or volunteering at an event, contact Johnston City Hall 515.278.2344 or email Kaitlyn Royer.

Fundraising is critical for the success of the 50th anniversary celebration. The committee is working on a fundraising campaign to raise funds to support the events. Information on how to contribute can be found here.

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