Lost Buxton

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Rachelle Chase will promote her book “Lost Buxton” at the American Gothic House in Eldon Saturday at 4 p.m.

ELDON — The Dibble house in Eldon will be the site of author Rachelle Chase’s next Wapello County presentation of historic Buxton, Iowa. Chase won’t speak in the American Gothic House Center but in the home that inspired Grant Wood’s painting.

Named for Catherine and Charles Dibble who built the house in the late 19th century, the Dibble home is commonly called American Gothic House. One of the goals of AGHC Director Sarah Camp when she took the position last year was to allow visitors into the house more often.

Chase’s request to have a book signing and presentation in the house gave Camp an additional opportunity to open the tourist destination to visitors.

Chase, on her Facebook page, encourages her audience to arrive in Eldon early to get a seat. Camp estimates that the house will seat 25-30 people. The presentation will begin at 4 p.m. and is free to the public.

Buxton was a town in Monroe County east of Lovilia established by Consolidation Coal Company at a time when many coal towns popped up all over southern Iowa. Chase, who lives in Des Moines, writes about Buxton’s lack of segregation at a time when Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan usually kept the races separated.

Chase uses photos, audio clips and interviews from former Buxton residents to give readers and audiences a look at what made this thriving community so different.

As with most coal-mining towns, Buxton disappeared early in the 20th century.

The Buxton publication is Chase’s first trek into the realm of non-fiction; Chase normally writes romantic fiction. As a speaker, Chase’s topics are diverse: “How to Get Published by Accident,” "Giving Your Readers Good Sex: 10 Ingredients for a Satisfying Love Scene,” and “Buxton, Iowa: A Coal Mining Town Ahead of Its Time.”

Chase has promoted her Buxton book at several area venues this year including the Ottumwa and Eddyville public libraries. The Eldon event is free.

Reporter Winona Whitaker can be contacted at wwhitaker@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @courierwinona.

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