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Appanoose County’s economic development and historic preservation powerhouse

Monday, March 28, 2016

Morgan Cline was a powerhouse of historic preservation and economic development in Appanoose County, Iowa.

Cline was born in Exline, the son of Ogle and Lucile Cline. Ogle took part in an industry that helped build Appanoose - he was a coal miner. Morgan grew up during the Great Depression and his family, like so many others, was poor. He graduated from high school at the age of 16, the valedictorian of his class, and went on to study pharmacy. After graduating from Drake University in 1953 and studying medicine at the University of Iowa for two years, Morgan entered the U.S. Army and served as a pharmacist for two years. He spent a few years working as a pharmacist after his military service, but his heart wasn’t in the profession. He shifted to advertising, specifically pharmaceutical advertising, working his way up to president of Klemtner Advertising. He eventually founded his own advertising firm, Cline, Davis, and Mann, Inc., with colleagues Clyde Davis and Fred Mann.

After finding great professional success, Morgan Cline turned his attention back to Appanoose County, working to restore historic buildings in Exline and Centerville and bring viable businesses into these renewed spaces.

In Exline, Morgan renovated the old Leslie Schoolhouse and E.E. Withrow Building. He also built the Exline Hose Co. No. 1 Museum, which houses the town’s history and showcases fire station history.

In Centerville, Morgan has revitalized so many buildings that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. In the historic Town Square, he saved the Continental Hotel, The Ritz Theatre, the Spurgeons building, the HyVee building, and the J.C. Penny’s building. On “Pill Row,” he rescued the Majestic Theatre and the American Legion building. He also preserved the Bradley Mansion, Edwina Payton Fenton home, State Street Station, The Columns, Beck Mansion, and The Continental Mews. He also was the founder of the Continental Long Term Care facility, Cline Family Dialysis Center, and Coal Miner’s Commons.

This scratches the surface of Morgan Cline’s contributions to Appanoose County. To find out more about Cline’s history and his connection to Appanoose, visit http://www.morgancline.com/index.html

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