Postville Herald Office and the Casten Building Ruined by Burst Water Pipes

Office desk is covered with water and ceiling tiles. (Melissa R. Collum/Herald Photo)
Melissa R. Collum
Herald Editor

As the temperature dropped December 31 and revelers were going out to celebrate New Year’s Eve, an astute Ben Heitland noticed water running out of the front entrance of the Postville Herald Office! Authorities and landlord Kim Schutte were called to find a pipe had burst in the upper vacant apartment.

The water, having filled the upper apartment, ran out of windows, pushed out the siding, was running down the outside walls, and eventually soaked through the floorboards, insulation, and ceiling tiles of the Herald offices. The majority of the soaked ceiling tile fell into the Herald office.  The water gushed down the walls and ceiling, filling the Herald office until it pushed out the front, back, and side doors. The 4-6 inches of standing water was continually replenished, until the source was cut. The water soaked through the floor of the Herald office into the buildings basement, filling it with water. As of this writing, Monday, ceiling tiles and installation are still falling and water is still dripping.

Schutte was able to cut the water main at approximately 11:30 pm, December 31 and the power shortly thereafter. Heaters were brought in to help with the drying process and to ensure the building did not freeze. On January 1, Herald staff, Nadine Brock and Melissa Collum, assessed the damage to the office, in consultation with the Herald’s parent company Mid-America Publishing owner/president Matt Grohe, determined that the office equipment is a complete and total loss. The Herald has been in the Casten building, owned by the family of the late Lee Casten, and managed by Loren Wagner, since 2011. Brock and Collum worked, with friends and family, throughout the weekend to salvage what could be recovered of both personal and company property. The Herald’s archival books, copies of the papers from years past, were saved to the best of their ability and are being dried out and stored at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Prairie du Chien, Wis. The photos, framed newspapers, posters, etc. were taken home by Collum and dried out with the hopes of being restored, as the frames were all ruined. See the update on the items from the Caring Tree. 

Although the building will need to be gutted to the studs, dried out, and rebuilt, Schutte is confident that it can be done. For now, the Herald staff is working remotely, and looking for a place to call home, but we will still be around town reporting on all the news! If you have any questions about Billing/Ads, etc. please email Niki =  If you have Ads/Design questions email Nadine = If you have a story or any other questions please feel free to call or email Melissa at (920) 737-8635 or email We can access our messages at the regular Herald number (563) 864-3333 and are working on having the regular Herald number transferred to one of our phones. 

The Herald staff is thankful to all of the people who have helped in this time of need and also want to note that all that was lost were “things.” No people were harmed and “things” can be replaced. 


The Postville Herald

The Postville Herald
335 N. Lawler
Postville, IA 52162
Ph. (563) 864-3333
Fax 1-800-340-0805

Mid-America Publishing

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