Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

A.T. Andreas
Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa 1875
Patrons of the Iowa State Atlas

Waukon town history

Waukon, the seat of justice of Allamakee County, is an interior town, it's location being near the center of the county. It is eighteen miles southwest of Lansing and twenty-eight northwest of McGregor, on the Mississippi and is situated on a fine rolling prairie in the midst of one of the best farming districts of the state. The prairies adjoining are rolling, fertile and beautiful, the ravines and streams being skirted with timber, and the farms, for the most part, well improved.

The town is regularly laid out, with straight and broad streets, adorned plentifully with shade trees in the vicinity of the more retired residences and public buildings. The business part of the town presents a compact and substantial appearance. The residences are mostly painted white and the grounds and gardens, many of them ornate and beautified with shrubbery, are enclosed with neat fences, and display an air of taste and refinement. The Court House, Public School Building, and several of the churches and stores, are of brick, and are sightly and substantial in their style of architecture. Several elevated points within the limits of the town afford fine views of the adjoining country, and around the outskirts are seen, spread out, farms, orchards and nurseries. The two leading nurseries of this section of Iowa are located in the environs of the town - those of D.W. Adams and D. & C. Barnard, the latter containing over 300,000 apple trees.


The first settlement of Waukon was made in the Fall of 1849 by G.C. Shattuck, who occupied the land now covered by the village. Mr. Shattuck came from Indiana and is now residing in Kansas. It is said that seven unfailing springs welling up through the green turf of the prairie on the town site first brought the immigrant to this spot. At all events, the village is well supplied with pure spring water.

Mr. Shattuck deeded forty acres of land to the county on condition that the county seat should be located here. The town was platted and recorded by Allamakee County, December 1, 1853.

The first stock of goods was opened in the town in September, 1854 by A. J. Hersey, formerly of the state of Maine. He built the house which, since enlarged, is now the Mason House, in the front room of which he opened the first store. L.T. Woodcock and D.W. Adams opened a stock of goods the same year in the building now occupied as the National Hotel. Scott Shattuck kept the first hotel in a house now owned by G.N. Manch, opposite the National. The first school house was built near where the Catholic Church now stands, in 1854, and the first church in the place was the Presbyterian, now standing.


Since the location of the county seat here in 1858, the place has increased with healthy growth. The population is about 1,000. The chief manufactures are a steam saw-mill, grist mill, agricultural implement manufactory, with wagon-makers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, harnessmakers, etc. etc. to supply the demand of the extensive farming country. There are two drug stores, ten dry goods and grocery stores, four millinery shops, two hardware stores, one jeweller's shop, one boot and shoe store, three groceries, one printing office, four lawyers' offices, six blacksmith shops, five wagon and agricultural implement shops, one agricultural warehouse, one cabinet shop, two shoemakers' shops, one butcher shop, one cigar manufactory, one brewery, one photograph gallery, two carpenter shops, one livery stable, one bank, four practicing physicians, one harness shop, and real estate and insurance business.

In 1859, the shipping of hogs and cattle commenced at this point, and has steadilly increased, so that this has become an important branch of business. The county has acquired the reputation of shipping as find a class of hogs and cattle as any part of the state.


There are two hotels in the place -the Mason House and the National Hotel, both centrally and conveniently located. Visitors and travelers will find at both of them gental proprietors and the best accommodations the place affords.


The churches of the place are five in number, viz: Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and Roman Catholic. All have good buildings. The Methodists, Baptists and Catholics have brick churches. The new Catholic Church, not yet finished, will be, when completed, the best church edifice in the county. The Methodist and Baptist churches are also neat and elegant structures.


The building of this institution -a large three-story brick edifice- was formerly erected for the purpose of a college. It passed through several changes, and finally, in 1869, was bought by the district for the graded school of the town. The original cost of the building was $8,000. It was purchased by the district for $4,000. The building is well fitted up and furnished for school purposes.

The school is divided into six departments running from 1st Primary to High School. Six teachers are employed. The number of pupils is about 300 - 100 in the High School. Prof. J. Loughran, Principal; John P. Raymond, 1st Assistant; 4 lady teachers. The school has an apparatus for illustrating the natural sciences. Board of Education: John Goodykoontz, President; A.J. Rodger, Secretary.


The Waukon Standard, an eight-page weekly, Republican in politics, was started by Charles W. McDonald in January, 1868. In May following it was purchased by A.M. May and conducted under the firm name of R.L. Hayward & Co. until April, 1869, when the firm was changed to James H. Braydon & Co., Mr. May remaining editor. Mr. May assumed entire control in August, 1869. In April following, the form of the paper was changed to eight pages. January 1, 1870, E.M. Hancock bought an interest in it, the firm becoming A.M. May & Co., till August, 1872. May & Hamstreet followed till June 1, 1873 when Mr. Hancock purchased a half interest, since which the proprietors have been May & Hancock purchased a half interest, since which the proprietors have been May & Hancock. The paper is a well-edited and influential journal, with a good circulation, and has connected with it an enterprising-job office.

~transcribed by Nancy Shattuck

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