IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items

Postville in 1871

Postville, Iowa - A Spunky Little Town

From our Regular correspondent.

Postville, Iowa, Dec. 1, 1871 - In justice to one of the spunky little towns of Iowa, I have to speak to-day of Postville, twenty-six miles west of McGregor, on the Milwaukee and St. Paul Rail road, just now pricking up its ears to hear the whistle on a branch of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Minnesota Railroad, in process of construction by way of Independence to this point. Since this last-named road has reached Nora Springs in its northward course, its apparent vigor and importance have given rise to this branch upon which work is going forward between Postville and Clermont, and also between Clermont and West Union. The best authorities I have seen are not willing to allow that this connection between Cedar Rapids and Postville will be later of accomplishment than next August or September. Once finished, Postville will have a valuable competition in markets, while the road will feed the Milwaukee and St. Paul, and let Milwaukee still further out upon the rich soid of this state, daily demanding more markets and fast being netted with railroads.

Postville is situated at the corners of four counties and has the grounds of the Northeastern Iowa Agricultural Society - an important organization which came into life about a year ago. Thirty acres of ground, fitted up at an expense of over $7,000 belong to the Society, and lie adjoining the town. These grounds are beautifully enclosed and supplied with ample shedding and stabling, and permanent floral and art hall buildings will be constructed next summer. Among the officers of the Society are some of the foremost agriculturists of the state, and life and vigor are plainly alluded to when we say that it has 284 life members distributed over all the counties included in its territory, and that, contrary to the general experience in district fairs, its exhibition this autumn was completely successful.

Since additional railroad connection must enlarge both population and business here, let me state somewhat of the offers the town makes to new comers. Building material is in sufficient abundance. Good stone, lime and sand are found within two miles of the town, and clay producing a first-class brick is just at hand. Hard wood for fuel costs $3.50 to $4 per cord, and water is reached at depths varying from 15 feet to 30 feet.

Business lots, in good locations, sell at figures ranging from $50 to $250. The most extensive dealer in property of this kind is Hon. John T. Stoneman, a large owner in the real estate of the town.

Lumber may be had at about the following figures: Siding $25 to $30; flooring, $35 to $45; joists and building timber, $22 to $24; shingles, $3.25 to $5.50; and stock boards and fencing, $18 to $22, each according to quality.

Manufacturing has not yet been established; but steps are taken to erect a feed mill, chair and tub factory and planing mill next summer.

The public school building is a first-rate brick structure, just finished, with three departments, three teachers and 199 pupils regularly graded.

The Congregationalists have a church here, as also the Methodists, Baptists and Lutherans, while the Roman Catholics are just building.

The business firms are summed up about as follows:

- Lumber dealers: Hoyt, Burdick & Mott, and Seely, Shaw & Tredway

- Grain dealers: Basset, Huntling & Co., of McGregor, represented here by N.G. Reedy, Roberts Brothers, and E.J. Stevenson & Co.

- In Agricultural implements, Mr. McKinley has a branch of the house of D.G. Goodrich, of Clermont.

- In dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, clothing, etc., Roberts Brothers, Leithold Brothers, and L. Poesch have large stocks and do a lively business.

- Precott & Easton deal extensively in heavy and shelf hardware, nails, wagon material, cutlery, etc.

- H. Stone in stoves and tinware.

- General smithing and wagon building, J.C. Dow; wagon and carriage building alone, F. Meyer.

- E.D. Stiles is the principal dealer in, and manufacturer of furniture.

- E. Schmitz, manufacturer of harness and saddlery.

- There are two druggists, N.W. Stiles and A. Staadt.

- Jewelers, E.J. Ferry and J. Glines.

- Photographer, J. McCartney.

- S.S. Powers is the single practicing attorney.

- There are three physicians, three milliners, and four blacksmiths.

- The Masonic fraternity have a lodge here.

- The only dealer in groceries, confectionery, etc., is J. Moir, at the post-office.

- C. Van Hooser is the 'live' live-stock dealer of Postville.

- The foremost hotel of the place is the National, quiet and comfortable, with good livery attached.

Looking over this pleasant Iowa town, and considering its age and prospects, one is astonished at the readiness with which the blank prairie yields to the magic of the Yankee hand, and springs up into thriving villages and communities, with much of comfort, convenience, and often even elegance, in their very youth.

~The Milwakee Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI, Tuesday, December 5, 1871
~transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb
~see also Lansing in 1871 and Waukon in 1871


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