IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items

Waukon in 1871

Waukon, Iowa - A Beautiful Healthful Town

From our Regular correspondent.

Waukon, Iowa, Dec. 8, 1871 - From Postville, a ride of eighteen miles by stage, brought me to Waukon, the county seat of Allamakee county, not inappropriately called the New England of Iowa, from its fair and grand scenery. The total population of this county is about 19,000, of Waukon about 1,000, and the town is, beyond doubt, one of the most healthful and beautiful in the state. I am surprised that this locality has not already been sought out by large numbers who want a pretty, quiet, healthful home, where they can live in peace and close communion with fair nature.

The town lies at an elevation of 650 feet above the level of the Mississippi River, in a grand open of prairie, and has pure flowing springs of water, as crystaline and sweet as which they first slaked the thirst of the red hunter, and waved in obedience to the lapping tongue of his faithful dog. Everywhere Nature has wrought with chisel and pencil till little more is to be desired than the care of art and the preservation of taste and refinement to make a very paradise of a home.

Waukon has the court house of Allamakee and the county offices. This building is of brick, two stories high, and in all respects convenient and comfortable. The roll of county officers will stand after January first, thus: Auditor, W.C. Thompson; Treasurer, James Duffee; Clerk of the Courts, J.W. Pratt; Recorder, D.W. Reed; Superintendent of Schools, T.F. Heally; Sheriff, James Palmer.

The society of Waukon is of a most desirable character, steady, quiet and industrious. There are five religious denominations having regular places of worship - the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics. All these houses have the appearance of finish, and some of them even elegance. There are two organized bodies here without church buildings.

The public schools are excellent, and I find stand so high that no less than fifty pupils are sent from the country around to enjoy the advantages of them rather than be sent abroad to private institutions. This school, under the superintendence and control of Prof. J. Laughren, one of the foremost educators of the state, is an institution of Waukon worthy of highest praise and beyond estimate in value. These people may not know it, but they have nothing else to which they can point strangers with an equal prospect of telling a good story in their behalf. The building is 60X80 feet on the ground, three stores high, arranged to accommodate 450 pupils, and is graded now into five departments with six teachers. An admirable arrangement about it is that the dwelling house of the principal is built in connection with the school building.

Waukon and vicinity has already become celebrated for the culture of fruit and for the work of some of Iowa's best horticulturists. D.W. Adams, Esq., Secretary of the Iowa State Horticultural Society, resides here. He has been engaged for something like sixteen years in experimenting upon fruits suited to the climate of this state, and, by bringing a wide range of varieties of trees from the coldest apple-growing regions of both Europe and America, and experimenting upon them, he has succeeded in arranging the well-known Adams' iron-clad list of fruits suited for general cultivation in this state. He has raised in his own orchard this year 15,000 bushels of apples, and had the honor of taking the premium upon apples at the Richmond, Va. fair this autumn. Mssrs. C.& C. Barnard are also largely engaged in horticulture, devoting more attention to the smaller fruits, and have developed almost the only blackberry that can endure the rigor of an Iowa winter.

The Waukon Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, is located here, has a membership of about 100, and owns a fine building 22X60 feet, three stories high. Under the leadership of C.D. Beeman, Chaplain of the State Grange, this is one of the most prosperous subordinate granges in the state.

Waukon has long needed a railroad, and is yet without it; but I am able to state on no less an authority than that of Hon. E.H. Williams, that an effort wil be made to push the Northeastern branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee, Cassville and Montana narrow guage road to that point next summer, and I am led to think the effort will be successful. In any event, the importance of this point must attract roads here, sooner or later. Railroad men can no more afford to overlook such a point than Waukon can afford to be without a road.

I have mentioned the excellent spring water of the place. I am unable to give exact figures upon the cost of fuel and building material, but these can all be had in abundance at prices as low as in any of the interior towns.

The business of the town is done on a substantial basis, and many of the business men are among the earliest fixtures of the town. Manufactures are not extensive, but have taken a hold and are yearly increasing. First among these is the firm of Holahan & Buggy, the most extensive of the place, manufacturing agricultural implements, wagons and sleighs. They are special dealers in reapers and mowers. The Waukon Agricultural Works of C. Harkins is devoted largely to the manufacture of fanning mills, but there is both room and demand for a much larger business in manufacturing.

Let me sum up the business of Waukon, as follows:

-Dry goods is represented by H. Rice, Hersey & Turck, K.N. Knudtson & Co., Hersey & Alquest, martin Stone, F.M. Clark, Adams & Hale, and J.B.B. Baker & Co. Except the first-named, these all have, in addition, groceries, boots and shoes, crockery, or notions, or some other added line of trade. C. & A. Barnard are the only dealers in groceries alone and crokery.

-Stoves, tinware and heavy shelfware, the dealers are H. Low and S.T. Fearon.

-In boots and hsoes alone, G.M. Darling.

-Druggists are E.A. Robbins & Brother, a fine and complete stock, and Hedga & Earl.

-Harness and saddlery, S.O. Bearce and E.K. Spencer.

-Livery and sale stables, C.C. Bates.

-The legal profession is well represented by the firms of Granger & Stilwell, G.B. Edmonds, C.S. Stilwell, Hon. H.O. Dayton, T.C. Hall, A.M. May, D.W. Reed and J.W. Leamington.

-There are eight blacksmiths, four physicians, two dentists, three milliners, one photographer, and two hotels, first among which is the Mason House, by the gentlemanly soldier, A.J. McClaskey.

-There is but one newspaper in the place, the Standard, a Republican sheet of very respectiable size and character, edited by A.M. May, Esq.

I have thus, as briefly as I could, set forth the present of this, one of the prettiest villages of Northern Iowa. It is certainly unfortunate in being away from railroads, but yet, connected as it is by the daily stage line of Mr. R. Isted to a railroad point, having daily mail, and blessed in natural beauty and healthfulness, it is, beyond question, a desirable place to reside.

~The Milwakee Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI, Monday, December 14, 1871
~transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb
~see also Lansing in 1871 and Postville in 1871


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