Allamakee County Contained 30 Cities and Post Offices
60 Years Ago
Hardly a person is now
alive who remembers Allamakee County in 1869, a
thriving territory with some 30 towns located in
various townships in the county, as revealed in an
old platbook of Allamakee County published by Geo. E.
Warner and C.M. Foot of Minneapolis apparently in
1882. The book is bound and is in the office of the
Allamakee residents received mail through 30 post
offices with stage coaches rattling through as often
as the weather would permit and the pony
express carrying the mail when the bogged
trails would not permit the passage of the stage
coaches. The cities such as Waukon,
Postville, Lansing, Johnsonport, Waukon Junction and
all those fortunate enough to be one the line were
served by the railroad.
Such towns as Columbus, south of Lansing, Nezekah,
Johnsonport, Lansing, Cleveland, Manchester, had post
offices and were thriving communities with streets
platted and public squares. Ion was a thriving city
as were Myron, Lybrand, Postville, all in Post
township. Village Creek, Howard Center and Milton
were thriving cities being merged slowly
together in Center township standing in spite of the
ravages of two disastrous fires. The village Creek
Woolen Mill was going strong struggling against
damage by the floods from the stream, Village Creek.
Franklin township had such thriving town sites as
Volney, Smithfield, and Hardin, the latter in the
early fifties the most flourishing inland town in
northeast Iowa. It was called the gateway to
Allamakee. Smithfield had one of the first
sawmills on the Yellow River, and at one time had six
flour mills because it had excellent water power.
Volney, another briskly thriving milling [illegible]
was operating flour mills day and night in order to
keep up with the brisk trade of the day. Forest Mills
had a post office.
French Creek township centered around the town of
French Creek at the mouth of the stream, with Mrs.
A.M. Bellows, wife of the founder of the town,
serving as postmaster. Her daughter-in-law maintained
the post office until it was discontinued in 1903.
Hanover was the only town standing in Hanover
township at the time of the publication of the map
now in the office of the county auditor, but the
township had post offices at Ferris Mills until that
site was destroyed by the 1882 storm and New Galena,
center of the lead mining district had been
discontinued in 1861.
Iowa townships center of civilation, New Albin,
grew from the building of the Chicago, Dubuque and
Minnesota railroad, now the Milwaukee.
In Waterloo township Quandahl and Dorchester were
growing cities, each with a post office. At
Dorchester were the Laugenbach four mills while
Quandahls industry consisted of a flourishing
Taylor township had two of the countrys most
important communities, Harpers Ferry and Waukon
Junction at the time of the publication of the map.
Harpers Ferry started as Vaitaville, and later
changed to Winfield and then to Harpers Ferry in
honor of its importance as a steamship port, and the
important citizen, David Harper. Waukon Junction was
comparatively a new settlement at the time of the
publication of the most growing from the
establishment of the C.D. and M. railroad.
Postville was noted as one of the leading cities of
the county at the time of publication of the map,
with the largest elevator in northeast Iowa. The town
itself was incorporated in 1873, and was a very
important business center on the McGregor Western
Railway, with such men as Diamond Jo
Reynolds, Hall Roberts, John Lawler, Liethold and
[illegible] playing important parts in foundation of
Lansing, at the time of the publication of the map by
Warner and Foote, was a thriving city, with the
steamer Gray Eagle and other steamboats
making daily stops in the summer and mail services
every day of the week, winter and summer. Lansing had
grown from a town of 45 to more than a thousand
persons at the time of the publication of the plat of
the city. The map is marked by notations of
Lansings water supply system with the well on
Front street and the well on third street, site of
the accident which resulted in the death of Captain
Samuel Hemenway, one of the founders of the city. At
the time, Lansing was known as one of the
gateways to the west.
The plat shows Waterville, irregularly laid out due
to its beginnings from the eviction of the Riley
Ellis grist mill half mile below the
present post office. At the time of Warner and
Footes publication the town was a prosperous
little community on the Waukon and Mississippi
Waukon is platted much the same as it is in the
present form in the platbook published by Warner and
Foote. The churches shown are on the sites they stand
now, with the parochial school now standing and with
an espocal church standing on the north edge of the
Mayor of the city at the time was A.G. Stewart,
according to the publication by Warner and Foote.
Post offices were also listed at Dalby and Elon in
Center township and Lycurgus in Makee township.