Allamakee co. IAGenWeb Project

Village Creek Community
is Rich Lode of History

Village Creek, once the site of flourishing flour and woolen mills, a school of 95 students, and much social activity, was described to the Allamakee County Historical Society at its regular meeting Monday evening of this week. The meeting was held at the city hall in Waukon, with Curtis Webster presiding.

Mrs. Fred Intlekofer, who once lived at Village Creek, and whose family was prominent in the area’s development, had prepared the paper presented Monday. It was read by Mrs. Charles Palmer in the absence of Mrs. Intlekofer, whose brother, William Doehler, had passed away that day.

Village Creek, now a calm and shallow little stream, once had a 23-foot fall to the Mississippi, and its watercourse has been the scene of many a devastating floor. On July 10, 1878, Waukon had a 6.70 inch rain in a 36-hour period, and Village Creek went on a rampage, causing damage estimated at $50,000 in the valley it drains. Another severe rainstorm in lower Village Creek valley was recorded on June 24, 1892, when the lower valley flooded and several families had narrow escapes.

Village Creek bridge

Bridge over Village Creek

Village Creek was the final resolution of three town plats in Section 18 of Lafayette township—Milton, laid out in 1854 by Jesse M. Rose, proprietor of a flouring mill started the year before; Village Creek post office, platted in 1857 by Mrs. Rose, and a third plat called Howard Center, laid out in 1857.

By 1857, Village Creek was a flourishing community. The Hon. L.E. Fellows was the first Village Creek postmaster, and A.C. Doehler was the last.

H.O. Dayton started the Village Creek woolen mill in 1865, at the close of the Civil War. It was a three and a half story structure, which started weaving Feb. 8, 1866. A fire on Oct. 28, 1868, caused a loss of $35,000 and left only the bare walls standing, but on May 21, 1875, the mill was reorganized by Howard, Carroll and Radcliffe and 15 persons went to work. The flood took out the mill dam and the project was abandoned. A final attempt to get the mill into successful woolen operation was started in early the 1900’s when C.O. Howard of Waukon and an easterner named Duncan made the last attempt. Finally the structure was torn down, stones were used to build other structures, and some were crushed to provide lime for the fields.

Village Creek Flour Mill, first in the county to make flour, was established in 1853, and later this mill and another became the property of A.C.Doehler, who was the miller for many years.

Other mills of the era, all producing flour, were the Deremore, up the creek; Centennial Mill, downstream a half mile, and MacNamee, a mile form Village Creek—all working night and day to produce flour and feed. Village Creek had at one time a wagon shop run by Joseph Appel, two general stores, one owned by D. J. Brennan, and the other by A.C.Doehler, three taverns, the blacksmith shop, which remains, a dance hall, shoe repair shop, a carpet weaver, a well driller, two carpenters, and other businesses. Sunday School was held on Sunday afternoons, and the Village Creek school had four teachers. It was a two-story structure.

At one time Joseph C. Doehler managed the Capoli mill in the center of Village Creek, and the old Hass mill on Paint Creek was considered a very successful venture. Kepler mill one mile west of Lansing on Clear Creek was another, later owned by Doehler and Schafer. This mill used artesian well power part of the time and the well still exists, although the mill is gone. J. C. Doehler also owned a mill on the Yellow River at Ion at one time, part of a an era which is gone forever.

Mayor Joseph Deeney addressed the society Monday evening in behalf of the movement to establish a conservation commission in Allamakee County, and the society hopes to cooperate. The society will offer its assistance to the town of Lansing in planning its centennial next summer. A social hour completed the evening with refreshments served by Mrs. Robert McDonald, Mrs. Lloyd Clark and Mrs. Sherman Hart. The November meeting will be held at the city hall in Waukon with the Linton township committee in charge of a social hour. County pictures will be shown, including those of the courthouse dedication.

- source: Waukon Democrat, Oct. 27, 1966; history written by Mrs. Fred Intlekofer
- photo: from the personal collection of Fred Althoff
- contributed by: Fred Althoff

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