The sprightly town of Anita, in Grant township, was begun in 1869. Mr. Lewis Beason, who had lived at that point many years and kept the stage station, was the original owner of the town site, but sold his entire interest to F. H. Whitney, B. F. Allen, John P. Cook and others, in 1870.
The town came to be called Anita in this way: One day in the summer of 1869, a number of railroad officials were taking dinner at Mr. Beason's house (which stands on an eminence right in the town) when the subject of the new station and its probable name was being discussed. The railroad men proposed to call it Beason, (as it should have been) but Lew, out of modesty, objected. Mrs. Beason suggested that the town be called Anita, in honor of her niece, Anita Cowles, of San Francisco. The subject was then droppped, but soon afterward Mr. Beason was informed by the railroad officials that Mrs. Beason's suggestion had been adopted and the town had been christened Anita. The name is Spanish, and should be pronounced as though spelled with an e instead of an i, thus: An-e-ta. If translated it would mean "little Anna." Garibaldi's first wife, over whose death the great patriot mourned so deeply, was named Anita.
Mr. Beason was the first postmaster, express and railroad agent in the town.
M. Bach, the present postmaster, was appointed in 1870. As illustrative of the growth of the town and country surrounding it, we may cite the following: When Mr. Bach took the post office in 1870, the annual sale of stamped envelopes was 200; annual sale of stamps, 500. The annual sale of stamped envelopes for the past year was 1000, and of stamps, 5000.
R. W. Calkins, of Genesco, Illinois, started the first lumber yard in the place. He also kept agricultural implements. He remained in business two years, selling out to J. P. James. Mr. Calkins now resides on a farm near town.
John Moreland and John Morrison opened a general store in the place March 15, 1869. Both are now residents of the place but are not in business.
Keith, Cate & Co., opened another general store about the same time, and occupied the third house that was built in the place. The firm is now Cate & Hamlin.
C. D. Bartlett, from Illinois, built the first dwelling house in the spring of 1869. Mr. Bartlett built the first and only hotel in the place in 1871. The old Beason House was used for a hotel until Mr. Bartlett's hotel was completed, since which time it has been used as a private residence.
E. E. Major taught the first school in the town in 1869. The present school house was built in 1872, at a cost of $3,300. Miss Anna Griffith taught the first school in the new house.
John B. Allen shipped the first car load of wheat from the place, and received the first car load which was ever shipped to the town. The car was loaded with salt.
S. J. Applegate, of Atlantic, built the first grain warehouse in Anita in 1870-1.
(For mention of churches and societies, see pages 63 and 66.)
The town's progress has been good, as will be seen by the following, its business directory of to-day: VIEW DIRECTORY
From the History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers
by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa: Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pp. 104-105.
Transcribed for Cass County by Cheryl Siebrass, July, 2013.