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The City of Atlantic, Iowa

From The Telegraph Press and Bindery Atlantic, Iowa. Photos by Egbert, Atlantic, Iowa

1902 The City of Atlantic, Iowa

Title Page
Publisher's Page

Photos - Index (pgs. 1-74)

Red Rose Divider Bar Graphic

Atlantic, Iowa in 1902
pgs. 75-78

If the State of Iowa was divided into four parts by lines running north and south, east and west from its geographical center, it would be seen that Atlantic occupies almost the exact center of the southwest quarter of the State.

Atlantic is located on the main line of the Rock Island road, about midway betwen Des Moines and Council Bluffs, and branch lines running north and south give easy connection with any part of the State.

Towns Adjacent to Atlantic

As a business center for manufacturing or wholesaling, or as a point for the location of schools of the higher class, it would appear to be a consideration of the first importance to be located within easy reach of the greatest possible number of adjacent towns. In this respect Atlantic is most favorably situated. Within a radius of thirty miles there are the thriving towns of Audubon, Exira, Brayton, Lorah and Elkhorn on the north; Lewis, Griswold, Elliott, Cumberland and Massena on the south and southeast; Adair, Anita, Wiota on the east; Marne, Walnut, Carson, Oakland on the west and southwest. Extend this radius to forty-five miles and in addition to the towns mentioned there are the towns of Red Oak, Villisca, Glenwood and many smaller towns on the south; Carroll, Manning, Harlan, Guthrie Center and a large number of important towns lying north, northeast and northwest. Extend this radius to sixty miles and it takes in almost the entire southwest quarter of the State, including Council Bluffs.

Local Advantages

Atlantic contains a population of between five and six thousand inhabitants; was started about thirty years ago on a spot where nature seems to have provided for the building of a beautiful and prosperous city. At the junction of the 'Botna river and the Troublesome, on comparatively level ground, the business portion of Atlantic is located. This part of the city is surrounded by gradually rising, rolling ground that in its native state was covered with thrifty oaks and hickories, which, to a great extent, have been preserved. With what nature has done for Atlantic, aided by the good taste of her citizens, we have now an ideal city where people of intelligence and refinement seek homes.

Atlantic has stood the test of adversity. In 1881 a large portion of the business part of the city was burned. In place of the old wooden buildings that were burned, substantial brick buildings were erected. Today as a stranger arrives at the beautiful new Rock Island depot, surrounded with brick pavements and nicely kept lawns, his attention is at once attracted to as fine a business street as can be found in any city of its size. Extending south for five blocks on either side will be seen substantial brick business houses. And the electric light, telegraph and telephone wires show that Atlantic is provided with all modern improvements,


including gas for light and heat. Running parrallel with Chestnut, the main business street, is Walnut, on which and on the cross streets, are many fine business houses, hotels, shops, etc. Atlantic has an excellent system of water works, the water being obtained from an inexhaustible source eighty feet below the surface. The water, as shown by chemical analysis, is almost absolutely pure, and to this cause is attributed, to a great extent, the remarkable degree of health that prevails among our people. The water works are owned by the ciyt and will soon be paid for and will then be a source of revenue that will greatly reduce taxes. The same is true of our electric light plant, which is equal to any in the State of its size.

We have four banks with deposits amounting to over a million dollars, which represent the surplus earnings of the people of the city and surrounding country. It would require a prolonged and severe panic to seriously affect Atlantic financially. Our merchants are conservative but alive to every need and keep wel up with the times. They have done a splendid business during the past year.

In the line of manufacturing Atlantic has a canning factory that puts up more sweet corn than any other factory in the world. Their output is about five million cans of corn and one million cans of peas yearly. In other lines, while Atlantic has not at present anything that compares in size with the canning factory, yet a large amount of manufacturing is done along smaller lines. Thousands of patent shoveling end gates are manufatured here and find a market in all parts of the west. Foundries and machine shops, wagon and repair shops and other lines, help to mkae up in the aggregate a large business in the line of manufacturing. A new flouring mill, one of the largest and finest in the State, has recently been completed and is doing a large business.

Atlantic's nursery and small fruit industries have a national reputation. Atlantic has an extensive green house which provides floral decorations for a large extent of country--frequently shipping to Des Moines.

Three firms in Atlantic are engaged in handling poultry for the eastern trade, shipping either alive or dressed. Atlantic has a creamery, recently erected by the Elgin Creamery Co., which is one of the largest and most complete in the west. Atlantic has excellent hotel and other accommodations and can take good care of public gatherings. Atlantic has one daily newspaper, semi-weekly and two weeklies, which are representative of the people and community and are kept up with the times.

Atlantic is surrounded by as rich and prosperous a country as there is in Iowa or the west. A leading industry is feeding cattle for market. Scores of farmers within a few miles of Atlantic each feed from one hundred to over five hundred head of cattle every year. One farmer recently made a single shipment of his own feeding four hundred head, amounting to near $40,000 for export. Besides these large feeders hundreds of farmers feed from twenty-five to one hundred head. This makes a local market for corn at better than regular market rates. There are probably more cattle fed for market within a radius of thirty miles of Atlantic than in any other section of equal area in the world.


Another feature of the country surrounding Atlantic is the large number of splendid country houses fitted up with all the modern conveniences of the city. And between the people of the city and surrounding country there exists a feeling of perfect social intercourse and friendship. The well-to-do farmer who enjoys social privileges can find no better place to locate than near Atlantic.

The people of the surrounding country are intelligent and appreciate the higher class of schools. We feel confident that there are at the present time not less than from three to four hundred of Cass county's young men adn women attending the higher schools of the State away from home, a large proportion of whom are graduates from our local public schools. We believe that no other county in the State can show a better record at Cedar Falls Normal College than Cass county.

A Higher Consideration

We have briefly stated the great advantage of central lcoation, and some of the advantages offered by Atlantic as judged from a business standpoint. But there is a higher consideration that, to a great extent, controls people in deciding where to locate or send their children to school. It is the desire of parents to send their children to school where they will or can enjoy pure social and moral surroundings. And while Atlantic cannot claim perfection in this respect, yet we can claim a higher standard than prevails in a majority of towns. And we cannot better prove this claim than by briefly starting the existing conditions.

Public Schools

The public school system of this city comprises one central high school building that cost $25,000 and three other buildings in different parts of the city that cost from $10,000 to $15,000 each. These are all built of brick, of modern style, surrounded with ample grounds and equipped with the best appliances and apparatus to make them models of their kind. Equipped with a corps of twenty-six principals and teachers the Atlantic public schools are the pride of our city. Besides our public schools we have a Catholic school.


Atlantic has thirteen church organizations which own church buildings that cost from two to over thirty thousand dollars each. These church organizations are well sustained and there exists among them a spirit of fellowhsip seldom met with.

Y. M. C. A.

This organization is well sustained by the united efforts of the churches. They have nicely furnished rooms and bath rooms that are always open. The best books, magazines and papers are kept on hand and visitors always receive a kindly greeting.


That Atlantic ranks high intellectually is indicated by the many literary clubs. Of these the Young Men's Literary Club, Ladies' Literary Club, East Side Literary Club, O. O. P. Club and P. E. O.'s are fair specimens. These clubs take up literature, travel, science and economics, and much study as well as social enjoyment of a more intellectual nature is the result.


Other Social Advantages

Atlantic is well supplied with other social advantages and amusements. We have an opera house in keeping with our other institutions, and located as we are between Des Moines and Omaha, we get the best class of entertainments. Fortunately the original promoters of Atlantic had in view something more than a country village and did not make the unfortunate mistake of trying to lay out business streets around a public square, a plan which becomes very inconvenient after a town grows beyond the proportions of a small village.

Atlantic's city park is of ample size, adjoining the main business street but just out of the business center, away from noise and dust. The park is set with large spreading elms and maples. In the center is a beautiful fountian erected to the memory of Gen. Grant, and radiating from the fountain to each of the four corners are flagstone walks. With its fountian and shade and well kept lawn the park is a thing of beauty, offering a cool retreat during the hot summer months, and when lit up in the evening with electric lights looks almost the picture of a fairy-land. Here, during the summer months, the city curches unite in holding their early evening Sunday services. Here, during the same season, thousands of people from city and country assemble to listen to midweek band concerts, which have become very popular. Just across the street south from the city park is the park on which is located the county court house, which cowst $75,000.

Fraternal Societies

All the leading fraternal organizations are represented in Atlantic by strong and prosperous lodges. The Masons and I. O. O. F. each own large three-story brick business blocks, in the upper stories of which are as fine lodge rooms as can be found anywhere.

We have briefly stated some of the advantages which Atlantic offers to people seeking homes where they can enjoy the benfits of a beautiful, prosperous city.

Atlantic offers excellent opportunities in some lines of manufacturing and wholesaling and for the location of schools of the higher class.

The initial steps toward the installation of a complete sewer system for Atlantic have been taken--a tax has been levied and the work will progress as rapidly as the accumulation of funds will permit.

Future Prospects

It is not the intention to indulge in speculation nor offer speculative prospects as an inducement for locating in Atlantic. The valleys of the 'Botna and streams tributary to it offer the most feasible north and south route through southwestern Iowa for a main line of railroad. This natural advantage, together with Atlantic's prominence as the largest and most important point between Des Moines and the Missouri river with, as we believe, bring the road through our city.

Letters of inquiry addressed to the ATLANTIC COMMERCIAL ASSOCIATION will be cheerfully and promptly answered.


Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass, December, 2021

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