Cedar County, Iowa
Community News

West Branch Times, West Branch, Iowa, Thursday, July 16, 1925
Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, August 9, 2018


     Frederick Miller Pownall, S.U.I., 1911 (M.A., 1915), editorial writer and literary man, deals with a concrete situation in practical affairs, when he writes about the Iowa City-Tipton bus line.

     Historically and otherwise, the following paragraphs from Mr. Pownall’s article in the Des Moines Capital will interest West Branch and Cedar county readers: Some indication of the service which may be rendered by bus lines without direct competition with railway lines is contained in the announcement of bus service established between Iowa City and Tipton. For more than twenty miles this line follows one of the oldest trails in the state, now Primary road No. 74.

     This was the old Davenport-Iowa City post road along which mail was carried by horse-back and stage coach long before the first railroad line was built. It crossed the Cedar river at Rochester, first territorial capital of Cedar county, and continued on to Iowa City by the way of Springdale and West Branch. While the Iowa county was still a part of Wisconsin territory, Herbert Hoover’s grandparents entered Iowa over this trail and settled near the site of what later became the town of West Branch.

     Long before the Civil War, this trail was one of the most important sections of the “underground railroad” which aided southern slaves in their right to freedom. The most famous chapter in the history of this old post road centers around John Brown and his Quaker friends at Springdale, and on the Maxson farm, Brown trained his men before making his famous raid on Harpers Ferry.

     Springdale and Rochester were prosperous towns, with hotels and industries, before Cedar Rapids was even so much as a village. But these two pioneer towns were slighted by the railroads. They have neither railroad nor interurban lines. In the new motor bus line they have their first public utility transportation.

     This is one bus line which creates a new service for a large territory and dos not merely rob a railroad by running parallel to its tracks. It seems reasonable to believe that such lines may actually be of material value to main-line railroads by serving them as feeders. One thing is lacking, however, on the old Cedar county trail—it is still a mud road.

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