Cedar County, Iowa
Community News

West Branch Times, West Branch, Iowa, June 19, 1930
Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, April 6, 2018


A radio talk delivered by Rev. W. E. Van Buren of Tipton at 12:40 p.m. Dec. 10, over station WLS, the Prairie Farmer station, Chicago, was highly interesting. This “boost” for Tipton and Cedar county, sponsored by Tipton Lions Club through the courtesy of Swift & Company, was heard by a number in this section of the state.

Among other interesting items concerning this part of Iowa, Mr. Van Buren gave the following concerning the southwestern part of the county:

        Ninety-four years ago the first white settlers came to Cedar county, some on foot, others on horseback; still others in covered wagons, enduring the rigors of an unpopulated wilderness, and braving the dangers from hostile savages. Their implements for tilling the soil were crude and few in number, but their pockets bulged with Bible and text books. With such a heroic beginning and background it would seem strange if there were not something of interest in the history of the county.

        In the southwest part of the county a colony of Friends established homes. A descendant of these pioneers is Herbert Hoover, president of the United States. The small house in which he was born still stands in West Branch – (unreadable)-- now annually pay homage. A few miles to the east, just south of the Hoover Highway, is Scattergood seminary, an old Quaker boarding school, the only one of its kind in Iowa, and among the few of the country. Several miles still farther east and north stands the house where the national character, John Brown, spent a winter drilling his troops. The spot is marked by a tablet erected by the Daughters of the Revolution. Throughout this section of the country, before and during the Civil War, were located stations on the “underground Railway,” where fleeing slaves secured rest and sustenance and were helped on their way to freedom.

        At Cedar Valley were located the old Bealer quarries. From 1884 for about twenty-five years a force of 150 men was employed quarrying and cutting stone which the company built into bridge and other foundations, using other crews numbering from 150 to 200 men. Their annual output was from 6,000 to 7, 000 carloads. With the advent of cement construction the business was closed. Today the quarry has become a wonderful natural natatorium, with an area equaling several city blocks and a depth of 85 feet. All summer long, from early spring until the “frost is on the pumpkin” hundreds of people, young and old, find exhilaration in its waters, which devotees designate as the finest afforded by any “swimming hole” in the country.

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