Cedar County, Iowa
Community News

West Branch Times, West Branch, Iowa, May 16, 1929
Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, January 19, 2019


    How did the village of Springdale get its name? Probably few of our readers remember, but it is recorded in our files of 1884, that “Springdale derives its name from a beautiful lakelet or natural fountain situated about two miles northwest of the village. This lake in early times formed the head waters of the east branch of the Wapsienonoc as the regular channel of the stream commenced at this place, and above the lake it was a swampy slough; but since cultivation has broken the soil, an open ditch is formed for miles above, and the lake which thirty years ago was fifty or sixty feet wide and ten feet deep, is now greatly diminished and its fountains have become almost obliterated; and the name is about all that remains to perpetuate the knowledge that such a place as Spring Lake ever existed.”

     Other springs abounded in the vicinity of Springdale and in the early days a creamery, Cold Spring Creamery, was located west of the village, and had an enviable reputation as a butter factory. Other industries thrived in the village which derived its name from Spring Lake. Forty-five years ago Schooley’s carriage factory did a big business. Two blacksmith and wagon shops were operated by George Randall and Samuel Morrison. A steam grist mill was run by Mr. Batchelder, and J. Zwickey was the harness maker at Springdale.

     H.C. Armstrong did tailoring; and there were milliners, dress makers and a shoe maker. Dr. Gill had been practicing medicine in the community for more than thirty-five years, and Tillmon Todd did a thriving business as attorney and real estate agent.

     Mather Bros., conducted a department store, and Thomas Fawcett had a store which he opened two days of each week. A. Raley also conducted a store and there was a hotel run by Mr. James.

     The Springdale Seminary was one of the best schools in the state. Indeed, at one time, while E. U. Cook was superintendent of the school, Greek was taught at Springdale. The Springdale school was the first in the state from which graduates could enter the state university without examinations, and Elwood Tatum, now residing in West Branch, was the first person to be so admitted to the state university. The first graduate of the Springdale school, William Worrall, is still living and is engaged in the active practice of his profession, a civil engineer.

     The sturdy pioneers who builded the community were thrifty and God fearing. As the waters of Spring Lake went down the village of Springdale arose, until its street extended three-fourths of a mile with comfortable, well kept homes and neat well painted churches, and with large shade trees inviting the traveler to stop and tarry.

     An interesting little episode recently disclosed how well these pioneers built their homes. Mrs. Ellen K. Mather, who resides on the old Mather homestead east of the village, recently had a new metal roof put on a portion of her house, replacing one which had been on the building forty-eight years. The Mather home, which is a landmark to Springdale folk, was built fifty-two years ago. The metal roof was put on forty-eight years ago and it had never leaked or been repaired until the continued cold of the past winter made it necessary to chop loose the ice which remained for weeks on the roof. In so doing holes were cut through the metal, and the rain at last leaked through. The thrifty pioneers had kept the roof properly painted and it had endured nearly half a century.

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