Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Timeline History of Mason City

Spring 1853    County surveyed by EVERETT & ANDERSON    
Summer 1853
   Mason City planned by John LONG,
    George BRENTNER, Joseph HEWITT
October 1853    McMILLIN & JENKINSON builds 1st cabin    
Winter 1853-4    JENKINSON resides during winter    
   1st Store in county opens
    Dr. CARD, 1st doctor in Mason City
04 Sep 1854    Cerro Gordo settlers receive title to their
   respective properties
   Property titles include
   Mason City
   STACKHOUSE & BELT open 1st grocery store
   James STEWART opens 1st photography studio
   T. DRUMMOND & MILLER open law office
   PEABODY opens 1st blacksmith shop
April 1855    1st township election    
July 1855    1st recorded plan filed to record    
08 Oct 1855    Elisha RANDALL opens sawmill    
09 Nov 1855    Mason City filed on county plan book    
1856    Lizzie THOMPSON teaches 1st school,
   a log schoolhouse.
1857    1st stone school built    
Sept. 1857    Mason City post office established    
08 Mar 1857    Methodists, 1st religious group in Mason City    
April 1858    Mason City named county seat    

NOTE: In 1856 a group of Clear Lake residents requested the Iowa General Assembly to reconsider the original placement of the county seat in Mason City and place it instead at "Livonia," which was on the east side of the present day city of Clear Lake. A commission agreed and the move was made. Mason City residents called for a special county vote, it was taken in April of 1858, and Mason City was once again declared the county seat.

17 Jul 1858    1st Mason City newspaper    named Cerro Gordo Press
06 Jul 1859    Osage Land Office closed    No unclaimed land left in N. Central Iowa.
12 Aug 1862    Fort Sumter attacked    American Civil War begins
12 Aug 1862
   Local enlistments begin for
   Co. B, 32nd Reg. IA
   Volunteer Infantry
   Enlistments include Cerro Gordo, Hancock,
   Winnebago, & Worth Counties
   opens 1st millinary shop
09 Apr 1864
   Battle of Pleasant Hill,
   Company B with Mason City soldiers engaged
   in the battle
   George VERMILYA opens
   1st lumberyard
12 May 1868
   stone Congregational Church
   W. H. LYTLE opens Cerro
   Gordo County Bank
   located at 10 South Federal Avenue
19 Oct 1869
   South Mason City planned
   to built up area around Milwaukee
06 Nov 1869
   1st train arrives in
   Mason City

NOTE: The arrival of the railroad had tremendous impact on population levels; 1869 census of Mason Township (mostly Mason City residents) a population of 795; 1870 census population 1,784; 1874 population 1,183; 1880 population 2,510.

1870    Mason City incorporated    
1870    PARKER'S Mill built    
   brickyard opened
   located in Lime Creek Township
20 Sep 1871    1st fire Hook & Ladder    
1872-74    Central School built    
NOTE: From the top of Central School local photographer H. P. KIRK took many stereo views of Mason City.

April 1867    City Library Association formed    
18 Jul 1878    1st telephone service    
   Long distance telephone service
   to Algona.
   Mason City rated city of
   2nd class
Fall 1881
   Carrie LANE (Carrie CHAPMAN
   CATT) comes to Mason City
   to teach
   Iowa Admendment prohibits sale &
   consumption of alcohol
   Amendment later declared
1882    Garfield School built    
1882    NELSON builds brickyard    located in South Mason City
1883    Grant School built    
1883    CLARK builds Electric Plant    1st St. NW & Washington
   PARKER'S Opera House
   Tondro Soap Factory begins
   factory later burned down
April 1883
   Leo CHAPMAN buys
   Cerro Gordo Republican
   spouse of Carrie CHAPMAN
   Civil War statue erected in
   Central Park
06 Jun 1885
   Pumps & pipes purchased for
   city water system
August 1886
   Street lights installed by Mason City
   Electric Company
1888    St. Francis Academy opened    
   red brick High School built east
   of Central School
1890    Washington School built    
   1st incorporation of Brick & Tile
   DENISON named president
   Dr. MASON, 1st woman doctor
   in Mason City
05 Dec 1893
   Ordinance for free public library
22 Feb 1897
   Approval for brick paving of
   Federal Avenue from Willow
   Creek to 2nd Street N
04 Jul 1897
   1st run of MCCL Railroad from
   Mason City to Clear Lake
04 Jul 1899
   Jacob DECKER takes over
   RICHARD'S Packing House
1900-01    New Court House built    
   Sophia & Dolly STORY opened
   1st Hospital
   107 N. Pennsylvania
1903    Memorial University built    
NOTE: Memorial University operated until 1910. The building was later used as Roosvelt Elementary school; torn down in 1979.

   I.O.O.F. Orphan's Home
1904    Lincoln School built    
10 Jan 1905    Carnegie Library dedicated    
   J. M. HEFFNER opens
   The Bijou, 1st movie theatre
1907    new Post Office built    located at 19 S. Delaware Ave.
   Northwestern States Portland
   Cement begins operation
1908    STOCKMAN House built    Frank Lloyd WRIGHT, architect
1909    Park Hospital built    
1910    McKinley School built    
   City National Bank and
   Park Inn Hotel completed
   Frank Lloyd WRIGHT, architect
   operation of Colby Car Company
   Buildings still in use by
   the Associated Milk Producers, Inc.
   Lehigh Cement begins
1911    1st airplane flight in Mason City    
   Marion Mahony GRIFFIN
   completes drawing of
    Rock Crest - Rock Glen.
   Commission form of city
   government established
NOTE: Under the commission, Mason City got new bridges, a sewage disposal plant, miles of paving, a modern fire department, and eventually, almost 2 million dollors of debt.
1913    Jackson School built    
May 1913
   Floyd E. BARLOW flies from
   Clear Lake to Mason City
   and back.
   KEELER consolidates
   brick & tile plants
09 Dec 1915    Mercy Hospital opened
   Mason City rated a city of
   1st class
   population 17,172
   Modern Brotherhood of America
   office building erected
   (Brick & Tile Building)
   Mason City Chamber of
   Commerce established
1917    Jefferson School built    
 1917    American Beet Sugar Plant
1918    new High School built    located at 220 E. State Street
   Mason City Junior College
   Iowa's 1st public junior college
   1st hard-surfaced interurban
   highway in Iowa
   from Mason City to Clear Lake
18 Nov 1918    YWCA building dedicated
   located at Adams & State
1919    Monroe School built    
1922    Helen SCHULTZ starts
   Red Ball Bus Line
NOTE: "Red Ball Transportation Co." was the first bus line in the county and probably the only one owned by a woman.

1923    Madison School built                                            
1923    Wilson School built                                            
1924    Holy Family Catholic School opened                                            
1925    Hardin School built                                            
1927    Manager form of city government established                                            
NOTE: Although the improvments made by the commissioners were needed, the large debt forced the city to re-evaluate its form of government.

1927    YMCA building dedicated    
28 Aug 1927    Mason City Airport dedicated    Charles LINDBERGH attended
1930    Red Ball Transportion Co.
   sold to Jefferson Transportation.
1933    Script Road built    
NOTE: Script was printed and circulated by the Chamber of Commerce; used to hire people to build a road ont he Winnebago River between the Taylor Bridge & Illinois Avenue.

13 Mar 1934
   1st National Bank robbed by
   John DILLINGER Gang
1936    1st North Iowa Band Festival    
1936    Last run of street cars    
1937    Mason City's 1st Radio Station    Station KGLO
1939    Roosevelt Junior High School built    
   Junior High Wing added to
   Monroe School
12 Oct 1940    1st scheduled airline flight    by Mid-Continent Airways
   Mayor-Council form of city
   government established
1946    New airport dedicated    
   Mid-Continent Airlines,
    intercontinental air service
   comes to Mason City
   1st jet, Air Force P-80 Shooting Star
    lands in Mason City
1947    Mode-O-Day plant opened    
1949    Hoover School built    
1954    KGLO Television goes on the air.    
1959    Sears Shopping Center opened    
1960    Mason City's Industrial Park opened    
1961    John Adams Junior High built    
1961    Newman Catholic School opened    
1962    Press Premiere of The Music Man    
1964    Last passenger train in Mason City    
1964    Willowbrook Mall opened    
1966    new Mason City High School opened    
   Cashways Lumber & Terminal Railroad
   Station destroyed by fire
1973    American Crystal Sugar Plant closed    
1974    Armour closes old DECKER plant    
1978    new Armour Plant opened    
1979    Mason City brick yards closed    
1979    Park Hospital torn down    
1985    Southbridge Mall opened    

SOURCES: "History of Mason City", Mason City Public Library
Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011

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