History of Mediapolis, Iowa
Transcribed by Don Kelly



Iowa was part of the Louisianna Purchase acquired from France in 1803.

In 1812 this area was known as Territory of Missouri.

In 1821 Missouri was organized as a state in it's present form, but the remaining portion was still Indian territory with no organized government.

In 1834 Iowa became part of Michigan Territory and white settlers began to cross the river into Iowa.

In 1836 Wisconsin Territory included Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

In 1838 Land west of the Mississippi River became known as Iowa Territory.

In 1846 Iowa became the 29th State of the Union.


In 1832 the area around Mediapolis was ceded to the government by the Black Hawk Purchase.
These lands were opened for official settlement on June 1, 1833. Most Indians were gone by 1840. New settlers camped near the spring at Kossuth.
This spring was also an overnight camping place for migrating Indians.
In 1834 the town was known as Columbus. Most early settlers moved in from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky by wagon train and/or riverboat.
A store opened in Columbus, but was later moved to Kossuth.
After 1836 villages of Kossuth, Northfield, Linton, Dodgeville, Sperry, Kingston and Pleasant Grove were settled and became thriving villages with stores, churches, schools, post offices, blacksmith shops, hotels and even a doctor. Flour and woolen mills were very important business firms.
In 1867, a group of citizens of Kossuth met at the post office and discussed the prospects of building a railroad from Burlington north to Cedar Rapids. They called a public meeting to arouse interest in the proposal.
Senator Gear and Judge Tracy of Burlington were there and persuaded the people that a railroad was an absolute necessity and would prove to be a profitable investment.
Therefore, in good faith, the people of Kossuth donated $20,000 toward this venture, understanding that their village would have the train station.
In 1869, however, the railroad engineers surveyed the roadbed one and a half miles west of Kossuth where a station was later built.
To ease the feelings of the community it was called Kossuth Station. A Mr. Hiram Leonard gave land for the railroad right-of-way on condition that it be laid as near Kossuth as possible. The depot was placed on the east side of the track.
When the depot was built in 1869 before the rails were laid. The people decided to use the name Kossuth and signs were fastened to each end of the building.
Mr. Bullis, depot master from January 1, 1920 to March 1958, told this story to Mr. Ellis Harper, mail carrier and postmaster.
Boiling mad because the railroad had not come through Kossuth, people from that community rode to the new depot and removed the signs and buried them in a field where the swimming pool now sets.
A few months later, the railroad put up new signs, but they did not bear the name Kossuth.
The land was low and often flooded so the original depot was built on stilts. Over the years the ground has been built up so to the point in 1962 when the old building was removed, the stilts could barely be seen.
The upper story of the depot housed the agent and his family.
In 1869, the tracks were laid for a narrow gauge railroad which was later widened to standard gauge.
In the fall of 1869, the trains were running, and stopping at this station, but there was no town and no business here. That same fall, W.H. Cartwright, then doing business in Kossuth, saw what was inevitable and proposed that some of the people purchase the farmland lying immediately west of Kossuth, lay it out in lots, build a hotel, and make good sidewalks to the station.
People of the Kossuth community ridiculed the idea that a town could be built any place other than the site of Old Kossuth. Cartwright purchased the Isaac N. Ware farm and laid out that portion of the town that lies east of the track and north of Main Street.
About the same time, W. W. King bought the farm west of Cartwright and laid out the town west of the track and north of Main Street. Andrew Hemphill, who owned the farm on the south side, laid out the southwest part of town.
Cartwright moved his store to Mediapolis and this began the businesses here. Four years later the station community was growing, sixty families were there, and the next logical step was to name this new village. The Rev. W. G. Kephart suggested the name Mediapolis, meaning Middle City because it was exactly half way between the county seats of Burlington and Wapello.
Mr. Bullis said a station agent by the name of John Wherle had nicknamed the town Muddyoplis because, after heavy rains, there would be a lake just northeast of the station near Ben Mohler's building.
The Independent School District of Mediapolis, was established in temporary quarters in 1873, and taught by Miss Maggie Bruce.
In 1875, the town was incorporated. Chas. P. King was elected mayor, and Joseph Goudy, recorder. On the 27th day of July 1875, the first council meeting was held and records show that J. W. McDonald, D. Kelly, Joab Harper, L. Talbott, and J. A. Bridges were councilmen present.
In the first five years of the town it had become the largest village in the county and the merchants were doing much business.
Mediapolis is located in the southeastern part of Iowa, Des Moines County on Highway 61, 13 miles north of Burlington. Highway 61 was called the Telegraph road and was one of the first roads laid out in the State of Iowa and the first road built north from Burlington in 1836.
Later it was known as the Wapello Road, but it is most known as "The Blues Highway," due to its southward leg between St. Louis, and New Orleans

1949 NEWS:

The second annual fund drive for Mediapolis Community Fund is set for next week on Monday October 26 thru Saturday October 31. A budget goal of $3,000 for the year was set by the board of directors.

The Mediapolis Ministers Association last Wednesday planned for the annual Thanksgiving service to be held this year at Immanuel Lutheran Church at 10:00 A.M. Reverend Fred E. Robb, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, will bring the message.

Youngsters of all ages are invited to attend the Halloween parade in Mediapolis Wednesday night October 28, to compete for 18 prizes. The parade is open to children from Mediapolis and nearby communities. After the parade treats will be handed out for everyone.

The Explorer Post will hold a charter presentation Tuesday night October 27 in the school lunch room. A potluck supper will start at 6:30 . Doctor H. M. Patterson will show his colored slides of his family.s trip to the Virgin Islands. All are welcome to attend.

Dad's night was really their night as the watched their sons trounce Morning Sun by a score of 25-0. The game was mainly a story of good passing by Morning Star, but a very strong defense by Mediapolis when the Tigers of Morning Sun got deep into Mulldog territory.

Mediapolis got especially tough when it got in Tiger territory. Phil Heckenberg scored 3 touchdowns on passes from Evan Wilson and Bryan Schulte, and Ron Schofield ran 13 yards to add 6 more points to the total.


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