History of Middleton
by Don Kelly

Middletown was among the early towns and settlements in Des Moines County. Middletown's first settler was Josiah I.  Smith, who came from Ohio and settled on the land now occupied by the town.
 Smith started the town by laying out town size lots on his farm. Other lots were also surveyed and staked off as lots by John B. Wright. The surveyor was Mr. T.L. Sargent. He was among the first settlers of Danville township.
 At a meeting of settlers, John Sharp proposed the name of "Middletown," which was adopted. Besides being a surveyor, T. L. Sargent, who owned a farm adjoining the town seems to have the principal man of the community, and was the first store keeper, erecting a brick building in 1851.
 In 1848 Sargent also built a sawmill in the town; however, the mill was afterwards sold and moved elsewhere.
 The first house, a log cabin, in town was built by Theodore Folensbe. Mr.Folensbe was also the first postmaster in the town.
 In 1851, the First Presbyterian Church of Middletown was organized. And in 1857, the United Presbyterians built a church; however, the church was disbanded later on when the church building was sold to the Methodists.
 Middletown's State Savings Bank was incorporated in February 1907. The founders were George Beck, E.A. Carden, F. Blakeway, Willian Kassel, J.W. Westerbeck, W.H. Scott, and Thomas Sutton. The capital stock was $12,000; undivided profits were $9,484.86.
 In 1909, the DesMoines County's first country home was built in the Union Township where the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant is now located.
 Middletown is the home of the IAAP; which handles some of the industries most challenging loading assignments. Once called the Iowa Ordinance Plant of Burlington, was brought back to active status due to the high demand for ammunition by the Korean War. In 1950, under the Atomic Energy Commission(AEC) management, the plant began to assemble atomic bombs; and in 1951 the plant was enlarged.
 At peak production in employment 5,400 individuals. This high production continued through to 1953. Operations at the plant reached a low point in 1962; employment for the entire plant was 1,800 and over 1,000 of those persons were assigned to the AEC contract.
 However, production gradually increased in response to the growing American involvement in Vietnam. By 1965, the Iowa Ordinance Plant of Burlington was known as the IAAP. The late 1960's brought a combined Ordinance and AEC Plant population of 8,000; and accounted during times of war for the one third (1/3) of all industrial workers in the Burlington area, which required the hiring and training of 100 new hires per week to maintain the work load.
 In 1975, the army designated IAAP as the core plant for warhead and heavy artillery loading. On July 1,1975, the plant, except for equipment that would be used at the Pantex, Texas AEC Plant was returned to the army.
 Throught out the plant's history, Middletown's population fluctuated with the employment of the plant. Today the IAAP continues to assemble ammunition and has contracts with the armed services. However, with the low number of employees, the plant gave away land previously used for employee and army housing and recreation to the city. In October of 1997, the IAAP turned approximately 113 acres of land and 42 World War II era houses south of Highway 34, to the city of Middletown.
 The City deeded the land and efforts were started to sell houses, create a subdivision, and provide water and sewer to the area. This added land has almost doubled the City's size, and given a community a chance to grow.
 Old Plank Road Days is a day of celebration of building the first road in Middletown.


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