Franklin co. IAGenWeb     Franklin County & Community Histories


   A station on the Rock Island Railroad, formerly the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern, was founded, about 1890 to provide a shipping point for the farmers in the surrounding country for their vast supplies of grain, milk and livestock. It was established through the influence of a large landowner with the somewhat unusual name of Hazel Boddy. Boddy had 1,760 acres of land, including three of the four corners joining the cross road nearest his home. An astute dealer amd livestock shipper, he persuaded the railroad company to put side tracks and stockyards at a point nearest his feeding pens, less than a quarter of a mile between his homestead and the railroad tracks.

   At first the community that grew up around this station was known as Hazel Boddy's Switch. By September 1890 it had received the equally picturesque name of Elevator Gap. In October 1890 the place was officially christened as Burdette.

   The post office was originally operated out of the home of the D. D. Goodenough family. The trains didn't stop for the mail, the mail bag was hung on a frame near the railroad tracks and trainmen grabbed it as the train rushed by. The in - coming mail was thrown out in a mail bag. After the store and depot was built the train made regular stops. This service was continued until 1933.

   Lee Center Church was built in 1890. Byron Derbyshire donated the land from a corner of his farm. The railroad company sent a special engine from Iowa Falls with the lumber to build the church. The church was organized by the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. J. I. Boganrief. The church building was dedicated February 1, 1891. Reverend Mr. Kirk presiding and Reverand Mr. Clinton delivered the sermon.

   1890 - 1900 Burdette has a schoolhouse, a number of businesses, two grain elevators, a general store, a hardware store (also served as the town hall), a creamery, blacksmith shop, livery stable, and scale house. Numerous corncribs and some dwelling houses. 

   Just outside of the creamery customers and patrons would collect at the pump to talk things over. At one time a skimming station was felt necessary, but after cream separators came into genral use the skimming station was discontinued. The old pump remained and was still indentified as the "Town Pump".

   For several years two churches were formed and originally held in the schoolhouse. Congregational church - Reverend Mr. Wyatt as pastor, built his own house of worship in 1894. Methodist Episcopal - built in 1895 under the leadership of Reverend Cade Coulter.

   In 1897, Hazel Boddy, who had been almost entirely the life of the town, left Burdette. He exchanged his 1,760 acres in Franklin county with L. W. Conover and B. H. Henry for 20,000 acres in Texas and moved south with his family. Boddy had shipped hundreds of fat cattle and hogs to Chicago every year. One year he shipped 50 car loads of cattle alone.


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