Fremont County, Iowa

Sidney Town Square
(c1900, Part 1 and 2)
by James Moseley, 1971

View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of December 14, 2009

Note from the Fremont County Historical Society

In 1971, James Moseley, one of the founding fathers of the Fremont County Historical Society, wrote the following article about the memories people had of the Sidney Square buildings, in 1900. It was printed in the Sidney Argus. It is a fascinating look at the buildings around the downtown square of Sidney, in the early 1900s. It also contains many clues as to what was happening in downtown Sidney. The photographs, are part of the Fremont county's historical collection that is housed in the Genealogy section of the museum. The article is long enough that we have divided it into three segments.

Sidney Town Square, c1900, Part 1

While there are still a few persons, here in Sidney, that were about in 1900, and who are willing to give me stories of the past, I have been able to acquire some information that might prove to be of interest.

At that time, Sidney had a population of about 1,400 persons. The town had a water system, the wells being on the flat about two blocks west of the southwest corner of the square. The storage was a stand pipe, located at the north side of the lot, on which the present post office is located, and the capacity of the storage was about 60,000 gallons. On the lot back of Vern's Store, where the Sidney Auto Company has a used car lot, was the site of the plant of the Sidney light and Fuel Company, which furnished electricity for the town. East of the square on Highway 2 at about the west end of the "stucco" houses was the site of Hiatt's grist Mill. It had ceased operation but was still there.

Starting at the southeast corner of the square, at the present location of the Farm Bureau Building, was a building used as a livery barn and for implement storage. The site next was the telephone building on approximately the site of the K. P. Hall; then a vacancy, and then to the cafe building which was then occupied by a bakery. Going south of the present Daniel's cafe there was a vacant lot where the Laundromat is currently located; south of this lot was a food store and a grist mill; next a residence and then a large feed barn and livery stable where the stucco houses are now located.

News from the Fremont County Historical Society
Sidney Town Square, c1900, Part 2

As we go west of Highway 2, at the south end of the Sidney square, we find in 1900:

The former Lovelady office was a grocery, next west was a meat market, a general store was located where both Pauly's and Helliger's, now hold forth. There was a furniture and undertaking establishment, where Crawford's are now located. West of this, where Brownfield is now located, was an iron clad implement building; next west a small auto repair, and then a blacksmith shop, and wagon shop. News from the Fremont County Historical Society

Going north on the west side of the square, where Vern's hardware is now located, was a hardware and implement business with a tin shop, and a print shop in the basement.

At Cannon's store was the post office; just north was a grocery store, then the National Bank of Sidney, the Crozier House Hotel, and Penn Drug store. Another grocery store was on the corner. Across the street north, where the current Wilson building stands, was a clothing store; west of it where Kenneth Johnson has his shop, was another large livery stable. North of the Wilson building was a vacancy where Driskell is located; next north a drug store, then another clothing store, then a general store where the Sidney Plant and Floral, is located; then a confectionery store; then a harness shop, a boot and shoe shop and a jewelry store where the LP gas company is now. From there to the corner was not built up.

(Photos shown are only a few that the Historical Society has in its files of that side of the square.)

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Page updated on October 25, 2020 by Karyn Techau