Fremont County, Iowa

A Hotel that Moved
by Lynn Handy

View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of April 4, 2011

Editor's note: We asked our readers in a prior "View from the Attic" to send us information about early hotels in Fremont County. We thank Lynn Handy for contributing the following to the Attic.

The first areas to develop in Fremont County were along the Missouri River. One of the first settlements was Civil Bend on the River in what is now Benton Township. Settlers, eventually, moved east away from the River for several reasons the two major being mosquitoes and floods. The community of Eureka was a result of this eastward migration.

The early town of Eureka was started in the 1850s and was located one-half mile north and one-mile west of present day Percival and from that four corners intersection half-mile north on the west side.

In Eureka there were McElroys, Paddocks, Thorgates, Kelloggs, Torrences, Parsons, Humphries, Wadams, Rogers, Taggies, Winslows, Millers, Betchals, and Greene families. There was the Brockie Hotel and Store and the Eureka school, which was also used as a meeting place for the Congregationalists and the Methodists.

The Brockie Hotel and Store was also a stagecoach stop. It was located on a sand ridge directly west across the road from the Kellogg House. Eureka gave way to Percival and, as the letter below indicates, the hotel may have literally moved to Percival. See what you think.

I found in a trunk that my father bought during World War II, a letter dated May 26th, 1872, written by Mary Brockie. (Delores Sheldon of Percival is a descendent of the Brockies. Her mother was Ada Brockie, who married Quenton Parkinson.)

The letter Mary wrote to her cousin Jesse, talks a lot about who is marrying whom, and how much land the male owned, etc. However, one other thing she adds is:

"Jessie, you don't know what a pleasant place the bottom is now (that) there is a little town started out at the Depot called Percival. Mrs. Brockie built a large house out there this summer keeping Hotel on a larger scale than she did in Eureka".
Later in the letter the quote is a little different but on the same subject.

"And Mrs Brockie has moved out to Percival she moved her house and then built a large front to it so she is carrying Hotel business on in style. It ( Percival) is quite a flourishing little town it has three stores and blacksmith shop Jerry Williams runs it"
About three years ago my curiosity caused me to stop and walk around the ridge where the Kellogg House stood in Eureka. I was finding pieces of pottery, glass and brick when a neighbor, Howard, stopped. I told Howard that I wish I could find a silver dollar or something. I did not walk much further, looked down and there was a large coin laying on top of the sand. It was an 1852 penny, a little bit smaller than a half dollar. There is a sign marking the location of the Brockie Hotel at this site where I found the Penny. 

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Page updated on June 22, 2023 by Karyn Techau