From: Pictorial Atlas Hardin County, Iowa.
Compiled and Published by Title Atlas Co., Inc., Minneapolis, MN, 1978.

Union Township and Garden City

Union Township:

1849-50--During that winter, the frontiersmen, Greenberry Haggin, and his sons were the first permanent settlers in Union township of Hardin county, Iowa.

1850--With that summer cam Samuel Smith, Sr. and his sons, Alexander and Samuel, Jr., Jacob Miller, T.M. Hauser, J.A. Dawdy and their families. All of these people settled east of the Iowa River in Union township.

1850--In July of that year the infant child of Samuel Smith, Jr. was the first to die in this township and in Hardin County.

1852--Beginning about this year, 5 cemeteries were laid out in Union township, namely, Hauser, Sheppard, Whitney, Francisco, Miller and Union.

1853--Union township was one of the first tobe organized in Hardin county, and the first election was held March 2nd at the house of Henry Abrams near Gifford.

1853-54--That winter a select school was held at the house of J.A. Dawdy, east of the river.

1854--The first schoolhouse in the township was a rude log affair built on section 14. Later the Woods school house was ereced on the west side of the Iowa River.

1854--The first sawmill in the township was built by Luther F. Sanderson on the Iowa River a short distance downstream from the present village of Gifford.

1856--A portion of Union township was set off and Providence township was duly organized from it.

1856--Mr. John Benson ereced the second sawmill on the Iowa River east of Union.

1858-60--Just north of Marshall county lived William H. Dewey and George Woodruff, who were postmasters in Union township at that time.

June 3, 1860--The first very destructive tornado crossed south of Gifford in Union township. It was called the Camanche tornado.

1868--The first bridge over the Iowa River in this township was erected near Benson's mill.

September 17, 1869--The first train on the Iowa River Railway ran into the Union station the past week.

March 9, 1870--Plat for the town of Union was filed by R.J. Davis and wife on section 21, township 86, range 19.

1871--The first building which was designed especially for religious worship was erected in Union by the Methodist Episcopal Church.

September 1875--Gifford was named for C.T. Gifford and the town plat was filed by Edwin Peet and wife on Section 5, township 86, range 19.

March 9, 1880--Whitten plated on section 13, township 86, range 19.

June 22, 1880--The plat was filed by C.C. Whitten and E.S. Whitten.

1880--The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad was extended west through Whitten and Gifford in Union township.


Garden City:

Concord township was first settled in 1869 by Watson Dean. It was the last township organized in Hardin County in the fall of 1872. The only village was Garden City platted by the Des Moins, Iowa Falls and Northern Railroad in November 1901. The land was purchased from T.O. Tungland. The first depot agent was Sven Nessa.

M.T. Nessa began his duties as the first postmaster in 1902 and this position passed to his son Nels A. Nessa on February 11, 1911. In February 1954 his grandson, Norman Nessa, became postmaster and hofefully Garden City will continue to have a postoffice for many years.

in 1902 M.T. Nessa built the hardware store which housed the postoffice and another building that became an implement store. In the same year, 1902, T.O. Tungland built a dry goods and grocery store.

In 1904 the first telephones were installed in our town. Annie O'Malley was the first operator in the building west of Kenny's Cafe. It also housed a millinery department owned and operated by Bertha and Anna Kallem.

Before 1904, Drake and Ballard of Radcliffe built a bank called the Garden City Bank and employed Ole Feedan as banker. This bank was robbed in 1904, the first of 4 robberies in 75 years. It is the first bank burglary on criminal record int he state of Iowa.

The second robbery was in 1919. The robbers failed to clean out the safe completely for they were frightened off when a group coming back from a Charivari for John and Rachel Stolee began shooting guns and having a good time. The robbers evidently though[t] a posse was coming.

The third robbery was in 1928.

The last robbery was in the Tri-County State Bank on June 19, 1975 and due to the alertness of the people in town and especially Gary Scott, they were soon caught. The banker, Lucy Fisher, and the late William Warburton who were made to lie down on the bank floor were not injured. This made news as far as disc jockey program in Los Angeles, California, who warned all would-be bank robbers to stay away from Garden City, Iowa, where the natives wven throw sledge hammers at robbers.

Clyde Lackey, the first barber to serve this town, was followed by Matt Names. Ole Olson started his barver sop in 1906 and retired in 1971, leaving the town without a barber.

The Livery Stable built and owned by Iver Stensland was located where the George Espe home now stands.

The first drug store was owned by Herman Schulze and the first doctor was Dr. Dickey. John Hill and Will Nelson established the first Livestock Buying Station more than 70 years ago.

Oscar Sampson built the first elevator in Garden City. Two elevators were built, the Farmers were the present Coop is located and the Quaker Elevator across from the depot. William Finch managed the Farmers and Pete Eide the Quaker elevator.

Oscar Sampson went into the lumber business, building on the site of the present Beran Lumber Yard. Mike Troulsen built a lumber yard where the Community Building now stands.

The first cafee was owned and operated by Mr. and Mr. J.E. Johnson. The first blacksmith was Osmund Sorem and later Bjeld and Rasmusson operated a blacksmith shop.

The first schoolhouse was built in 1904 and the first teacher was Lola Johnson, grandmother of Earl Engelson.

The first house erected, which is now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Willard Nelson, was built by Oscar Sampson.

Sven Johnson, grandfather of Earl Engelson, gave the land for the Garden City Cemetery and by a strange twist of fate he was the first one buried there in 1907 at the early age of 52.

The first church in town was purchased fromt he Quakers by a group of old settlers. It was moved from the southeast corner of what is now Mrs. Audrey Thompson's farm to the present site. However, it was cut in half and a middle section added. Rev. svingen served as the first pastor. Inger Nessa was confirmed in 1901 in this church.

Another church, the American Church, was located west and south of main street. It was later moved into the country, remodeled into a home which is presently occupied by the Lyle Skartvedt family.

Garden City has lost and had many changes in businesses and inhabitants as has been true of many towns but the last few years new houses have been built, a community water system built and a dial telephone established.