USGenWeb Project Linn County Banner IAGenWeb Project

Linn County In 1858

Updated July 27, 2012

Entering Linn county in the southern tier of townships, we pass in a northwesterly direction on the road to Cedar Rapids, visiting on our route St. Mary's, a pleasant, thriving post-town. A few miles further on we arrive at Lisbon and Mount Vernon, pretty villages, that eventually are destined to be united, forming one of the pleasantest inland towns in the State. Pursuing our way, we arrive at Newark, which is now only a post-town, but has a destiny above its present appearance. Look out for the railroad!

Six miles farther, over a beautiful, well-cultivate section, we arrive at Cedar rapids City, which is located on the Cedar River, seventy-five miles west from Clinton and twenty-nine north from Iowa City by stage-road. This place was laid out in 1842, and has now a population of more than 2,700 inhabitants. The Cedar River at this point flows over a rocky ledge in the river, forming an extensive rapid, which is capable of being improved to almost any extent. With the present imperfect improvements, power sufficient is obtained to drive one hundred and thirty run of stones. The principal manufactories are eight flouring-mills, five saw-mills, two planing-mills, one paper-mill, one foundry, and an agricultural implement manufactory, one woolen factory, doing a business amounting to $50,000 per annum, and two sash door, and blind manufactories. There are eight brick-yards, manufacturing, last year, 3,000,000 brick. To this may be added eighty-three general stores, all doing a good business; one firm (Daniels & Co.) alone do a business amounting to $90,000 per annum. There are three banking and exchange offices, which do also a land agency business. Three good newspapers are published here. A large amount of grain is exported annually. One firm last year exported, of wheat, 10,000 bushels; of corn, 7,000 bushels; of oats, 8,000 bushels.

The total value of manufactures in 1855 was $291,000. Capital invested was $129,500. The amount of flour manufactured was 20,000 barrels. This finds its way to various parts of the State, and is everywhere known to be of the finest quality.

The amount of lumber sawed in 1855 was 2,200,000 feet, and the timber to furnish this lumber was cut from the banks of the Cedar, and in the vicinity. Coal has recently been discovered, ten miles from the city, on the banks of the river, which is of good quality.

Society here is good. Four churches are organized. A well-conducted seminary, and four public schools are established, enjoying the full confidence of the people.

Reader, Cedar Rapids is a "smart place," and, when you are searching Iowa for a good location, take a careful survey of this point. The Chicago, Iowa, an Nebraska Railroad (with Charles Walker, Esq., of Chicago, as President) will at the earliest possible day find its way into the heart of Linn county, conveying all her rich stores directly to an eastern market. From this place northward the railroad is projected to South Bend, Minnesota, to intersect the Dubuque and Pacific, at a point nearly north from this place.

Marion, the county-seat of Linn, is situated six miles northwest of this place, and is now inhabited by a stirring set of people. The Linn County Register is published here. Crossing the Cedar River, we notice two substantial bridges in course of erection. Continuing our course, we pass through a beautiful farming district, with pleasant groves dotting the landscape with their refreshing shade; on every hand, the commodious and in many places even elegant farm-houses, with their wealth of orchard and garden fruits ripening in the sun, present a picture of plenty and comfort, that tells us the pioneer is now reaping his reward for days of privation and toil.

From: The Iowa Handbook for 1856 by Nathan H. Parker, p. 91-93

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