MARION, the county seat of Linn County, was laid out by the commissioners in 1839. It is beautifully located, in the midst of an exceedingly fertile country, with timber in quantity and quality sufficient for all purposes for ages to come. Early in 1840 quite a large number of settlers came into the prospective town, and opened different kinds of business. Woodbridge & Thompson opened the first store, in 1839. Addison Daniels, in 1840, erected a cabin and commenced selling dry goods and groceries, and has kept at it ever since. Lumon M. Strong kept a hotel in 1839, and a Mr. Hall opened another in 1840. Thomas Hare put up a blacksmith shop, and H. Woodbridge a shoe shop. A mill was erected by Hiram Bales and Richard Thomas. The American House was one of the first frame buildings, and a court was built, all in 1839 and 1840.
The following, with others, built dwelling houses: Lumon M. Strong, D. A. Woodbridge, Joseph Bigger, James E. Brummell, O. S. Hall, George Greene, etc.
A school house was built in 1841, and was used for religious meetings. Rev. Mr. Emmons was one of the first preachers. Rev. Mr. Rankin was the first Presbyterian minister. The Methodist Episcopal Church organized a society in 1840; Reverend Hodges, preacher. The first newspaper was the Prairie Star, started in 1852 by A. Hoyt -- now called the Marion Register. The present Central High School building was erected in 1869; cost, about $25,000.
Marion is one of the oldest towns in the state away from the river, and is beautifully located in what appears to be an archipelago of groves, or forest-bound prairie, interspersed with fine residences, stores, hotels, churches, etc., with a fine park, filled with trees, flower vases, and a fountain, rustic seats and walks. The town affords delightful homes for active business men, retired gentlemen, merchants and farmers, and the industrious mechanic. Its educational and church advantages are superior, and every branch of traffic and industry is well rewarded.
The business and business houses of Marion are as follows: --
Six dry goods stores; eight grocery; three drug; eight boot and shoe; six clothing; one book; three hardware; two toy and fancy; one furniture; six millinery; two butter, eggs, and poultry; three cattle, grain and produce; two agricultural establishments; eight blacksmith shops; three wagon; two jewelers; one machine; one foundry; seven shoemakers; one gunsmith; three harness; three barber; eight paint; three merchant tailors; one dairy milk factory; one gang plow; one spring bed; one planing mill; one lint; two flouring; two brick yards; three lumber; six stone masons; three elevators; four hotels; four saloons; one fair ground; one trotting park; two livery stables; three ice houses; two laundries; two meat markets; three photograph galleries; three sewing machine offices; twelve law; twelve doctors'; two dentists'; three printing; one express; ten notary public; one internal revenue; two banks; two railroads; one masonic lodge; one chapter; one odd-fellows; one grand templars; seven churches; one high school; two schools; one literary club; one dramatic club; one court house one jail; one chemical laboratory, and four restaurants.
The property valuation, 1875, being one-third of the real and one-half of the personal, is: Real, $337,101.00; personal, $133,072.00.
Population: Dwellings, 405; families, 408; males, 955; females, 1,071; colored males, 11; colored females, 10; total, 2,047. Voters, 463; militia, 247. Marion was incorporated a city in 1874.
|D. I. MCAFEE, Mayor.|
|First Ward -- D. Carskadden, Mr. Hoagland.|
|Second Ward -- H. P. Elliott, B. F. Seaton.|
|Third Ward -- David Wallace, A. B. Dumont.|
|Fourth Ward -- J. D. Giffin, Earl Granger.|
|ROBERT YOUNG, Clerk.|
There are seven banks in Linn County, as follows:
At Cedar Rapids. -- "The First National Bank," "The City National Bank," "The Savings Bank."
At Marion. -- "Twogood and Elliott's Bank," established in 1855, does strictly a legitimate banking business at legitimate rates, and from its first establishment has maintained a high standing in financial matters.
"The First Nation Bank" was the fourth chartered in the state, October, 1863. R. D. Stephens, President, having held the position from the beginning. Capital, $67,000; surplus, $11,600. Its credit among the financial institutions of the state is prime. J. W. Bowdish, Cashier. Directors -- Alexander H. Stephens, John Davis, Henry A. Collen, Daniel Lothian, R. D. Stephens. Mr. Stephens is one of the best financiers in the state.
At Lisbon. -- "First National Bank," organized September, 1874. Capital $50,000. Harrison Stuekshyn, President; G. Auracher, Cashier.
At Center Point. -- There is a bank at this place, but we believe it is not a bank of issue.
This county is well supplied with railroads, and the following is the number of miles and cost per mile, etc., in the county:
|1. Chicago & Northwestern, miles||29|| |
| Cost, $10,300 per mile -- total|| ||$301,790|
|2. Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Minnesota, miles||43|| |
| Cost, $3,800 per mile -- total|| ||$162,716|
|3. Dubuque Southwestern, miles||19|| |
| Cost $3,000 per mile -- total|| ||$58,020|
|4. Sabula, Ackley & Dacotah, miles||13|| |
| Cost, $3,000 per mile -- total|| ||$37,740|
| || ==== || |
|Total miles||104|| ======== |
|Total cost|| ||$560,266|
The first includes the old Iowa & Nebraska and the Cedar Rapids & Missouri Railroad. The second includes the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Minnesota, and the Postville Branch.
The Court House at Marion is a good substantial brick structure, two stories high, furnished with the ordinary rooms and a spacious court room. It was built about the year 1842, and has been improved from time to time. Cost, about $40,000. A view of the building may be seen in another part of this volume.
The Jail also, at Marion, is a two-story brick building on Broad Street, near the court house; was erected in 1858. Cost, $15,000. G. Dean Gillilan, Jailor.
The Alms House is situated about six miles north of Marion on the county farm of 320 acres of excellent land. The house is a brick building, two stories above the basement rooms. It is about 24 x 36, with wings, and will accommodate all the poor there are likely to be in the county for ages to come. The barn is an excellent one, 86 x 48, with 24 feet posts, and cost about $7,000. The farm is valued at $12,000. The present overseer is Samuel W. Parker.
Western College, under the direction of the United Brethren in Christ, was located in 1856, on lands donated by Jacob Shuey, Adam Perry, and W. A. Wherry. In Western, Linn County, Iowa. The incorporators and first trustees were Reverend S. Weaver, of Vinton, Reverend D. Runkel, of Lisbon, Reverend M. G. Miller, of Tipton, J. Neldig, Esquire, of Muscatine, and Colonel W. H. Shuey, of Shueyville.
The college is about eight miles southeast of Cedar Rapids, in a beautiful section of country, and is well supplied with convenient brick buildings for educational purposes, with a shady campus of about sixteen acres of land in the center of the town. Besides the college building proper, there is Lane Hall, a large three story building, which is used as a boarding house for ladies. Neidig Hall is a two story brick building fitted up for students who may wish to board themselves in clubs.
The first building was completed in the Fall of 1856, and the school formally opened the following January, Reverend S. Weaver, president, with three professors, constitutting the faculty. Total number of pupils, fifty-eight.
Reverend William Davis succeeded Mr. Weaver, and held the president's chair one year. Reverend E. B. Kephart succeeded Mr. Davis, and is still the president.
The number of students connected with the college the past year, as per catalogue of 1875, is 310, as follows: College department -- Classical course, seven; scientific course, seven; ladies' course, thirteen. Preparatory department -- Classical, eleven; scientific, two; ladies, three; general, one hundred and forty-nine. Commercial department, eighty-one; music and drawing, thirty-five; German, two.
The professors and instructors are nine in number. The usual college degrees are conferred by this institution. The library and cabinet of specimens are increasing. There are three literary societies. Tuition ranges from $7 to $25 per term, and board from $2.75 to $3.00 per week. The institution is in a flourishing condition.
Cornell College is located at Mt. Vernon, Linn County, Iowa, sixteen miles east of Cedar Rapids, on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, thus rendering it easy of access from all directions. The city is one of the most beautiful, healthy, and moral in the state. Having no billiard or drinking saloons, it is free from those influences that attract the attention and corrupt the morals of students. The grounds, embracing almost twenty acres, are beautifully designed by nature, and command one of the finest prospects in the country. The extent, beauty, and variety of the scenery is such as to inspire and refine the youthful mind. The view from the top of the main college building is unsurpassed by any in Europe or America.
The existence and growth of the college are largely due to the faith and energy of the Reverend G. B. Bow man [sic? Bowman ?], through whose influence the "Iowa Conference Seminary" was first projected in 1854. The board of trustees were organized in 1852, but the school was not opened till November 14, 1853. It continued as a successful seminary until 1857, when a college organization was consummated, and it received the name of Cornell College in honor of its generous benefactor, the late W. W. Cornell, Esquire, of New York City.
The ladies' boarding hall was erected in 1853, and was used for general school purposes till 1856, when the main college building was completed. The gentlemen's boarding hall was erected in 1872. The board of trustees have authorized the erection of a new and commodious chapel the present year. As it is probably that every ten dollars hitherto expended for this institution has given to the world a whole year's labor of an educated mind, surely the necessary buildings and endowments will hereafter be liberally provided for.
Both sexes have enjoyed equal advantages, and received the same degrees. In 1860, in addition to the old classical course, the scientific course was organized, and in 1873 the civil engineering course. The military drill as an attractive feature in this institution. Professor Webster, an army officer, and a graduate of West Point and the artillery school of Fortress Monroe, has been detailed by the Secretary of War to act as instructor of the young men in military science and tactics, both infantry and artillery. Muskets, equipage, and two six pounders are furnished by the government for their use. Physical training is required of the ladies. A gymnasium has been opened, and light gymnastics are daily practiced. The museum contains a large and valuable collection to illustrate the various departments of natural history. "The Woodman Cabinet" embraces one of the rarest and most valuable collections of corals, sponges, starfishes, crustacea, etc., in the country.
The general library contains over 4,000 volumes, and is constantly increasing. The expenses for tuition range from $7 to $13 per term, and board from $3.25 to $3.50 per week.
The Presidents have been: 1. Reverend R. W. Keeler, M. A., 1857. 2. Reverend Samuel L. Fellows, M. A., 1880. 3. Reverend Wm. F. King, D. D., 1865.
The Institution has eighteen professors and instructors, and 500 students (from nineteen different States), as follows: Ten seniors, 9 juniors, 8 sophomores, 37 freshmen, 49 senior preparatory, and 387 junior preparatory. The graduating class of 1875 numbered ten, and the exercises were of a high order.
There are five literary societies connected with Cornell College.
There is but very little waste land in Linn County. The soil is exceedingly fertile being of a rich, dark sandy loam, and of great depth. Corn, oats, wheat and potatoes are good crops -- some of them superior -- while no country is better for grazing. Tobacco, sweet potatoes, grapes and sorghum are cultivated to a considerable extent.
Fruits are good, especially the small fruits and berries. Apple trees do not do so well, but we believe the difficulty is not in the soil, nor in the climate, but in making a wrong selection of the kind of fruit trees, and with not raising them from the seed without transplanting, and then grafting upon the undisturbed stalk.
Linn County annually exports a large quantity of wheat, corn flax seen, oats, barley, pork, wool, hides, beef, etc.
The timber is more abundant than in most prairie counties, and it is of a superior quality. Nearly one-third of the county is covered with beautiful groves of hickory, oak, walnut, sugar maple, linn, elm, ash and other kinds of salable timber for manufacturing purposes and for fuel.
Clay exists in various parts sufficient to furnish all the brick necessary for building purposes, and inexhaustible quarries of the magnesian lime stone along the Cedar and Wapsipinicon Rivers are found. At Cedar Rapids a fine quality of clay is found which is used for the manufacture of pottery.
The county is well watered. Scarcely a farm but has some sort of a stream. The Cedar and Wapsipinicon with their numerous tributaries interlace almost every section. The Cedar, running in a southeasterly direction across the western part of the county, furnishes an immense water-power, and whenever the time arrives for its improvement not even the Merrimack of Massachusetts will excel it.
The Wapsipinicon follows the same general direction, crossing the northern part of the county diagonally and furnishes extensive water privilege. Mills at Waubeek, Central City, Paris, etc., are never still for want of water. The streams of the county are fed by living springs, and consequently do not fall in time of drought.
Fine stock, blooded horses, short horns, sheep and hogs have been imported, and the stock of the county would not suffer by comparison with the best of Illinois and Missouri.
Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass August, 2015 from "A. T. Andreas Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa", Chicago: Andreas Atlas Co., 1875, pg. 438-439.