The Republican Centennial Edition, Wapello, Louisa County, Iowa
Thursday, July 12, 1956, Section Three, Page 40

Transcribed by Lynn McCleary, July 4, 2019


    Few citizens are aware of the fact that in the year 1850, Wapello was planning on having a town square and it was the intention of the city fathers to have all the business houses facing the square. This was in the days when the entire community was in a high state of expectancy with the prospect of a railroad -the old Air Line railroad which was being built all the way from the now extinct Burris City to Omaha, Neb. In many places throughout this locality, the old railroad embankment can still be plainly seen.

    On the strength of the proposed railroad, one of the first buildings erected was on the present site of the high school and was the old Louisa House. This was a magnificent brick and stone building almost as large as the high school is today and was to be the most elegant hotel in the middle west.

    However, the railroad never matured fully and the old hotel gradually crumbled away over the years and all that remained was the cut stone which was hauled away and used in the erection of the Myron Hall, a part of which still stands today and is used as the office of the Louisa County Farm Bureau.

    One of the first business houses erected on the square was the banking house of Bird, Brown and Keach and in the year 1857, Wapello authorized issuing money known as script through the bank. The script was issued in denominations of one, two, three and five dollar bills and a number of these bills are still in existence today in private collections.

    The banking house was built so well that in later years after the banking business was discontinued, the building, with but a few alterations, was used as a jail until a few years ago.

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