Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 3 - Page 10, Submitted by Cheryl Sheets, March 20, 2012

Housing Proved Big Worry for Officials in ‘55

Housing conditions and home designations were big problems for the town officials and residents of this community back in 1855 when work got under way on one of the city’s first directories.

Eight families were being housed in one two story brick building and tenant homes were almost non-existent when, under the heading, “Another Populous Cabin,” a news story of Nov. 1, 1855 read:

    “We learn from Mr. Mahin that he found during his canvassing for the city Directory, he is at present preparing for publication, a two story brick building containing eight families. These are well supplied with children making a total population of some fifty souls. This house contains just seven arguments why our monied men—the property owners—should erect tenant houses. It is a notorious fact that if we had had accommodations during the present fall, for all the families that have come and gone for want of them, our population would reach 9,000 instead of 1500 less. Something must be done of this kind or emigrants will shun us entirely, knowing that there is no room for them.”

    And then, a plea to number houses, under date of Oct. 26, 1855, the editor wrote: “As Mr. Mahin is engaged in placing numbers on the houses in the city we would suggest that the City Council adopt measures to place the name of the streets on the corners to the most frequented parts of the city. Mr. Mahin will call on all of our property owners and renters for the purpose of giving them an opportunity to have their houses numbered.”

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