Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book
Stories of Early Nichols

History of Some Early Businesses
Nichols Savings Bank * Opera House * A Thriving Town * Items from 1915

Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, pages 128
By Cheryl Honts

         The land on which the Nichols Savings Bank was built was originally deeded to Samuel Nichols by the United States government and the patent was filed for record on 28 June 1894.
         After Samuel Nichols died, the land changed hands several times but was conveyed on 29 September 1896 to W. S. Baker. In January 1900, the land on which the building stands was deeded to the Nichols Savings Bank.
         The Articles of Incorporation of the Nichols Savings Bank were filed for record on 25 August 1899. The corporate name was to be the Nichols Savings Bank of Nichols, Iowa. Its general nature of business was to be the conduct of a savings bank under the laws of the State of Iowa. The capital stock of $15,000 was divided into shares of $100 each, fully paid up.
         The corporation was to commence business when the capital stock was paid in the amount required by law and was to continue for a term of fifty years. Private property of the stockholders was exempt from corporate liability. Officers were to be president, vice president and cashier. The annual meeting was to take place the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each year. Principal place of business was the Town of Nichols in Muscatine County, Iowa.
         The capital stock was increased to $25,000 by an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation which was filed 9 June 113. The cashier was L. B. Smith, and assistant cashier was Ben Smith, his son. Later, Rudy Daedlow was cashier and Anna Nichols was assistant cashier.
         The bank was closed on 8 October 1931 by the State Bank Department.

Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, pages 128

         The Opera House, above Elder’s Implement, was built before the turn of the century. It was the setting for many out-of-town and local events. Billy Sunday, the evangelist, the Flora Dora girls, a hypnotist, dance orchestras, were among the former. Mr. Theodore Neff’s travelogues, basketball games, bazaars, home talent plays and oyster suppers were among the latter. The canvas outside curtain had the local merchants’ names painted on it; there were two sets of flat scenery and four dressing rooms behind the stage.

Nichols Made Famous by its Sportsmen:
Situated in the Middle of a Rich Farming Community
It is an Important Shipping Point

Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, pages 130

         In the western part of Muscatine County, at the intersection of the old B., C. R. & N. branch of the Rock Island and the Muscatine and Western branch of the same system is situated the wealthy and prosperous town of Nichols, the trading center of a rich farming community and the home of a progressive citizenship.
         Nichols is accredited by the last federal census with a population of 369. It possesses three churches, one bank, grain elevators, an opera house, a good public school with complete grammar and high school course, a town hall and a hotel in addition to other business enterprises. It is of particular importance as a shipping point, and boasts of its expended grain and produce business. It is estimated by S. H. Smith, the town weigh master, that from 9,000 to 12,000 bushels of corn has been handled through Nichols during the last sixty days preceding November 15, while in season over 800 wagon loads of cabbage have been shipped from this town.
         Nichols City Hall, a two story brick structure, contains the city offices and the town jail and also houses the fire department which is equipped with a modern improved hose wagon. The city officers of Nichols at the present time are Mayor, Will Loeb; councilmen, John Nicola, L. B. Smith, B. L. Metcalf, Arnold Brugman, and William Schmitt; town assessor, Fred Schmitt.
         The Nichols Savings Bank has a capital stock of $15,000 and a surplus of $8,000 and undivided profits of $2,700 with deposits of over $160,000 which evidences not only the wealth and substantial prosperity of the residents and community but also of the high standing of the bank and its officers. These latter are president, John Hooley; vice-president, John Nicola; casher, L. B. Smith; directors, B. A. Kirchner, E. B. Kirchner, T. B Nichols, Henry Brugman and Freeman H. Elder.
         Among the most enterprising of Nichols business concerns is the firm operating the new auto garage composed of T. B. Nichols and the Foley Bros. This firm has installed a completely equipped garage and handles the Stoddard-Dayton automobiles and a full line of auto repairs and accessories. T. B. Nichols, one of the partners is a chicken fancier of high standing raising Buff Orpingtons. He has a large pen of choice stock highly scored.
         Nichols has one asset which not every town of equal size can claim, a well organized and competent brass band. The Nichols band is an organization of years standing and is in large demand filling engagements during the year at many surrounding towns. The band was organized in 1893 and has had an active year since that time. The present membership of the band includes C. P. Reynolds, Ward Reynolds, Poly Cone, Amos Borgstadt, R. Borgstadt, Tom Carney, Harry Shannon, F. Shannon, Charles Elder, O. Hazen, P. Quimby, B. A. Kirchner, H. Rummells, John Oostendorp and Willard Rice.
         Among the new residences erected during the past year were those built by Miles Doran, John Foley and Steven Brugman.
         The three denominations represented in Nichols are the Methodists, the Christians, and the Roman Catholic Church. Rev. Rollo J. Fisher is the pastor of the Methodist Church and Father Fitzsimmons is pastor of the Catholic Parish.
         The Nichols Opera House has a seating capacity of 650 people. It was built by the Nichols Hall Association, an incorporated company.
         The Central Hotel is conducted by Mrs. A. S. Rice. W. N. Quimby is the proprietor of the local livery barn. George T. Nicola, horseman and buyer is a heavy dealer in this class of stock, making a specialty of draft horses and mules.
         Nichols is noted as being the home of good sportsmen and crack shots, some of Iowa’s best known shooters being Nichols men.
         The Nichols Gun Club is one of the most important organizations in the town and has a membership of eighteen sportsmen. T. B. Nichols, the president, has the distinction of having once tied for first place and once for second in the same event and has also won the Iowa State championship for three successive years. On one trip he shot in events at St. Paul, Minnesota, Anaconda, Montana, Spokane, Washington and Denver, Colorado, winning first place in every event entered. Lawrence Foley, also a member of the club, has three times tied for third place in the Grand American handicap. Other members of the club include John Croutcup, B. H. Black, John Foley and c. E. Duncan.
         Ben H. Black, who is one of Nichols’ most prominent residents, was representative of Muscatine County at the last session of the state legislature, being elected on the Democratic ticket.

Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, page 129

         Property in Nichols is valued at $208,000, according to a report just filed by the county auditor with the Iowa State Department. This sum marks the actual value of all properties in Nichols other than monies and credits. The board of supervisors at last week’s session equalized the taxes for 1915. These reports are now filed with the auditor of the state. In Muscatine County the figures show that the total actual value of farm properties for this year is $19, 701,404 and the actual value of lots in town property $10,036,984. The total value of all realty in Muscatine County is at $29,738,298.

Miller’s Show Gone
         The Miller Bros. Show, which held forth at this place last week, packed up their belongings and went to Riverside Monday morning at which place they will show this week. They certainly have a fine repertoire this year. Their plays are clean and their cast is capable actors and actresses. They put up as good a show as any tent aggregation we have ever seen. The weather prevented the attendance here that they would have had, and the threatening storm Saturday made it necessary to call off the show for that night.

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