The chapters below are from the 1914 book, Past and Present of O'Brien and Osceola Counties of Iowa and contain histories of the towns and townships of the county.
Sibley was the first town in Osceola county, although Shaw's store was moved to Ashton about the same time. John L. Robinson built the first house in Sibley. H. K. Rogers was the first merchant and H. L. Emmert was the first banker. Mr. Rogers made a small fortune in the mercantile business here, and later moved to California, where he now resides. Mr. Emmert lost everything in the great Chicago fire of 1871. He borrowed a little money, came to Sibley in 1873 and started a bank. C. I. Hill was associated with him a short time. He later organized the First National Bank, sold some stock, but retained the controlling interest himself. This bank has always been one of the most substantial financial institutions of northwestern Iowa. Its present officers are H. L. Emmert, president; W. T. Steiner, vice-president; J. Fred Mattert, cashier. Mr. Emmert is now a multi-millionaire, and lives in Winnipeg. Canada, where he has multiplied his fortune several times. Mr. Steiner is the local manager of the Emmert interests in and about Sibley, and Mr. Mattert manages the bank.
The furniture store of M. D. Harberts, in the brick building west of the bank, belongs to Dr. W. R. Lawrence, and stands where the old frame drug store stood, in which Doctor Lawrence conducted his drug business many years. Next is the old frame store which was built by C. M. Brooks, first clerk of courts of this county. This building is now vacant, preparatory to being replaced by a brick block. Next to the west is the old First National Bank site, where the first brick building in Sibley stood, used many years by the Emmert bank. Next is the Meader hardware building, now occupied by Cajacobs brothers as a general hardware store. Then comes the Parker drug store. W. L. Parker was one of the early-day druggists of Sibley. He died a few years ago and the business is now being successfully conducted by his only son, C. E. Parker. Next stands the grocery store of Albert Romey, a homesteader in Goewey township. He moved to Sibley in the early days and, with the exception of eight years as postmaster, has been in business continuously since he came to town. Next is the Osceola House, owned and managed by J. W. Hickok. This is the site of the old Stiles hotel, where so much early history was incubated. Mr. Hickok and wife have been here about thirty years, and have enlarged the house in order to keep pace with the growth of the town.
Next comes what was for many years known as the Brown and Chambers corner store, managed a long time by C. E. Brown and W. H. Chambers, under the firm name of Brown & Chambers, both now dead. The big store is now conducted by the Brown brothers, under the firm name of C. E. Brown & Sons. Just across the street to the south is the Grohman block, the west room of which was occupied by a general stock, which was closed out in 1913 by C. W. Beeler, of Harris, who had purchased it. In the second room is a moving picture show, operated by Port Wilbern. The third room is occupied by J. C. Differding as a harness shop and store. In the last room is a small stock of notions, owned by Mrs. Cook. Next east of the Grohman block is the new garage, just completed by E. S. Robertson. Following to the east is the bakery and restaurant, and then the Gazette office. The Gazette is owned and edited by W. W. Overholser. It is the oldest paper in the county and is one of the official papers. In politics it has always been Republican.
Next is the Barclay block, the first room of which is occupied by the clothing department of C. E. Brown & Sons. In the next room east is Mrs. Gill's millinery store, and next is Searls' jewelry store. Then, in the O. J. Clark building, is the barber shop of Ed. McManus. Next, on the corner, is the Sibley State Bank, of which Frank Kennedy is president; A. W. McCallum, vice-president, and C. H. Royce, cashier. This bank has a good board of directors and is a strong organization, doing a clean and safe banking business. This bank was started by Cline Bull and J, T. Barclay, who also had the sale of the railroad lands, and consequently the land business was an important feature with this bank in the early days. Crossing the street to the east is found H. Walton's furniture store and undertaking establishment. Then follows in turn a cleaning and pressing room, a shoe shop and Clinton Hudson's cigar store and lunch counter. Next is the harness shop of T. F. Peel, followed by Robert Richardson's meat market. Mr. Richardson has conducted a meat market in Sibley more than forty years. Then comes the Italian fruit and candy store. That brings the public square around to the Central block, in the first room of which is the Sibley post-office and George Baxter's news stand. In the second room is the drug room is found the Sibley Dry Goods Company, of which C. E. Hanchett is manager. Mr. Hanchett came here as a school teacher and eventually became a merchant. Following this comes E. M. Taylor, the popular clothier. Mr. Taylor is a native of this county, having lived here from boyhood and married an Osceola county girl. Then comes Hoeck & Richardson's grocery store on the corner, and still in Central block.
Crossing the street to the east is found Pulscher & Eyler's farm implement business. Crossing the street north and west is found 'Mr. Gould's new and up-to-date bakery. The next place of business is Mr. Deitrich's photograph gallery. Mr. Deitrich is the present mayor of Sibley. On the west is the Academy of Music, owned by J. S. Campbell, in the east room of which is Emil Tott's grocery store. In the basement under this store is Len Durfee, the plumber. In the west room and basement is J. J. Ellerbroek's "Kash Savin Stor." In the second story of this building is the opera house, managed by Dixon & Ellerbroek. In the next building is Madison Brothers' hardware store. On the corner is the Evans' Mercantile Company, with a general stock of merchandise. On the north is John Johannes' cream station, and across the alley is the Tribune office. The building is owned by J. S. Campbell, and the Tribune is owned and managed by J. H. Bahne & Son. The Tribune is an old and well established paper. Formerly it was all things to all men. At present it is Democratic in politics, edited by a lifelong Republican and well edited. Few old-time Republicans could handle Democratic issues so well and with such apparent sincerity. Across the street, on the corner, is A. Morton, with his garage.
Around the corner south, and in the same building as the Sibley State Bank, is the Iowa Investment Company, managed by T. S. Redmond and A. C. Winterfield. In the next building south is the Fitzsimmons pool hall, lunch counter and cigar stands. Across the alley farther south is the Arend block, in the north room of which is the saloon of W. H. Peterson, and in the south room a quick-meal restaurant and lunch counter. On the next block south is the big feed barn, where seventy to eighty teams can drive in and be cared for at any time of the day or night. Crossing to the east side of the street is found the three-story Windsor hotel, owned and conducted by C. A. Windsor. Next north is the Joe Gill livery barn, converted into a livery and auto garage, conducted by Mr. Wachtel. South from the Grohman block is George Marshall's blacksmith and auto repair shop.
On the next block south is Frank Cram, the county bridge builder and house mover, and across the street west is John Werkheirer's blacksmith and wagon repair shop, and near by is the Sibley creamery, and farmers' elevator, which handles grain, coal and feed. Farther north, on the Omaha side track, are the stock yards, followed by the L. B. Spracher grain elevator and coal sheds. Still farther north is the Brown elevator, now owned by Spracher & Wheeler. East of this is the Shell Lumber Company. Mr. Shell, the senior member of this firm, was one of the first lumber merchants of Sibley, having been here continuously for over forty years. North of the Shell Lumber Company is the Lampert Lumber Company. To the east, on North street and the alley, is W. L. Mitchell, with farm implements, buggies and farm wagons. On the same block is Mrs. Gardner's millinery store.
In many of the two-story buildings are offices occupied by men of various professions. The lawyers are mentioned in the chapter on the legal fraternity and the doctors in the medical chapter. Dr. M. M. Trainer has an office in Central block and Dr. J. H. Harvey holds forth in the Barclay block. The late W. J. Miller, justice of the peace and general broker, also had his office in the Barclay block. W. W. Turnbull, land agent, has his office in the Gazette building. Mr. Hunt has a blacksmith shop across the street from the Central block.
The Sibley Cement Works, owned principally by the Shell Lumber Company and managed by Charles Anderson, is located in East Sibley, and is doing an extensive business, employing a number of men the year round. The carpenters and builders are W. H. Suter, Edward Brand, Andrew Culver, Frank Gross and Mr. Henthorn. The painters and decorators are Elmer Stamm, S. A. Brand and William Pittman. Sanders & Lutterman own and operate the Rome Steam Laundry. Ira Fox owns and operates the Sibley dray line. C. B. Morrison has recently started another dray line. W. B. Winney is constable and conducts a livery stable and occupies a section of the big feed barn. William Schroeder has a team of horses and an automobile for livery. Robert Dove runs an automobile as a livery.
The city has a sewerage system, gas for lighting, water works, and has recently voted, by a large majority, to install an electric lighting system The city has a town hall, in which is a lockup for the disorderlies, as well as the fire fighting apparatus. The city sustains a free public library, well equipped with books. The building is commodious and was donated by the Grand Army of the Republic post. The Sibley Hospital is located at the northeast part of town and is under the management and control of Dr. F. S. Hough, and receives considerable patronage. Mrs. Julia McColm is the head nurse in the hospital.
The present city officers are as follows: George F. Dietrick, mayor; C. W. Brown, C. E. Parker, Henry Pulscher, E. M. Taylor and W. T. Stiener, councilman; Oscar Meyers, clerk; Albert Romey, assessor. John Worden, a veteran of the Civil War, is marshal, and Albert Dittoo is night watchman. W. H. Chase is street commissioner.