ABANDONED TOWNS, POST OFFICES
OR SETTLEMENTS OF
BLACK HAWK COUNTY, IOWA
Researched and Written by
Mary Beth Eldridge
Of the old towns, some never existed except in name.
When the country was new and it was uncertain what course
travel and trade would take, towns were laid out and given
names on almost any eligible spot and these were numerous."
(Van Metre, 239).
Barclay P. O. Established 5 Sept. 1855, Isreal B. Cowen,
postmaster. Discontinued 15 Apr. 1890. (Mail to Jesup, Buchanan Co.) Located in Barclay
Township near the Buchanan County line, five miles northwest of Jesup, N Sec. 13. James
Barclay had land on Camp Creek and recorded a plat of Barclay. As many as a hundred people
lived here, and Barclay had high hopes of his town prospering with the coming of the
railroad. Barclay would not give the railroad any free land or concessions to locate
through his town, however, so the Illinois Central Railroad passed the town by and went
through Jesup five miles to the north. At one time there were several stores, a drug
store, a jewelry store, a blacksmith shop, two hotels, and two physicians in Barclay.
Early settlers besides James Barclay included ___ Stubs, W. L. Chaplain, John Derr (saw
mill) and Dr. James Munsey. As the town declined, the houses and buildings were either
torn down or moved to nearby farms. A 1926 map of the county shows a farm owned by the
"Heirs of Effie Bailey" at this location.
Benson P. O. Established 23 Mar. 1896, John R. Dumond, postmaster.
Discontinued 31 May 1907. (Mail to Cedar Falls.) Located six miles west of Cedar Falls in
the NW part of Cedar Falls Township on the Illinois Central Railroad line. In 1903 there
was a store and a creamery. (In 1998 some buildings are still in use at this location.)
Blakeville P. O. Established 18 June 1856, Brazilar C. Updike,
postmaster. (Other sources show B. G. Updike or Updyke.) Discontinued 15 Apr. 1901. (Mail
to Waterloo.) Located in Bennington Township, NE Sec. 26, twelve miles northeast of
Waterloo. B.G. Updyke had a tavern in a log cabin here and Thomas Blake operated a
blacksmith shop. Blake had a survey made for a plat of a village but never recorded it.
The land was at the intersection of the Independence-Janesville trail that converged with
a trail leading to the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area (then called Prairie Rapids and
Sturgis Falls). On an 1875 county map, the name is misspelled as Blackville P. O.
Blessing P. O. Established 31 Mar. 1894, James H. Dunn, postmaster.
Discontinued 30 June 1902. (Mail to Buckingham, Tama Co.) Located nine miles southwest of
Hudson, NW/NW Sec. 35 in Lincoln Township.
Boies P. O. Established 20 July 1894, Clarence Altland, postmaster.
Discontinued 15 Oct. 1902. (Mail to Cedar Falls.) About 10 miles north of Waterloo, SE
Sec. 9 in Mt. Vernon Township.
Brooklyn Located in both Black Hawk (Spring Creek Twp.) and Benton
counties. Surveyed 3 April 1856 by Newell Colby. The plat was filed 22 June 1860 with H.
N. Brooks as proprietor. The town never prospered and was known only in name.
Calvin P. O. Established 21 Sept. 1895, William H. Lichty,
postmaster. Discontinued 15 Mar 1900. (Mail to Waterloo.) Located five miles south of
Waterloo or six miles northeast of Hudson, in NE Sec. 22 of Orange Township.
Canfield P. O. Established 18 Feb. 1886, Fred O. Canfield,
postmaster. Discontinued 30 Nov. 1891 (or 16 Nov. 1891). Re-established 7 Jan 1892, Daniel
E. Metcalf, postmaster. Discontinued 15 Feb. 1897 (or 1 Feb. 1897). (Mail to Dewar.)
Located five miles southeast of Dunkerton or 10 miles east of Waterloo, NW Sec. 22 of
Cedar City Located across the river from Sturgis Falls (Cedar
Falls) at the intersection of several important 1850s trails. Surveyed by George W.
Miller. The plat was filed 16 May 1856 with William M. and Sarah Dean as proprietors. A
trail from Pilot Grove to the Cedar Falls river crossing came through here, as did a trail
leading north to the Janesville river crossing and on to Waverly and Charles City. Around
1837 a French fur trapper and trader named Paul Somaneaux (or Sormoneaux) spent time in
the Cedar City area. Although he left the area that same year, Somaneaux returned in 1847
and built a cabin here. He is buried in the area of Cedar City but the grave site is
unknown. Cedar City was a convenient resting spot for teamsters hauling supplies from
Dubuque to the western settlements. At one time this village had two hotels, a store (or
two), a school, and a brewery (or two). After the railroad came to the area in 1864
however, the wagon teamsters were no longer needed and soon the town was absorbed into the
town of Cedar Falls.
Cedar Valley P. O. Established 28 Mar. 1856, Thomas R. Points,
postmaster. Discontinued 18 July 1883. (Mail to Washburn.) Located on Miller's Creek
in Cedar Township, three and one half miles southwest of Gilbertville, SE Sec. 33. (W.W.
Sisson farm is shown located to the north of the post office on an 1875 map of the
county.) This small town disappeared when the railroad did not pass through it.
Crain Creek P. O. Established 25 Jan. 1893, John M. Engleking,
postmaster. Discontinued 31 Mar 1905. (Mail to Denver, Bremer Co.) Located six miles
southeast of Denver, NE Sec. 4 of Bennington Township, Black Hawk Co. and partly in Sec.
33 of Maxwell Township, Bremer Co.
Eagle Centre P. O. Established 19 June 1879, John Siebel,
postmaster. Changed spelling of name to Eagle Center 11 Dec. 1893. Discontinued 31 May
1904 (or 31 May 1900). (Mail to Waterloo.) Located 12 miles south of Waterloo in Eagle
Township, on the corner common to Secs.. 15, 16, 21, and 22.
East Waterloo P. O. Established 13 Nov. 1858, Roswell Baker,
postmaster. Discontinued 27 Mar. 1862. Undetermined location.
Edwards P. O. Established 23 Sept. 1891, Bertha Wilson, postmaster.
Discontinued 15 Apr. 1901. (Mail to Waterloo.) Located six miles west of Dunkerton or nine
miles northeast of Waterloo, E Sec. 33 in Bennington Township.
Eliza P. O. Established 20 May 1852, Daniel G. Ellis, postmaster.
Discontinued 18 Nov. 1856. Located on Mud Creek two and one half miles northwest of La
Porte City, Sec. 15 in Cedar Township.
Emert or Dewar P. O. (The town of Dewar still exists in 1998.)
About five miles NE of Waterloo in Barclay Township on the Chicago Great Western Railway.
Surveyed and platted by John Ball, in October of 1880 on property of John J. and Elizabeth
Mauer Emert. (The Emerts settled in Poyner twp. in 1867). The plat was filed for record 17
January 1888. Because the post office was named Dewar, the town became popularly known by
that title rather than by the plat designation of Emert.
Energy P. O. Established 30 Dec. 1861, Aaron L. Burgess,
postmaster. Discontinued 13 Nov. 1863. (Mail to Jesup, Buchanan Co.) Located five miles
south of Jesup, S SE Sec. 25 in Fox Township.
Enterprise P.O. Established 27 Sept. 1853, Daniel B. Teeter,
postmaster. Discontinued 20 Nov. 1882 (or 30 Nov. 1882). (Mail to Sunny Side.) Located in
Spring Creek Township five miles northeast of La Porte City, W Sec. 16. An 1875 map shows
the farm of R. G. wood to the North. A 1926 map of the area shows the Hugh M. Ashley farm
at this site.
Filkins Grove P. O. Established 17 June 1858, John F. Mills,
postmaster. Discontinued 30 Sept. 1858. Located one mile west of Hudson in Black Hawk
Township, E Sec. 27. Filkins Grove is not on any maps of the period.
Finchford (Not the town of the same name located NW of Cedar
Falls.) Located in Spring Creek township. On an 1875 county map there is a church shown at
this location, but there was never any substantial settlement here.
Florence City Located in Section 35 of Spring Creek Twp. on the
Cedar River. Aspired to be the county seat when it was laid out on March 5, 1855. The plat
was presented to the county court for approval but the judge refused to order it recorded
because of alleged informalities. The town was never built.
Frenchtown (the early name of Gilbertville, 1856)
Frogtown Located five and one half miles northeast of Dunkerton on
Fairbank Road in Lester Twp. (Siggelkov Park was developed on and around the old town
site.) The chorus of frog voices heard on summer nights along the river gave the town its
Henry Jones purchased land from the U.S. Government in 1853 which is
crossed by the Wapsipinicon River. The village of Frogtown began around 1870 when a dam
was built on the solid rock bottom of the river in the vicinity of the original fording
spot (just north of the 1971 bridge). E. J. Everitt built and operated the grist mill on
the east bank of the Wapsie. Settlers needed the mill because previously they had to take
their grain to Cedar Falls or Waverly to be ground. Later, a saw mill was erected on the
west side of the river, and Louis Sours built a blacksmith shop to the east of the grist
mill. The town grew to include a combination store and saloon owned by Richard Campbell
and a few houses owned by Charles Campbell. The first bridge was built in the early 1870s.
About 1885, a contractor named Williams began railroad construction. He
wanted to run a rail line from Anamosa to the Minnesota border, but during the grading
process, he ran out of funds and had to stop construction. In the late 1890s, Frogtown
began to decline as the railroad went through Dunkerton instead.
Glasgow This was a station on the Waterloo & Cedar Falls Rapid
Transit Company line (the Denver and Sumner Branch line.) A 1926 county map shows Glasgow
located in Mt. Vernon Township, NW Sec. 23.
Greenville Located in Spring Creek Township. The settlement here
was very brief. This town suffered a fate similar to Brooklyn, Warren and Florence City.
Gresham P. O. Established 14 Feb. 1884, Alfred W. Daniels,
postmaster. Discontinued 31 Aug. 1893. (Mail to Blakeville.) Located seven miles northwest
of Dunkerton or 15 miles northeast of Waterloo on the corner common to Secs. 1, 2, 11, and
12 of Bennington Township.
Hicks P. O. Established 20 Aug. 1902, Samuel Brubaker, postmaster.
Discontinued 30 Nov. 1903. Re-established 19 May 1908, Sarah N. Cutler, postmaster.
Discontinued 15 Oct. 1910. (Mail to Reinbeck, Grundy Co.) Located at a junction of the
C&NW Railway six miles southwest of Hudson, NW Sec. 7 in Lincoln Township.
"Jockeytown" (Same location also known as Wilson Jct.)
Although not an official name, the story of Jockeytown is worth repeating. Located in
Black Hawk Township about halfway between Waterloo and Hudson, the area around the first
school house (No.1) was dubbed "Jockeytown" by Mr. Bonsteel. The rumor was that
Mr. Bonsteel came to the area to trade horses for cattle but was unsuccessful because the
local settlers were too sharp witted. Bonsteel said, "They were too much jockey for
him, that it was a sort of Jockeytown." Another rumor gave the credit for the name to
an early circuit rider trying ineffectively to finagle a sharp trade with one of the
pioneers. Byron Sargeant, an early township settler, maintained Bonsteel deserved credit
for the name.
Jubilee P. O. Established 12 July 1880, Elizabeth Hauser,
postmaster. Discontinued 20 Dec. 1910. (Mail to Raymond.) Located seven miles southeast of
Gilbertville, SE Sec. 27 in Fox Township. There were several stores and a creamery
Knox P. O. Established 15 June 1855, Manuel E. Mallo, postmaster.
Renamed and reopened as Gilbertville P. O. 3 June 1858.
Lester Center/Lester P. O. Post Office established 24 July 1856,
John Cook, postmaster. Discontinued 2 Apr. 1887. (Mail to Dunkerton.) Located two and one
half miles north of Dunkerton, NW/SW Sec. 16, NE/SE Sec. 17, in Lester Township, East of
the Wapsipinicon River, near the north county line.
Louise P. O. Established 31 Mar. 1892, Christopher H. Kegan,
postmaster. Discontinued 30 June 1902. (Mail to La Porte City.) Located seven miles
northwest of La Porte city, SW Sec. 19, in Big Creek Township.
Miller's Creek P. O. Established 3 Mar. 1870, Elizabeth
Roberts, postmaster. Discontinued 19 Jan 1881. (Mail to Waterloo.) Located seven and one
half miles West of La Porte City, SW/SW Sec. 26, in Eagle Township. On an 1875 county map
Miller's Creek P. O. is located at the junction of sections 26, 27, 34, and 35 with
farms of M. Clark located to the east and J.C. Gunn to the west.
Mount Hope P. O. Established 31 May 1889, Henry F. Hageman,
postmaster. Discontinued 15 Nov. 1889 (or 26 Oct. 1889). (Mail to Blakeville.) Located on
the north shore of the Cedar River two and one half miles East of Cedar Falls, SE Sec. 8,
in East Waterloo Township.
Mullarky's Grove P. O. (Early name of Raymond P. O.)
Established 15 Mar. 1858, Joshua A. Hooker, postmaster. Name changed to Raymond 27 Feb.
Nautrille P. O. Established 17 June 1851 in Bremer Co. as Nautrill.
Changed to Black Hawk County 16 Sept. 1861 with Thomas H. Fitch as postmaster and named
Nautrille. Discontinued 14 Aug. 1878. (Mail to Denver, Bremer Co.) Located three miles
southwest of Denver or 11 miles north of Waterloo on the Bremer Co. line, NE Sec. 3, in
Mt. Vernon Township, near the junction of sections 2, 3, 10 and 11. This is close to the
present town site of Denver and was established along the "Big Woods Trail" that
ran from Cedar Falls to Bremer County. (Listed as "Neutral" on one map.)
Nantville P. O. (There seems to be conflicting information in
sources concerning Nantville and/or Nautrille. Perhaps the names at one time were mixed
up.) One source lists Nantville as in Section 3 of Mt. Vernon Township with a post office
operating from 1851 to 1875. (However, this is the same place another source lists as the
location of Nautrille.)
Newell's Ford (later Finchford) Located at the junction of
sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 in Union Township in the northwestern corner of Black Hawk County.
It was known as Newell's Ford because the river crossing was on land owned by Sem (or
Sam?) Newell (James Newell's brother). An 1875 map of the county labels it as
Finchford and shows a church, school and houses at this site.
Ottawa Located just NW and adjacent to La Porte City. John and
Nancy Dees, proprietors. Surveyed by Joseph Owen. Plat filed for record November 6, 1854.
This town was absorbed into La Porte City.
Prairie Rapids (early name of Waterloo, prior to 1855)
Stella P. O. Established 12 Feb. 1886, Samuel H. Kaylor,
postmaster. Discontinued 20 Jan 1887. (Mail to Barclay.) Location unknown.
Sturges Rapids This town is listed in one source as being located
in NE Lester Township and on maps of 1862 through 1868. (This was not verified by my
Sturgis Falls (early name of Cedar Falls, 1845-49)
Sunny Side P. O. Established 17 Jan. 1861 with Jeremiah Murphy as
postmaster in Buchanan Co. Transferred to Black Hawk Co. 11 Nov. 1873, John B. Masters,
postmaster. Returned to Buchanan Co. 16 Nov. 1874. Discontinued 20 Aug. 1883. Located on
the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern Railroad at the Buchanan Co. line, seven miles
east of La Porte City or four miles west of Brandon, E. Sec. 36, in Spring Creek Township.
Voorhies P. O. Established 12 Sept. 1900, Frank A. Robinson,
postmaster. Discontinued 23 Aug. 1957. (Mail to Hudson.) Located in Lincoln Township six
miles southwest of Hudson, NE/NE Sec. 21, on the railroad line. Town platted 17 June 1900.
Warren Located SE Section 16 in Spring Creek township. Surveyed 11
October 1855 by George W. Miller. Warren and Eliza J. Rankins, proprietors. The plat was
filed 15 October 1855 but was never recorded and the town failed to materialize.
Wilson Junction On the 1895 Atlas of the area Wilson Junction is
shown located about half way between Waterloo and Hudson. (This same location was also
known as "Jockeytown" at one time.)
Winslow P. O. Established 9 Apr. 1880, Benjamin F. Brown,
postmaster. Discontinued 10 Nov. 1893. (Mail to Finchford.) Re-established 31 May 1895.
Discontinued 30 June 1916. (Mail to Janesville, Bremer Co.) This was a post office
location and railway station, but no plat was recorded. It is about nine miles NW of Cedar
Falls in Union Township on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (formerly
Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad), near Finchford.
Hartman, John C. (supervising editor) (1915) History of Black Hawk
county and its people Vols. 1&2. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.
Mott, David C. (1930-32) Abandoned towns, villages, and post offices
of Iowa. The Annals of Iowa.
Patera, A. H. & Gallagher, J. S. (1986) Iowa Post Offices
1833-1986. Lake Oswego, OR: The Depot.
Ramsey, Guy Reed. (1976) Postmarked Iowa, a list of discontinued and
renamed post offices. Crete, NE: J-B Publishing Company.
Van Metre, Isaiah (editor). (1904) History of Black Hawk county,
Iowa, and representative citizens. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company.