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1899 Semi-Centennial

Source: Decorah Republican Oct. 12, 1899 P 1 C 3, 4

this page was last updated on Monday, 06 April 2020


A Business Picture of Fifty Years
of Progress by its Present
Business Houses.


A Record for Present Worth, as well as one that the Orator or
Historian May Draw Upon at the Celebration
of Decorah's Centennial Year.

Fifty years ago, in June, the Day family chose a site beside a beautiful spring on the south bank of the Upper Iowa river as their permanent abiding place. Unconsciously they began laying the foundations of Decorah. Others soon joined them and aided in building the future city; but these soon dropped out of sight, and the name of the Day Family alone remains indissolubly associated with Decorah as the pioneer settlers of the future city. Most events connected with the early beginnings have been collated in due form and recorded in the annals of history; and it is not our purpose at this time to repeat what has been otherwise satisfactorily recorded. We are dealing with the present, and the intention of this publication is to lay another foundation for the centennial historian to build an addition to the records already made;—to supply him with data from which he can draw an accurate picture of what Decorah was in its semi-centennial existence.

The life of a nation, a state, or a community, is just what its citizens make. The rise or fall—the progress or decay—of a city is dependent upon the qualities—the push and enterprise—of its people. Cities exist not as mere organizations of individuals, but for the service they can render to others; the larger number and the greater the area to be served, decides the size and the greatness of the community Business is avarice and greed civilized to a point where it becomes push, enterprise and public spirit. Hence the record of any city's growth is written in the work of its public men, its merchants, mechanics, artisans, as well as, its clergy, its educators, professional, men and journalists.... On this account, the columns that follow, while having a large advertising Value in the present to those who are in the common expression of the day, “written up,” they are of still greater historical value for the future. It is hoped that not only will these columns be carefully read at this time by all into whose hands they will come, but that hundreds of copies will be laid away for careful preservation and for historical use by children and children's children, a quarter or half-century hence. For this purpose also, a brief narration of some general facts as to the city are appended

Decorah, in its broader sense, consists of two corporations lying on the cast and west side of the Upper Iowa River. In a business view the twain are one, the junior town being largely a residence portion of the elder city. Juno 10th, 1848, saw the beginnings of both. Four years later a town plat was filed; that of the Day half on Aug 17th. 1853, and the Painter half on the 7th of September, of the same year. June 30th, 1857, the town of Decorah was incorporated, and March 8lh, 1871, it was reorganized under the operations of law as a city of the second class.

By the census of 1890 the twain had a population of 3248; and by the state census of1895, this was increased to 3661. Since the latter date there has been a steady growth. Our mechanics and builders have been crowded with work erecting dwellings for the shelter of new comers who have found here homes. That the enumeration of 1900 will show a much better growth than in the first half of the decade, is indicated by the fact that the vote of the city for Governor in 1891 was 574; for the same office in 1894, 583; and in I898, 810.

The governments of these two corporations are, this date, composed of the following persons.

Mayor—George W. Adams
Clerk—T. E. Auchmoody
1st ward, John Stoskoff
 George E. Smith;
2d O. G. Arneson
John Finn
3d. N. H. Adams
 Geo. Bernatz
4th, W. E. Teskey
L. L. Couse
City Attorney—Dan Shea
Treasurer—E. J. Curtin
Assessor—C. McMastors
Marshal—C. F. Stiles
Night Patrol—Otto Olson
Street Commissioner—Jas. V. Allen.
Mayor—J. J. Marsh
Clerk—Fred .J. Mackenstadt
L. J. Miller
Otto F. Schwarz
Ole Korsrud
R. G Price
E.J Gillete
J. I. Tavenor
Treasurer—K. I. Haugen
Attorney—Frank Sayre
Street Commissioner—(acting) R. Mapson
Marshal—(acting) Jacob Schaub

In religious and educational affairs, Decorah is behind none. Her nine churches include two of the Lutheran denominations, two Methodists, and one each of the Congregational, Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, Unitarian and Salvation Army faith. They afford sittings to more than two-thirds of the residents of the city; and their Sabbath Schools are ample to care for all the school youth. The public schools under capable management, are affording educational scholastic advantages lo all the children of the city; and supplemented by higher or special educational institutions that add to the population, at times, from 750 to 1000 each year, as well as affording the best attainable privileges in collegiate and business courses. In the order of their age, these are Luther College that came to Decorah in 1861, Decorah institute, established by the late John Breckenridge in 1874, Vadler’s Business College and Normal School. And Immaculate Conception Academy.

We are unable to present, as we hoped to do, a complete census of the various business houses of the city; and as the work of preparing this semi-centennial edition is nearing completion, we are convinced that the patronage extended it renders this almost unnecessary. So large a proportion of them are represented in the columns ensuing this sketch, that we abandon a perfect enumeration.

For those who patronized this special issue we bespeak the kind attention of the reader, and suggest that this particular number after it has been carefully read be sent to former residents, or non-resident friends, to whom it will disclose what Decorah really is, and lastly—as suggested at the beginning of this announcement —that a copy be preserved for the pleasure, as well as information of the boys and girls who will be the men and women of active middle life in 1925, or the old people of 1950.

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NameEventDate of PaperPageCol
Arneson & Hokaasen, Marble and Granite Works
HOct. 12, 189922, 3
Bank, Citizens Savings
HOct. 12, 189921
Bank, National Bank of Decorah
HOct. 12, 189922
Bear, Ben
HOct. 12, 189915
Bernatz and Sons, Ice Cave Flour Mills
HOct. 12, 189911, 127, 1
Bernatz, George
HOct. 12, 189972
Bidne and Istad, Hardware
HOct. 12, 1899116
Brunt and Parman, Messrs
HOct. 12, 189916
Bucknell, W. S.
HOct. 12, 189917
Burdick, C. W.
HOct. 12, 189922
Chinnock, J. T.
HOct. 12, 1899115
Coleman, W. F. Dr.
HOct. 12, 1899125
Conover, F. W. Dr.
HOct. 12, 189971
HOct. 12, 189913, 4
Easton, W. L.
HOct. 12, 1899125
Engbertson, R. A.
HOct. 12, 1899121
Goddard, C. N.
HOct. 12, 189915, 6
Greer, Hawes and Co.
HOct. 12, 1899122
Gremm, F. J. D.
HOct. 12, 1899113, 4
Groff, N. R.
HOct. 12, 1899114, 5
Haase, F. W.
HOct. 12, 1899121, 2
Hansen, John L.
HOct. 12, 18991, 27, 1
Haugen, K. I.
HOct. 12, 1899114
Hedges, H. J.
HOct. 12, 189917
Hegner, Charles
HOct. 12, 1899124
Hegner, Ernest
HOct. 12, 189923, 4
Helwig, F. J.
HOct. 12, 1899124, 5
Helwig, F. J.
HOct. 19, 189934
Hexon, John C.
HOct. 12, 1899123
Hotel, Winneshiek
HOct. 12, 189974
Hoyt, E. W.
HOct. 12, 1899117
Huthinson, H. J.
HOct. 12, 189925
Ingvoldstad & Co., Lumber and Building material
HOct. 12, 1899115, 6
Jackwitz, J.
HOct. 12, 1899122
Johnson, H. P.
HOct. 12, 1899115
Johnson, P
HOct. 12, 189972, 3
Keegan, Mary E.
HOct. 12, 189922
Kjomme and Ness, Fine Family Groceries
HOct. 12, 1899122, 3
Larsen, Bros.
HOct. 12, 189923
Larsen, Iver
HOct. 12, 189924
Linkenheil and Haas, Meat Market
HOct. 12, 1899113
Linnevold and Ode, Fine Family Groceries
HOct. 12, 189973
Mackenstadt, J. H.
HOct. 12, 1899123, 4
Marsh, B. O.
HOct. 12, 1899123
Marsh, J. J.
HOct. 12, 189971
Marsh, L. A.
HOct. 12, 1899114
McCusker, J. A.
HOct. 12, 1899124
Miller & Son, Decorah Steam Laundry
HOct. 12, 189921
Mollart, C. A.
HOct. 12, 189973
Oneil, John
HOct. 12, 189971
Paine, H. D.
HOct. 12, 1899117
Paturka, I. J.
HOct. 12, 189916
Pharmacy, Eagle
HOct. 12, 189972
Prastmark, H. A.
HOct. 12, 1899116
Reed, E. T.
HOct. 12, 1899124
Reed, P. E.
HOct. 12, 189972
Reynolds, B. J.
HOct. 12, 1899113
Riley and Baker, Lumber
HOct. 12, 189916, 7
Rosenthal, Emil
HOct. 12, 189971
Rudolph, Ed
HOct. 12, 1899121
Schuck, Dry Goods Company
HOct. 12, 189921
Simpson, R.
HOct. 12, 1899117
Sinclair, G. E.
HOct. 12, 189974
Spurr, E. Willard
HOct. 12, 189973, 4
St. Cloud, Hotel
HOct. 12, 1899116, 7
Topliff, C. L. Dr.
HOct. 12, 189973
Torsen, M. T.
HOct. 12, 1899123
Trzcinski, C.
HOct. 12, 1899125
Vance Bros., Fancy Groceries
HOct. 12, 1899116
Wilbur, Lumber Co.
HOct. 12, 189923
Winneshiek, County Bank
HOct. 12, 189915
Wrangler Bros.
HOct. 12, 1899113

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