Towns - Post Offices - Rail Stops
of Jefferson County

KRUM
(Center Township)

"KRUM". Sec. 31, Fairfield (now Center) Township. First named Whitfield; see below. P.O. Est. 27 Jul 1892; disc. 19 Jun 1895; never actually in operation but Stephen A. Hutton was named postmaster. P.O. Est. 18 Jun 1896 with David A. Loury as p. m.; he was succeeded by Mrs. Emma Howard 1898; disc. 23 Nov. 1899. Named for Thomas Krum, many years a faithful employee of C B & Q RR at Agency."
The above information was compiled by Mary Prill and published in the Hawkeye Heritage, July 1967.

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The following story was originally one of a number of articles in the Fairfield Ledger which was later included in the book Villages and Towns of Yester-year in Jefferson County by William R. Baker. We hereby include it on this page with the permission of the Fairfield Ledger.

Names mentioned in this article are as follows:
      Frank McBride; Roll Sheets; Louis Heston; Tom Liddle; Jonathan Walker; Carrie Baker.


This village only memory

   As one drives across Cedar Bottom along Highway 303 toward Libertville it is hard to realize the area south of the creek and west of the highway was once the location of a busy little community which served as a fuel and water stop for the early railroad.
   The little town was Krum, one of the many smaller communities in Jefferson County which have completely vanished.
   There seems to be few records telling the story of Krum which "passed out of the picture" when the railroad changed location.
   But Krum did exist. Frank McBride, who resides a short distance west of Libertyville, can remember going to Krum.
   "When I was eight or nine years old, we went to Krum to catch the train to Fairfield," he recalled. He said there were some buildings including a depot, store building and some homes.
   McBride, who has lived all his life in the Libertyville area, said he enjoyed going to Krum with a neighbor, Roll Sheets, especially in the winter. "He had a sleigh with sleigh bells," McBride said, "and I really liked that."
   There is a rusty pump near the road in front of the McBride home. "People used to always stop for water years ago", he said. "It was a good well."
   Despite his advanced age, McBride still occupies the old home place where he was born and has always lived.
   A news item in the September 26, 1957, edition of the Ledger, stated Louis Heston, now deceased remembered Krum in its final days yet knew little of its past history.
   He said there was still evidence of the buildings and homes that once made up the little community.
   When Krum was established the railroad, now the Burlington Northern, traveled west out of Fairfield as it does now north of Highway 34. At a point about 3 1/2 miles west of Fairfield it turned south and crossed the wagon road now Highway 34.
   The crossing became know as "Deadman's Crossing" because of the many accidents which took place at that location.
   The right-of-way continued on south, crossed Cedar Creek then turned west along the south side of the creek. For many years the old stone abutments were visible where the tracks crossed the stream.
   After crossing the creek the railroad continued on to Krum. It is said at one time Krum had three stores, a depot and a pump house to pump water from the creek to a water tank in Krum.
   Krum was first a wood and water stop for the trains and was later converted to a coal and water stop.
   Krum was first known as Whitfield Station. But the railroad company later changed the name from Whitfield to Krum when trainmen got Whitfield orders mixed up with the Fairfield orders.
   Tom Liddle, who resides in the 400 block of West Kirkwood, said his grandfather, the late Jonathan Walker, often talked about when President McKinley had his railroad car set off on a sidetrack at the out-of-the-way place of Krum where he could get some rest.
   The railroad started re-routing the right-of-way from Fairfield to Batavia in 1898. In 1900 the work was completed and Krum was left high-and-dry with no railroad and no reason for existence.
   Back in 1957, Carrie Baker, now deceased, said she could remember when the Methodist Sunday School held its annual picnic at Krum. The trip was made by train and the picnic was held along Cedar Creek north of the depot.
   What was once the Krum post office is now a dwelling in Fairfield. It stands on the southeast corner of the intersection of Tenth and Hempstead.
   Many years ago while carpenters were making repairs on the house they tore away part of the original siding. Printed on the sheeting underneath was "Krum Post Office." It is said the building was moved to its present location by the Iowa Malleable Iron Co.
   If one would search the area today perhaps evidence of the old foundations may still be located.

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The Fairfield Daily Ledger, Sept. 26, 1957.

NOTHING REMAINS OF KRUM, ONCE RAILROAD WATER STOP.

As one drives across Cedar Bottom along highway 303 toward Libertyville today, it is hard to realize that the area south of the creek and west of the highway was once the location of a busy little community that served as a fuel and water stop for the early railroad. The little town was Krum, one of the many smaller communities in the county which have completely vanished.

There seems to be very few records telling the story of Krum which "passed out of the picture" when the railroad changed its location. Kenneth Adkisson, 505 S. Third, was the first to shed some light on the old community. He said he used to farm the area on which Old Krum was located, and found several items in the ground indicating that someone inhabited the land at one time. Louis Heston, 207 E. Broadway and a retired rural mail carrier, remembers Krum in its final days, yet he knows little of its history.

But Krum did exist. There are still evidences of the buildings and homes that once made up the little community. One can follow the route of the old railroad right-of-way as it skirted the south edge of Cedar Bottom, just far enough away from the creek to remain out of flood danger. As Heston put it, "Railroads back in those days followed the path of least resistance, following creeks and streams to keep from cutting through hills and grading."

That was certainly true of the first right-of-way between Fairfield and Batavia. The railroad remained north of highway 34 until it reached what used to be known as "Dead Manís Crossing." The railroad turned south and crossed the wagon road, now highway 34, at a point east of where the radio station is located west of Fairfield. The right-of-way continued on south, then turned west to follow along the south side of Cedar Creek. The old stone abutments are still visible where the tracks crossed the stream.

After the old railroad turned west, it continued on to Krum. The foundation of the old depot is still there. It is now in the middle of a heavy blue grass pasture. Unless you walk right to it, the foundation is not visible. The old railroad traveled west about a quarter of a mile south of the creek. Water from the creek was pumped to the water tank at Krum. The old stone base for the dam is still visible in the creek, and the old foundation for the pump house can still be seen. Adkisson said he had been told that Krum was first a wood and water stop. Later it was converted to a coal and water stop.

Heston said Krum was first known as Whitfield Station. But the railroad company later changed the name of Whitfield to Krum when trainmen got Whitfield orders mixed up with Fairfield orders. Heston said as he recalls, the railroad started work in re-routing the right-of-way from Fairfield to Batavia in 1889. In 1900 the work was completed, and Krum was left "high and dry".  It finally faded clear away.

But some of the old buildings that once were located in Krum are still standing. A house that once was located at Krum is now a chicken house on the Merrill Elliott farm a few miles away. What once was the Krum post office is now a dwelling in Fairfield. It stands on the southeast corner of the intersection of Tenth and Hempstead streets. It is covered with imitation brick siding. Many years ago while carpenters were making repairs on the house, they tore away part of the siding. Printed on the old wooden siding underneath was "Krum Post Office." The building was moved to its present location many years ago by the Iowa Malleable Iron Company.

The area which was once Krum is now part of the farm land owned by Grover McElvain who acquired the land in 1939. "I know there used to be a town or something here," he commented. "I am constantly turning up marbles, toys, pieces of crockery and so forth when I plow through here."

That is all that is left of Krum other than the memories of older residents of the community.




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