Towns - Post Offices - Rail Stops
of Jefferson County

Salina/Buena Vista
(Buchanan/Lockridge Township)

"SALINA. At the corners of Secs. 7 & 18, Lockridge Township, Secs. 12 & 13, Buchanan Township. Laid out in April, 1852, by Thomas Allender and John Hoaglin. Named for Salina Park who married Amon Garrett. Plat, p.23, 1909 Atlas. P.O. Est. 21 Apr 1852, David Cowan, first p. m.; L. Launchbaugh was postmaster in 1859; office disc. 15 Jun l904. Peter Hoaglin at one time kept a store, also a hotel under the sign "Travelers Rest." Pop. in 1894, 200. By 1914 Salina was acquiring cement sidewalks and street lights. The Presbyterian Church marked its 1lOth anniversary on Jul. 17, 1966."

"BUENA VISTA. Laid out in Aug 1851 in Sec. 13 in the present township of Buchanan. It was surplanted in April 1852 by the town of Salina."
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:
       Lemuel Nelson, Will Parrot, Ruth Finney, Frank Nelson, Joe Schillerstrom, Townsend Schillerstrom, Clark, RoSalina Hiser, Joseph Schillerstrom, Solomon Clark, John Nelson, Lem Nelson, George Lewellen, George Peck, Dave Leathers, David Cowen, Eber Ogden, Mrs. Robert Erickson,  J.F. Nelson, J.O. Johnson, Joseph Junkin, Dr. J.B. Bradshaw, Dr. W.T. Machesney, J.M. Munson.

Salina residents once had own theatre company

   There is little left of the once thriving community of Salina located approximately five miles northeast of Fairfield on the east edge of Buchanan Township. It is located on what was once known as the wagon trail from Burlington to Packwood.
   Perhaps its major claim for fame is the fact it was the home for what is believed to be Jefferson County's first traveling theatrical group.
   Similar to other small communities, Salina had its own Literary Society which provided entertainment for the community.
   From that group Parrot's Comedy Co. was formed. The group traveled to nearby towns presenting a three-act drama,"Out In the Streets". Traveling by horses and wagons, they found lodging with people living in the towns where they performed. That was true except Glasgow. It had a hotel, one of the first in the county. Lemuel Nelson was listed as manager and Will Parrot was listed as stage manager.
   Information concerning the Salina Literary Society was provided by Ruth Finney, former resident of Fairfield now living in Sun City, Arizona.
   Lemuel Nelson, manager of the theatrical group, was her father. He was born in 1869 in Salina where he spent his early life. After operating a store in Salina, a creamery in Birmingham and a coal mine at Perlee, he moved to Fairfield in 1900.
   In Fairfield, he operated the L. J. Nelson Shop in New Chicago area manufacturing galvanized feed and water tanks for many years. He died in 1957. His brother, Frank Nelson, was in the well drilling business in Fairfield over a long period of time.
   One of Salina's best known citizens was Joe Schillerstrom who operated a general store in Salina for over 56 years. He was born in 1885 at Salina and spent his entire life in that community.
   His parents came to the United States from Sweden in May, 1846. Six months later they reached the Midwest and established their home on a 136-acre farm near Salina.
   Joe and a partner by the name of Clark purchased a store in Salina in 1898. Joe finally became sole owner and remained in business for well over a half-century. He witnessed the rise and fall of Salina.
   He was assisted by his son Townsend Schillerstrom who drove the huckster wagon for many years. Townsend, now 89, lives near Lockridge and still follows his hobby of raising flowers.
    His daughter RoSalina Hiser, still resides in the Schillerstrom property in Salina where she pursues her photography business. Her grandfather, Joseph Schillerstrom, died in 1944, just short of his 90th birthday.
   The elder Mr. Schillerstrom recalled when he purchased the store in 1898 there were three others in Salina operated by Solomon Clark, John Nelson, father of Lem Nelson, and the Billingsley store.
   Other establishments along Main Street were three blacksmith shops, George Lewellen's wagon shop, an undertaker, post office, two doctors' offices, hotel and post office.
   The Salina Post Office was established April 21, 1852, and it was discontinued June 15, 1904. George Peck was the first postmaster.
   Much of the material pertaining to Salina was provided by Dave Leathers who resides in the Salina Community. He plans to write a book about Salina and has gathered a large amount of material and a number of old pictures concerning its early history.
   The town was named after Salina Park through the efforts of her admirer, David Cowen. Another name, Syracuse, was suggested by Eber Ogden, who had served as a major during the Civil War. After many heated arguments love won out, the residents chose Salina.
   The town's only saloon didn't last long. After three months of little business, the manager left town for a short time. During his absence an irate group of citizens broke into the saloon, ransacked the interior and threw beer kegs out of the windows. This incident was reported in the Fairfield Tribune, February 2, 1898.
   The Salina Creamery was probably the largest business enterprise in Salina, established in 1894 by a group of stockholders. It was located in a large two-story building.
   It was stated teams and wagons loaded with milk cans lined up for a half mile in two directions on certain days as farmers brought their produce to town.
   Reports said the firm did over $20,000 in business in 1896, quite a sum in those days. Approximately 60 tubs of butter were churned each week, most of it shipped to Newark, N.J. The creamery closed in 1906.
   For years, Salina had its own telephone switchboard. Work began on the system in 1902 when Salina was a thriving little community.
   When the local system first began there were 30 subscribers on the line. In 1957, shortly before it was terminated, it had 57 subscribers.
   Mrs. Robert Erickson, operator, resigned in 1957 after serving as operator for 13 years. The community is now served by the Continental Telephone Co. of Iowa.
   The Odd Fellows Lodge No. 427 was started in 1881. It occupies one of the few remaining old buldings in the community at the southwest corner of the intersection where two major wagon trails crossed. The lodge celebrated its 100th anniversary in June, 1981.
   The lodge meets each Monday night and the Rebekah Lodge meets every other Tuesday evening.
   The Salina Presbyterian Church was first organized in July, 1856, in the Lynn School house in the rural Richwoods Community west of Salina. As Salina continued to grow the church was moved to Salina. The church was dedicated in 1865. The church at Salina was built Quaker style with a partition down the center.
   In 1906 the church observed its 50th anniversary and its congregation continued to grow. The present building was erected in 1921 and dedicated in 1922.
   A Centennial Observance was held in 1956 and in 1966 a service marked its 110th anniversary. After 126 years the church is still active. Regular Sunday School classes and church services are held each Sunday with the Rev. Ted Whitham, Mount Pleasant, as pastor.
   Other churches that once existed in Salina were the Congregational Church which later was occupied by the Lutheran Congregation, Methodist Episcopal and the Free Methodist. Here are a few facts gleaned from the information gathered by Leathers:
   J.F. Nelson was proprietor of the hotel in 1898, J.O. Johnson was operating a blacksmith shop and made wagons. Joseph Junkin operated a saw mill east of Salina.

   Ice from a nearby pond was cut during the winter and stored in the stone-lined basement of the creamery building for summer use. In 1898 two doctors were practicing in Salina, Dr. J.B. Bradshaw and Dr. W.T. Machesney; J.M. Munson was the town's first insurance agent.

   The first school was located a half mile north, a small log building. In 1880, there were 79 students, 81 in 1881, after that the enrollment continued to drop. The original building was replaced by more modern structures at the same location.
   Leathers had converted the last building to a home after it was closed. It was damaged by fire some time ago.
   The David Cowen family is believed to be the first settlers in the community, arriving in 1846. The town was laid out in lots in 1853.
   The lots extended two blocks north of the cross roads, three blocks south, and three blocks east and west.
   Salina continued to grow through the years and was one of the county's major towns despite the fact it was never expected a railroad would serve the community. Perhaps that is what brought about its decline after more and modern means of transportation came into existence.

This page was created 06/28/2001. The page may be copied and used for personal purposes but can not be republished nor used for commercial purposes without the author's written permission.

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