Ghost Towns of Washington County, Iowa
28 Nov 2012nfj
(Excerpts from the Summer 2008, issue of the WCGS newsletter)

Thirty one ghost towns in Washington County that sprouted post offices and then lost their momentum as competition set in from the larger towns. The railroads passed them by and improved highways and better methods of travel completed their demise. A few news items have survived and are evidenced in the scattered news clippings posted elsewhere on this site. See the newspaper index for Washington Democrat, Washington Press, etc publications.

AMBOY:  A post office (1851-62) in the southwestern part of the state located in Oregon township.
ASTORIA:  Laid out as a town in 1837 in section 28, Oregon township, in anticipation of being the county seat. A post office named  Pottsville  (See below) and a store are all it ever became.
BETHEL:  A post office (1897-1904) on the east side of section 24, Highland township.
CEDARVILLE: A post office (1860-1864) and later from (1866-1868) at or near where the town of Lexington was. (See below)
CENTER HILL:  Listed as a post office in Washington County in 1850-1851, but the location is unknown.
DAIRY:  A post office (1863-1875) in the western part of section 8, Highland township.
DAVIS CREEK:   A post office (1850-1867) near the southwest corner of Iowa township.
DAYTON: A town laid out in 1854 in the eastern part of section 13, and the western part of the east section18, Lime Creek township, about one mile north of the present town of Wellman. A few scattering houses remain.
DAYTONVILLE:  The name of the post office from 1875 to 1906 except some intermission in the town of Dayton, which see above.
DUBLIN: The name of the post office kept at a country store at Dutch Creek, which see below, from 1879-1905.
DUTCH CREEK: A post office in the northeastern part of section 22, Dutch Creek township from 1845 to 181879, when the name was changed to Dublin, which see above.
EUREKA: Laid out as a town in 1857 in the northwest quarter of section 18, Marion township, five miles south and one mile west of Washington. It never grew to be more than a hamlet. A few scattering houses remain.  
GRACE HILL: A village in the northwest part of section 31, Franklin township. Post office, 1889-1904.
HARRISBURG: A town laid out in 1855 in section 14, Highland township.  Short lived.
JUAN: A post office (1844-50) in the northwestern part of Marion township, about five miles south of Washington.
LAKE: A post office (1850-65) in the northeastern part of Marion township.
LEXINGTON: A town laid out in 1865 in the southern part of section 8, Cedar township. Post office 1858-1906. It still has a church and a few scattered houses.
MARCELLUS: A post office (1870-82) in the western part of Marion township.  
MIDDLEBURG:  A post office (1870-82) in the eastern part of section 9, English River township.
MILLS: Another name, as appears on maps of 1865, of Wassonville, which see below.
NEW HAVEN: A post office (1857-66) in the eastern part of Dutch Creek township, about one mile east of Dutch Creek, which see above.

PARIS: A town laid out in the southern part of section 30, Dutch Creek township. Its post office was Valley. One store, a church, and a few scattered dwellings remain.
PILOTBURG: A hamlet in the northeastern part of the east section 33, Lime Creek township, two miles south and three miles east of the present town of Wellman. Post office, 1891-1903.
POTTSVILLE: The name of the post office from 1839 o 1860 at Astoria, see above.
SEVENTY SIX CENTER: A post office from 1870 to 1873 near the center of  Seventy Six township.
TITUS: A station on the C.M. & St. P. RY, in the northwestern part of section 28, Franklin township, about five miles southwest of Washington. It had a post office from 1910 to 1913.
VALLEY: The name of the post office from 1851 to 1905 at the town of Paris, see above.
VINCENT: A station on the C. R. I. & P. Ry on  the southern part of Franklin  township, as shown on map of 1887.
WASSONVILLE: A village laid out in 1848 in the eastern part of section 12 and the western pat of the east section 7, Lime Creek township, about midway as to north and south of the two sections and on the north side of English River. It had a good mill and was an important town on the stage route and underground railroad, Post office, 1849-75.
WHITE ASH: A post office 1873-1885 in section 1 of Highland township.
YATTON: A town laid out in 1856 in the northeast  corner of the present town of Riverside. At one time it had a population of about 300. Post Office--1843-1875.

Not sure if this town became a ghost town as source and date of the clipping is not given. It was interesting enough to include in

NIRA: The town of Nira, located in Lime Creek township in the northern part of the county, suddenly sprang into prominence when the National Recovery Act flourished in 1933. It was decided to print N-I-R-A stamps and through the efforts of Congressman E. C. Eicher, these stamps were to be put on sale at Nira, Iowa, eh first place in the United States. Never before nor since has the town seen such a crowd. People came from all over the county to buy the first stamps and have them canceled at the town itself.
    It was an unusual name for a town, its origin going back to 1880 when Col. W.B. Bell was postmaster at Washington. The little town in Lime Creek township was becoming quite a shipping center, a railroad was to run through there. It was to have a post office and so as was the custom, the postmaster at the county seat was given the honor of naming the new "child". the land for the town site was given by J. W. Lewis.
  On Col. Bell's desk at the post office was the picture of his wife Nira Bell. Perhaps it was her birthday, perhaps she had prepared a grand dinner for him that day; anyhow he was feeling a bit sentimental, and the thought came to him, "Why not name it, Nira?" It was short, it caught the publics fancy, and "Nira" it became. A flourishing wide awake little village with several stores, fine citizens, a railroad station,  and a post office.
  Like many of these little towns, it did not continue to flourish. Nira's big day was almost her swan song. At least a few months later, the post office was discontinued. The school that was so flourishing has few scholars, but the beautiful fertile land remains and people who live there love their picturesque place. Washington county sincerely hopes it will not become a ghost town