Nathan Edward Goldthwait.

History of Boone County, Iowa (Volume 1) online

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important ones of the county. It has a very neat and comfortable
depot on West Sixth Street, which is easily reached bv the trolley.


The coming of the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern Railroad
to Boone was hailed with acclaim by all her citizens. It was in
February, 1906, that under the direction of the general manager,
J. L. Blake, it was determined to electrify and lease from the Newton
& Northwestern Railroad Company, a steam road running from
Newton to Rockwell City, that part of the line from what is now
Fort Dodge Junction to Des Moines Junction, and build lines inter-
mediary between the junctions and the cities whose names they bear,
tapping a rich rural territory and making a short line from Des
Moines to Fort Dodge. The Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern
Interurban was organized for this purpose, and in the deal the Fort
Dodge street car system and the Ames and College dummv line
were included, involving the construction of a seven-mile branch from
Kelly to the Iowa State College, the electrifying of the College road
and the building of a college depot. The work of construction was
immediately begun early in the year 1906 and was completed in 1907.
The track, roadbed and rolling stock were designed and constructed
to handle heavy freight and traffic as well as a fast passenger service.
The Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern crosses or reaches every
trunk line in the State of Iowa, has through freight rates and billing
arrangements with every one of them, and through these agreements
Boone enjoys almost the same advantages of transportation facilities
as if it were actually reached by these trunk lines.

The main powerhouse was built at Fraser at a great cost. The
roadbed can hardly be surpassed, as it is well constructed with


jo-pound steel rails, laid upon the best white oak ties. The streams
are crossed bv steel bridges, one of which, over the Des Moines River,
five miles south of Fort Dodge, is of the very highest character in
point of material and construction. Another is the trestle whicii
spans one of the canvons west of Boone, which is mo feet long and
150 feet high.

The general office building of the road was C(Mistructed in 1907
and stands on the east side of Story Street, between 'i'enth and Elev-
enth streets, it is a two-story brick and afifords depot facilities and
office rooms for olhcials located here. The car barns are at Eleventh
and Harrison streets.

IOWA K.MI.W'.W .\.\1) IJtillT COMP.XXV

No enterprise in the City of Boone has shown such rapid develop-
ment as its public utilities. We would especially mention the street
railway system and the electric lighting system of the city. In the
beginning these were separate. Now thev are combined under one
ownership and management and have grown to enterprises of great

In 1883 J. R. W'hitaker, L. W. Reynolds and I. B. Hodges organ-
ized the Boone & Boonesboro Street Railwav Companv, with a capi-
tal stock of $30,000. Tracks were laid from the courthouse square
to Eighth and Story streets, and thence one block north, along prac-
ticallv the same route as is now traversed bv the street railway line.
The track was narrow gauge, the cars were drawn bv a single horse,
and the seating capacitv of the first cars was for ten people, although
frequentlv three times this number crowded aboard. Later as pat-
ronage increased cars of twice the capacity of the first ones were
purchased, the track broadened and two horses were emploved in
pulling the cars. 'l"he horse cars continued until 189:5; in the mean-
time .Mr. Reynolds had acquired the entire ownership of the propertv.

The first electric lights were installed in i88q. In that vear the
Hoone Electric Light Company was formed with the following cor-
porators and officers: Louis Goeppinger, president; Frank Chanip-
lin, secretary and treasurer; Louis Burgis, superintendent; C. J. A.
Ericson, J. .M. Herman and F. Holbrook. The capita! stock was
$10,000. The articles of incorporation adopted bv them declared the
business to be "the establishment and operation of central lighting
stations at Boone and Boonesboro." These men were the principal
owners ot the B lone Linseed Oil Companv, and thev had conceived


the idea of generating electricity at tlie linseed oil mill with the en-
gines used to run the mill during the daytime. A franchise was
readily granted them by the city; lines were extended to supply such
customers as wished the service, but electric lighting besides being
novel was regarded much as an experiment, customers were few, the
cost of manufacture and distribution was expensive and the service
was regarded as a luxury. It must be said for the promoters of this
enterprise that they were the pioneers in the field of electric lighting
in Central Iowa. The system they installed, then called the Kdison
system, was among the first, if not the first, of its kind, in the state.
This plant continued to operate until April i, 1892, when it was
found that the same would have to be rebuilt, involving larger expen-
ditures, and these men, who had been operating the plant largely out
of public spirit, wished to retire from the field, and closed down the
plant. For more than a year the city had no lighting system.

Came forward now L. W. Reynolds. He had long been one of
Boone's leading attorneys. He was a builder and organizer. He
was the owner of the horse street railway, he w^as observing the growth
of the city, he could see its bright future, he had been watching the
application of electricity as a motive power, electricity for lighting
had passed its experimental stage and had become a necessity rather
than a luxury. His proposition was to unite the lighting and street
railway systems and operate the latter with electric power. Many
looked upon this as an experiment, and an unwise one at that, but
he was willing to hazard his capital, and the coterie of gentlemen
'who had started the Boone Electric Light Company joined hands in
the enterprise.

Mr. Reynolds in 1892 organized the Boone Electric Street Rail-
way & Light Company with a capital of $200,000. Bonds amounting
to $75,000 were issued to take over the properties and rebuild them.
A new electric plant, a model for its day, was erected, lighting lines
extended, street railway electrified, and all went into operation in
the summer and fall of 1893. In 1901 Mr. Reynolds built a suburban
line from the courthouse to Shepardtown, west of the city, and later
extended this to the Boone viaduct. In 1902 he built the central
heating system operated in connection with the electric plant, by
which the business district and a part of the residence district of the
city is heated. He had other plans for the extension of his properties
when death overtook him July 31, 1903.

John Reynolds, son of L. W., succeeded him as president and
manager of the companies and properties. His management was


efficient and successful, but iidw it was found again tliat the system
his fatlur had built up had been outgrown by the growing city. In
1910 he secured new franchises and had begun to rebuild the prop-
erties when the present owners of the properties came upon the scene,
anti completed the purchase of the same.

Col. William G. Dows, Isaac B. Smith and |ohn A. Reed, of
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ac(]uired these properties in 191 1, and operated
the same under name of Boone Electric Company, until September
I, 1912, when the same was taken over by Iowa Railway & Light
Company, a company organized by them, which also acquired the
electric properties and public utilities of numerous other Iowa cities
and towns. Their policy lias been to build up their properties. At
Boone, the [lowerhouse was entirely abandoned and a new jiower-
house with new machinery was installed, the lighting lines renewed
and extended, the street railway improved and new equipment added.
This company owns and operates the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City
Railway running between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and Cedar
Rapids and .\It. Vernon, the street railways at Boone, Marshalltown,
Tama and Toledo, heating properties in Cedar Rapids, Boone,
IMarion and Perry, the gas plant in Marshalltown; but their growing'
field is in tiie manufacture and sale and distribution of electricity
for liglit and power. At Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown, Boone, Perry
and Neyada they operate electric power plants and bv a system of
transmission lines reaching out from these plants light the cities and
towns and furnish power for the industries for manv cities and towns
through the central portion of the state.

From the Boone plant electricity is transmitted for lighting and
power purposes to Madrid, Slater, Sheldahl, Woodward, Bouton
and connected for the operation of their plant in the City of Perry.
In all the cities and towns in which this company is operating prac-
tically all of the wheels of industry are turned with the power
supplied by them.

So it will be seen that from the small start that Louis Goeppinger
(still living) made thirty years ago the Boone Electric System has
become not only large enough to meet the future needs of the city for
years to come, but is built to supply the surrounding cities and towns.
As this article is being written, word comes that Jefiferson, county
seat of Cjreene County, and a number of towns of that county will be
supplied with electric current from these plants of Iowa Railway &
Light Company over high voltage lines.


This all means that wc arc in a new era so far as electricity is
concerned, and Boone has taken the same prompt place in tiie
advancement within this era as our enterprizinL? townsmen took in

However, in these days of highly developed efficiency, manage-
ment and service, history must record the pioneers in the electric
lighting and street railway field in the city. The name of L. W.
Reynolds will always be remembered in connection with these days
of the early development of these enterprises. For many years S. T.
Stanfield was secretary of his companies and actively engaged in their
management; around here are also those who helped in their way to
make these public enterprises a success. Looking forward it would
seem that further advances were impossible, but who knows but that
the future holds as much as did the past, covered by this article.


The reader has been familiarized up to this point with the acts
of those in authority leading to the locating of the county seat and
the naming of it Boonesboro. A former chapter gives the details of
this important event. The province of this chapter is to portray, in
a general way, how the town was settled, by whom, the first habita-
tions, business places, courtrooms, hotel, church, school, etc.

As will be remembered, the Town of Boonesboro was laid out
early in the summer of 1851, and almost immediately thereafter
Wesley C. Hull erected a log house, the first building put up in the
county seat town. This crude and primitive structure was built on
a lot just east of the public square and for some time served the
varied purposes of a home for its proprietor, boarding house or
tavern, business house, postoffice, courthouse, school and church.
And after the old building was removed, the site upon which it stood
served for many years as a location for local hostelries, chief among
which were the Parker House and its successor, the Occidental
Hotel. To Wesley C. Hull is given the distinction of being Boones.
boro's first inhabitant, but his advent was probably coexistant with
the coming of S. B. McCall, John Houscr, J. A. McFarland, William
Carroll, Dr. J. F. Rice, Dr. D. S. Holtonand Wesley Carroll.

Boonesboro's growth the first two or three years was practically
a negligible quantity, as no business concern is recorded as coming
into existence until 1854. In the month of December of that year,
J. A. McFarland established the first mercantile house, opening a
general stock of goods in a small building east of the present court-
house square. Mr. McFarland, even for those early days, when the
countv was sparsely settled and money scarce, carried a large stock
of goods, and as the town grew he prospered. He was the pioneer
merchant of Boonesboro, became successful in his undertakings and
was a powerful and consistent factor in building Boonesboro, and
later, its successful rival, Boone. He became a banker, and in 1873



built tlic most pretentious business structure for that day in Boone,
still standing on the nortlnvest corner of Eightli and Keeler Streets,
and used for banking purposes until early in the year 1914, when it
was vacated bv the Boone Security Trust and Savings Bank to take
up (]uarters in its new :f6o,(X)(:) home on the opposite corner.

Bv the vear 18(54 Boonesboro had grown to a hamlet of eleven
log houses and two of frame. The first frame building was put
up bv [. A. iMcFarland in i<S:;j^; the second structure of like material
was built bv C. lieal in the fall of iH£;4, and the third by Joiin
Houser, who, ostensiblv Iiaving the means and also the desire to
outshine his neighbors, built a frame structure in the winter of
1854-;;^, the size and architectural design of which made him tiie
envv of all beholders. Unfortunately, the Houser effort, soon after
completion, was destroved by tire during the absence of its owner,
but being heavilv insured, it is surmised the loss was only regretted
b\ those having no interest in the property other than that of local
pride in the growth of the embrvo city. Mr. Houser retired from
Boonesboro after the incident to take up the threads of a futuie
career in the farther western country.

The spring of i8qq found Boonesboro active and growing. By
this time there were eighteen families living here, a number of whose
names follow:}. A. McFarland, S. B. McCall, John A. Hull, Wesley
Carroll, William Carroll, C. J. McFarland, A. L. Spcer, Dr. L. J.
Royster, Elisha Bowman, C. T. Large, E. L. Hinton, James W.
Black and L. Regan. Before the end of the year George W. Crooks
and his widowed mother moved into town from the farm and Mr.
Crooks remembers there were then about three hundred inhabitants
in Boonesboro. John A. McFarland had a general store; John
Houser a hotel and store; \\'illiam Carroll had ready-made clothing
and notions; Shallum Thomas, a general store and afterwards prac-
ticed law; R, J. Shannon had the largest stock of goods of anv man
in town, which he installed in a building erected by himself in i8i;4.
Thomas Claflin was also one of the merchants in the latter part of
i8i;q. John McCarty dealt in stoves and tinware in a little frame
building, the second story of which soon became the first Odd Fellows'
temple in Boone County. William Bell was the village blacksmith,
and one Newhouse ran a diminutive sawmill, built in 1854. Fie
continued in the business about five years and then sold the mill to
Doctor Rice. James \Y. Black was long in the trade at Boonesboro
and then became a mercliant at Boone, later applving his energies to
the buying aiid selling of live stock.


The first schoolhousc was built of logs and stood on the site of
the old I'ifth ward school building. C. W. Hamilton presided
over this primitive institution of learning. The building was used
for many purposes. Church societies, then in their infancy, held
religious mcLtings within its walls. It was here that Reverend Mont-
gomery, a Methodist circuit rider, and afterwards county judge,
preached the Word to the spiritually famishing, and in the old
schoolroom Judge C. J. McFarland, noted for his erudition, legal
acumen and eccentricities, held the early courts of the fifth judicial
district, of which Boone County was then a part.

The original Town of Boonesboro lay within the confines of
the northwest quarter of Section 29, Township 84, Range 26, and con-
sisted of a public square, devoted to courthouse purposes; twenty-
four blocks of eight lots each, four streets and five alleys. The
streets were si.\ty feet wide. Several additions were laid out, the
most noteworthy of which was the one of 1865, when the railroad
was completed and Boone sprang into existence. The object of its
proprietor was evidently to extend Boonesboro in the direction of the
depot, far away from the old town, and thus bring the two places
together, to the advantage of the county seat. But the effort "died
a-bornin'." The new town (Montana) grew apace, while Boones-
boro and Capp's Addition, despite every efifort, took a retrograde
movement and at last, meeting and recognizing the inevitable,
acknowledged defeat. Extensive and fatuous building operations
ceased and soon Montana, now the City of Boone, was in full sway
and the county seat, as a separate entity and controlling municipal
factor, lost its identity in that of its rival and successful competitor.


Boonesboro remained a part of the township in which it is situ-
ated, for governmental purposes, until June 4, 1865, when it was
incorporated. An election was held soon thereafter and the follow-
ing officers were elected: Mayor, John A. Hull; recorder, Samuel
B. McCall; aldermen, Charles Schleiter, D. C. Ketchum, Walter

In November, 1865, the town council of Boonesboro, m?t and
adopted a seal and described the boundaries of the municipalitv. At
this time the population was about two thousand and the communitv
had prospered and C(jntinued so to do, even up to the year 1869, not-
withstanding the serious blow sustained in losing the railroad depot


and having an active and strenuous competitor right at her door.
The county seat was in for another bhick eye, however, when, in
1866, Montana (Boone) was gi\en a postoffice, named Boone Station,
Not satisfied with tins, the new town vainly attempted to wrest from
the county seat its temple of justice, by defeating at the polls in the
fall of 186^ a proposition to build a new courthouse. In the summer
of 1914, Boone's ambition in this direction again was thwarted by
residents of the localitv in which the old town is located, when tiiey
successfullv retarded the construction of a new courthouse, sought to
be located in another place from its present site, by having a tem-
porary injunction allowed, enjoining the board of supervisors from
issuing $200,000 in bonds, to be expended on a site and new court-
house building.


The Citv of Boone was laid out bv John I. Blair, March 4, 1865,
and named Montana. Blair was the chief factor in the building
of the first railroad into Boone, which is now known as the Chicago
& Northwestern, and when he died a quarter of a century ago, he
left an estate estimated to be worth $40,000,000. The original site
of the town was located in the north part of Section 21, Township 84.
An auction sale of lots tt)ok place S(Jon thereafter. But all of this
occurred before the railroad was finished and operating into the
place. As an inducement to purchasers of lots it was advertised by
Blair that a depot would be located in the proposed town, that the
latter would be made a division point, the erection of a roundhouse
was assured and that shops of the company and the general offices
would be established here. Relying upon these promises manv per-
sons assembled nt the place chosen for the purpose on the 29th day
of .March. i86q, and bought fiftv lots, at prices ranging from $c;o
to $1500 each.

At the time Boone was laid out one house stood within its con-
fines. This had been built by a Mr. Keeler in 1856, and was a
two-story frame affair, put up for a tavern, and stood on Storv Street,
a short distance south of the railroad. The building was removed
to another location soon after the first sale of lots and became the
St. James Hotel, "mine host" being Capt. Samuel Crozier. Not
long afterward a building was erected opposite the St. James for '
hotel purposes by C. E. Phipps and was named the Eagle House.
During this season of 186:;, over one hundred houses, most of them


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of a temporary character, were built, designed for both business and
residence purposes. In 1H66, building increased over the former
years by at least one hundred per cent and in 1S67 the number of
houses erected of all kinds exceeded the efforts of the two first years.

Andrew Downing, a native of Illinois, was one of the first pur-
chasers of lots in the new town. Desiring to buihl on his lot, which
is situated on Story Street and south of Eighth, he was compelled
to haul his lumber and other heavy material from Nevada by teams,
as the railroad was not yet in operation at this place. He had the
building under way by th? last of May and on the first day of Sep-
tember, 1865, Mr. Downing opened in this, the first building erected
in the town after it had been laid out, a stock of groceries and other
necessaries, and thus became the premier merchant of the future
City of Boone. The building in which he began business was a
two-story frame, with ground dimensions of 20x34 feet. The second
storv was occupied as a residence. In March, 1866, the new town
was successful, after much difficulty and vexation of spirit, in pro-
curing a postofiice. Mr. Downing received the appointment as
postmaster and kept the office in his store. The further history of
the Boone postoffice is treated elsewhere. However, it should be
here stated that the department at Washington named the first post-
office here Booneville. This was subsequently changed to Montana
and finally to Boone.

Henry Hile put up the second house in Boone, a frame structure,
which stood on the corner of Eighth and Allen streets. In this
building Mr. Hile began a general mercantile business and continued
manv vears. About the year 1893. Otto Hile, a son of this pioneer
merchant, removed the little old frame from the lot and erected in
its stead a modern three-story brick building, the two upper floors
of which are given over to the Boone branch of the Des Moines
Knitting Mills.

Before the expiration of the year 1865 Louis Burgess built a
two-story frame structure on the corner of Eighth and Story streets,
which he stocked with a varied selection of dry goods. After serving
its purpose long and well the old frame gave way to the present
large brick business and office building known as the Mason Block.

A business building was erected on the corner of Story and
Seventh streets in the same year of Boone's birth by A. Robinson.
Here was probablv the first boot and shoe store, as such, in the tow^n.
The house was subsequently moved to the corner of Eighth and
Keeler streets and serves as a dwelling and business place. H.


Robinson, when the town was started, also built a house on Story
Street, and here began the clothing business of the place. About
this time A. J. Roberts erected a building on the lot where the old
City Bank, stood and engaged as a retail grocer; J. B. Crafts was
another one to build tins Hist year; Reynolds Brothers opened a stock
of boots and shoes on the ground floor of the buihling and in the
second story was a photograph gallery. During all this time many
residences had gone up in different parts of the town, which gave to
Messrs. Blair, Holcomb, Beal, Keeler and other proprietors of the
land much comfort and financial gain. 'I'hose taking chances in
leaving their Eastern homes and building a new town and making an
anchorage for themselves and families were greatly encouraged by
the outlook. Boone was coming on apace, and a pretty swift one at
that, so tiiat all who were interested were gratified and induced to go
on with the venture.

The hrsl building in Boone put to tiie uses of a sciiool was erected
by David Lutz in 1865, on Seventh Street. The hrst floor was
converted into a schoolroom and the second served for living rooms.
Another important feature of the year 1865 pertinent to this history
is the fact that before the year had waned and passed away, religious
services were held in the new town under some Cottonwood trees
that stooii in the front of the St. James Hotel. Reverend Snodgrass,
wlio figures in the history of the Methodist Church of Boonesboro,
now known as the Marion Street Methodist Church, preached to a

Online LibraryNathan Edward GoldthwaitHistory of Boone County, Iowa (Volume 1) → online text (page 38 of 49)