Homer Howard Field.

History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) online

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one related above. It appeared that a colored man named McGee, an em-
ployee of the Pacific House, and George Washington, also colored, of the
Ogden, were rivals for the affections of a very dark colored woman of about
two hundred pounds weight. There was also rivalry between the two hotels,
and at the time it was hinted that some of the other employees and even
guests took sides in encouraging the rivalry. Be this as it may. Washington
was of lighter color than McGee, and with the prestige of his name added,
he seemed to be getting the best of McGee, who, becoming desperate, made
a raid upon the Ogden.


Washington, seeing him approaching, suspected danger, retreated, but
was followed into the house and shot down. McGee was tried, convicted
and sent up for ten years.

The Dohany theater was built during this year. On November 12
the city council granted the Edison Electric Light Company the right to
install their system.

At the city election in spring of 1884 W. R. Vaughan was elected mayor;
treasurer, John Clausen; auditor, F. A. Burke; engineer, J. F. Broadbeck;
marshal, F. H. Guennella; judge of the superior court, E. E. Aylesworth;.
solicitor, G. A. Holmes; assessor, Hiram Shoemaker; weighmaster, William
Galvin; clerk, E. A. Troutman; chief of the fire department, C. 1>. Walters;
chief of police, Thomas Skinner; street commissioner, A. F. Avery; alder-
men-at-large, P. J. McMahon and William Seidentopf; ward aldermen, first
ward, Conrad Geise; second. William Mynster; third, M. Keating; fourth,
W. C. James.

The city having moved into new quarters on Bryant street, the old
building which had done duty I'm- many years, first as bank, then as county
recorder and treasurer's offices, and finally a- city building, together with
the engine house and stable on the rear, fronting on Pierce street, were
ordered Mild and the ground on which they stood was used to widen Glenn

This spring the city also added a long step to its progress in paving
Broadway with granite blocks from First to Twelfth streets and Main from
Broadway to Sixteenth avenue. Many new buildings were added this year.
among which was the Creston Hon - by Max Mohn, being the first .-tine
fruiit in tlie city.

This year electric lights were introduced and the high tower- adopted
for street lighting.

This being presidential election year, the campaign opened early and
proved to he the liveliest for many years. W. II. M. Pusey had been elected
to congress two year- before owing to disagreement among the republicans,
and was up for a second term, and it was generally understood that he had
a barrel to he kept on tap, while his opponent Major Lyman was backed
by tin' soldiers. Blaine was the idol of the republicans, even as was Bryan
alter his cross of gold speech, and the democrat-, remembering the jugglery,
by which Tilden was counted out. were determined to retrieve that disaster.
So that our local affair- were overshadowed by the national and congressional
campaign. As election day approached the excitement increased and lira-
bands, torches and transparencies became the order of the night and stump
speaking by day. with the result that Cleveland was barely elected. Pusey de-
feated, and in our county affairs -I. -I. Shea wa- elected clerk. II. -I. Chambers
recorder, and Itoht. F. .lone- supervisor.

The city schools were flourishing under the superintendence of Prof.
McNaughton and two new schoolhouses were added to the district, the Pierce
Street, with six rooms, afterward enlarged to twelve, and the Third Street
of four, and later enlarged to eight.


Quite an amount of building was done this year, among which were
the Marcus block, next to the opera house, the Straub block on Main, the
Sanborn on Broadway and Bryant, two churches, and a number of first class

At the regular spring election of 1886 John \V. Chapman was elected
mayor; treasurer, F. W. Spetman; auditor, L. Kinnehan; engineer, Thos. Tos-
tevin: marshal" F. H. Guennella; judge superior court, E. E. Aylesworth;
solicitor, G. A. Holmes; assessor, \V. L. Patton; weighmaster, W. S. Amy;
clerk, F. A. Burke; chief of fire department. J. L. Templeton; chief of police,
J. M. Mathews; street commissioner, E. S. Barnett; aldermen at large, John
Bennet and Josiah Danforth; first ward. L. Hammer; second ward, S. S. Kel-
ler; third ward. Chris Straub; fourth ward. E. L. Shugart.

On June 10 of this year the mosl exciting race was pulled off at a lire-
man's tournament at Dubuque, wherein the Council Bluffs Hose Team No.
3, a like team from Pierre, South Dakota, and one from Waterloo, Iowa, were
contestants. It appearing that most of the, men were professional foot racers.
a protest was made to the hoard of control. This beng the case, they re-
fused tu ad as judges, and turned it over to the citizen.-' committee of ar-
rangements. These chose their judges and timekeepers, and the race was
called. The Bluffs team made the run and coupling in forty-one and one-
half second.-. The Pierre gained a second in run. but lost two in coupling.
The Waterloo tied the Pierre team, leaving the Bluffs team winner- of the
greatest race of Iowa, and on which thousands of dollars changed hand-.

Mayor Chapman died before he had served his first year, and .1. K.
Evans was made mayor pro tem. This was the first time that a mayor of the
city had died while in office.

Mr. Evans served until the spring election of 1887. when Wm. Orone-
weg was elected mayor; treasurer. F. W. Spetman; auditor, L. Kinnehan;
engineer, Thos. Tostevin; marshal. F. H. Guennella; judge superior court.
E. E. Aylesworth: solicitor, G. A. Holmes: assessor, W. L. Patton; weigh-
master, W. S. Amy; clerk, F. A. Burke; chief of fire department. .1. L. Tem-
pleton; chief of police, Jerry Mullen; street commissioner, A. 10. Avery;
aldermen-at-large, Josiah Danforth and Lucius Wells; first ward, Louis Ham-
mer; second ward, S. S. Keller; third ward, Patrick Lacy; fourth ward, Geo.

During this year an ordinance was passed granting the Manawa Street
Railway Company a franchise for twenty-five years.

On July" 2. 1887. an ordinance was passed and approved granting an
electric light and power company a franchise for twenty years.

Council Bluffs has become a great market for all kinds of agricultural
machinery as well as wagons and carriages of every description. Among
the first to engage largely in this business were Beresheim and Weis back
in the early '60s. This was before the Union Pacific railroad was built, and
freighting by wagon was the only means of transportation. The Sehutt'.er
wagon had achieved an enviable reputation for enduring the long, dry. hot
trips without shrinking. For shrinkage to occur and wheels shed their tires a


hundred miles from any repair shop was a serious proposition, and freight-
ers were not slow to select the article that was proven to be the best, and for
years their wagons had the preference. Beresheim and Weis secured the ex-
clusive agency for that wagon for this point and extending to all points
from Nebraska to Sioux, inclusive, and reaped a rich profit. On the coming
of railroads others saw the advantage of this as a great distributing
point with the result many of the great manufacturers established houses
here. Shugart and Lininger were among the earliest dealers and others fol-
lowed rapidly, until the number of wholesale houses reached twelve. Thesq
are sales establishments, and not including manufactures, which are treated

At the election November 3. L885, John II. Keatley and R. S. Hart were
elected representatives; auditor, John Clausen; treasurer. John II. Plumer;
sheriff, Perry Keel: school superintendent. J. W. W. Land: surveyor, J. F.
Broadbeck; coroner. Dr. F. I'. Billinger; supervisors, S. *i. Underwood and
James Boiler.

At the city election of 1887 the following officers were elected: Mayor,
Win. Groneweg; treasurer, !•". W. Spetman; auditor, P. Kinnehan; engineer,
Thos. Tostevin; marshal, F. II. Guennella; judge of superior court, E. E.
Aylesworth; solicitor, (I. A. Holmes: assessor, W. I.. Patton; weighmaster,
W. S. Amy: clerk. F. A. Burke; chief of lire department, John L. Temple-
ton; chief of police, Jerry Mullen; street commissioner, A. E. Avery: alder-
men-at-large, Lucius Wells and Josiah Danforth.

During this year I. M. Sigler, a prominent citizen of Boomer town-
ship and an old pioneer, died while on business in Nebraska, and his remains
were brought home lor interment.

Among the prominent buildings erected tin- year was the Eisman build-
ing, the one now occupied by the Beno -tore.

A sad case of suicide occurred at the Transfer Hotel this summer, being
that of a woman, apparently about forty year- of age. She had a little son
with her. and was on her way from San Francisco to Boston, where the little
hoy said they had relative-. The railroad men took up the case, paid for
her funeral and got a home tor the boy. The history of her troubles died
with her. as the hoy was too young to know. Everything indicated that she
had been a lady of refinement.


As early as 1884 hint- were circulated that the old courthouse, although
only sixteen years old, was unsafe. !!<■ tin- as it may, the county had out-
grown it. and the jail in the basement was not in sanitary condition, and at
the regular meeting of the board of supervisors on February 4. 1885, a reso-
lution was passed submitting the proposition to borrow $150,000 for the pur-
pose of building a courthouse and $30,000 for a jail, to be voted upon at a
special election to be held March 10, 1885.

At that election .V2:;-J vote- were cast in favor, and 2933 against the prop-






osition. The bonds were issued and advertised, and taken by Messrs. Wood-
bury and Moulton, of Portland, Maine, they being the highesl bidders.

Plans and specifications by Eckle and .Mann were approved, and bids ad-
vertised for, and on August 12, L885, the bids were opened, and that of
Wickham Brothers, for $136,800 being the lowest the contract was let to
them, they giving $1,000 for the old building. The board leased the two
lower stories of the Masonic Temple for county purposes during construc-
tion, the lower for offices and the main hall for court room with side rooms
for juries and board room.

On excavating for foundation the architect decided that the ground was
such that the concrete foundation provided I'm' in contract was not sufficient,
and piling under the entire structure was ordered. This was done by Stephen
Robinson and involved an extra cost of $5,046.08. The decoration was by K.
A. Norling.

Tin' building speaks for itself, and for beauty, architecturally, convenience
and durability, it i> a success, and with proper care will serve the people for
a century. Its construction lasted nearly three year-, being accepted Febru-
ary 15, 188.S. Additional ground was required and purchased, affording room
for the jail, which also is a substantial structure.

The first term of court to be held in the new building was by Judge

At the election November 8, 1887, Wm. Groneweg was elected state sena-
tor; P. S. Hart and Wm. Wyman representatives; sheriff, Jas. O'Neil; audi-
tor, Ira Hendricks: county superintendent. J. K. Cooper; surveyor, J. F.
Broadbeck; coroner. Dr. J. C. Waterman; treasurer. John II. Pluiner.

At the city election, spring of 1888, the following Darned persons were
elected: Mayor, M. E. Rohrer; treasurer, F. W. Spetman; auditor, C. A.
Hammer; engineer, F. Stimson; marshal, E. H. Guennella; judge of superior
court. E. E. Aylesworth; solicitor, G. A. Holmes; assessor, W. L. Pattern;
weighmaster, W. S. Amy; clerk. F. A. Burke; chief of fire department, C. I).
Walters; chief of police, O. H. Lucas: street commissioner, A. E. Avery;
aldermen-at-large, W. II. Knepher and John Weaver; alderman first ward,
E. T. Waterman: second ward. E. P. Rillinger; third ward. Patrick Lacy;
fourth ward, Geo. Metcalf.

During the year 1888 the new Washington Avenue schoolhouse was
built, with a seating capacity of 950 pupils.

This being the year for holding presidential election a lively campaign
followed and the republicans adopted to a limited extent the methods re-
sorted to by the wings during the campaign of 1840, by reviving the log
cabin idea, that proved so effective in electing the grandfather of their can-
didate, while the democrats stood pat for Cleveland. It was conducted with
less mud slinging than the one that preceded it. Locally the following per-
sons were elected: Clerk of the court. H. J. Chambers; recorder, W. H.
Thomas; attorney, John P. Organ; supervisors, Alex Osier and Charles Alex-



An event of much importance this year was that of the completion of
the Omaha and Council Bluffs bridge and electric street railway line. Two
years before, T. J. Evans, who had been east and witnessed the operation of
the first electric line in the United States, became enthusiastic on the sub-
ject of connecting the two cities by a toll bridge and electric line, and on ar-
riving at home proceeded to enlist capitalists in the enterprise. The two
cities granted the franchise and the work was rushed to completion, and
during the fall of 1888 the first car was run over the new track, and the event
was celebrated by a grand trade display in which the business men of all
trades and professions joined.

For years the getting hack and forward between the two cities was quite
a serious proposition and up to this time not much advance had been made
since Harl's 'bus line used to take you across and to any pari of the city for
fifty cent- either way. With the electric line taking them over in half an
hour for ten cents was a great change, and still they arc not happy, but for
two years have been clamoring for a live cent fare, with partial success.

During this year we als > bad a severe attack of the cedar block pave-
ment mania and for five years we had some elegant drives, only to come to
an untimely end alter about that length of time.

The city granted the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company the
right of way along First avenue to the river.

Also to the Chicago, Rock Island it Pacific Railway Company, on ami
along Fourteenth street from Twelfth to First avenue, and on First avenue
from then to the river.

A> early a.- 1880 the people of Council Bluffs believed themselves en-
titled to a postoffice building, bu1 not until L883 was there an appropriation
of $100.oi hi -ecured. The usual strife then commenced over its location
The old strife between up town and down town was revived, up town, with
the Ogden House and Neumayer Hotel influence wanted it on the Platner
property on the corner of Glenn avenue and Broadway, while the Nonpareil
influence contended for the present site, and the latter was successful. Work
was Dot commenced until L886. <*n testing the ground it was demonstrated
that piling would be necessary for the foundation, and further, that the plan
submitted by the architect could not be built within the appropriation. At
the next session of congress an additional appropriation of $50,000 was
made, the corner -tone was laid and work commenced under Supervising
Architect M. E. P>ell of the treasury department and prosecuted to comple-
tion. It was occupied during the summer of 1888, hut not completed until
a few months later. The building, though massive, is not a thing of beauty.
In fact from an artistic standpoint it is a failure. Hon. Thomas Bowman
was the first postmaster to occupy it. and the late Judge -I. M. Love was
the fir-t to hold a term of the United States district court in the building.

The court room is not what it should be. Already an addition i- con-
templated, hut whether it can lie made in a way to redeem the appearance of
tlie building as well as to add to its convenience, remains to be seen.


At the city election for 1889 the following persons were elected: Mayor,
F. M. Rohrer; treasurer, F. W. Spetman; auditor, C. A. Hammer; engineer,
F. Stimson; marshal, F. H. Guennella; judge of superior court, E. E. Ayles-
worth; solicitor, G. A. Holmes; assessor, W. L. Patton; weighmaster, W. S.
Amy; clerk, R. S. Huntington; chief of fire departmi at, C. D. Walters; chief
of police, O. H. Lucas; street commissioner, A. E. Avery; aldermen-at-large,
John Weaver and W. II. Knepher; alderman of first ward. E. T. Water-
man; second ward, F. P. Billinger; third ward, Patrick Lacy; fourth ward,
Leonard Everett. The result being intensely democratic.

During this summer the state firemen's tournament was held at the
Trotting park and was largely attended and some line work done. The re-
cue steamer of Council Bluffs won on first water.

In (lie hose race the Alert of Marshalltown took first prize. Hook and
Ladder Co. of Atlantic won first in that contest, and in that of hand engine
Liberty No. 1 of Crestonville, Iowa., was the champion.

The attendance was the largest ever held in the state and the proceed-
ings were all harmonious.

During 1889 the venerable old Pacific House that previous to the erec-
tion of the Ogden House had been the leading hotel in western Iowa was
doomed to give way to a more modern structure, and the Eisman building
was erected in its place.

Another prominent building erected this year is the Sapp block on the
corner of Broadway and Scott streets. This is a modern office building of
five stories.

Here again another venerable old land mark had to give way. It had
once been used as the dry goods -tore of B. B. Brown, and later as a hotel
called the Napoleon House, and for -one years was kept by the late Peter
Bechtel. But such is the fate of all. Two of the large implement houses
were built during the year.

At the election held November 5 of this year R. W. Briggs and W. H.
Ware were elected to the legislature; county treasurer, J. II. Plumer; auditor,
I. F. Hendricks; school superintendent. J. K. Cooper; coroner, J. C. Water-
man; surveyor, H. F. Broadbeck; supervisors, A. C. Graham and August

Again the spirit of rivalry between up town and down town flared up.
The Ogden House being located up town, and its proprietor, also owner of
the old street car line, it was claimed that the latter was run in the interest
of the former, and on the opening of the electric line it was determined to
have a hotel down town to eclipse the Ogden and the preliminary steps were
taken by calling a meeting at which arrangements were made with Kimball
and Champ, hankers, who agreed to erect the building, providing the citizens
would donate a suitable site. That where the Grand Hotel now stands was
agreed upon, and was purchased of Dr. E. I. Woodbury and the purchase-
money raised by subscription. A more desirable location could not have
been made, facing as it does on Bayliss park and on direct car line running
to all the railroad depots as well as to Omaha.

Kimball and Champ commenced by putting in piling for the entire


foundation at a cost of $5,000. The main building was erected at a cost of
$183,000, and the annex, including lot, at a cost of $50,000.

Later a company was organized and incorporated by Council Bluffs citi-
zens as. the Grand Hotel Company, which purchased the property of Messrs.
Kimball and Champ, and in whose interest it has been conducted. Edward
W. Hart is the present manager, and there is no better hotel west of Chicago
than the Grand.

At the city election 1890 Dr. Donald Macrae was elected mayor; auditor,
J. C. Lange; treasurer, L. Kinnehan; engineer, Thos'. Tostevin; marshal, John •
Templeton: judge of superior court, J. E. F. McGee; solicitor, J. J. Stewart;
assessor, W. D. Hardin: weighmaster, A. B. Paris; clerk, A. J. Stephenson;
chief of fire department, F. R. Levin; chief of police. Wade Carey: street
commissioner. A. E. Avery; aldermen-at-large, Alex Wood and W. II. Knep-
her; alderman first ward. L. A. Casper; second ward. Peter Wind; third
ward, Patrick Lacy: fourth ward. Leonard Everett: fifth ward. Peter Smith;
sixth ward. .1. W. Mikesell.

At the regular election for county and state officers held November 4,
1891, tlie following persons wen- elected: Clerk of district court, T. S. Camp-
bell; recorder. Wm. H. Thomas; attorney. John P. Organ; supervisor, F. G.
Hetzel; representatives, W. II. Ware and R. W. Briggs; treasurer, W. B.
Reed; sheriff, Thos. Bazen; coroner. Dr. F. 'I". Seybert; surveyor, 1.. P. Jud-
son; senator, Win. Groneweg; supervisors, -I. P. Black and Wm. Groneweg.

During this season quite a number of important buildings were erected,
among which was the Baldwin -i\ story block, corner of Broadway and
Pearl street. John X. Baldwin, from whom it derive- it- aame, commenced
it in L890 and completed it in L891, at a cosl of $50,000. In L896, n was
purchased by the stockholders of the Council Bluffs Savings Bank. The
Second Avenue school was (milt this year at a cosl of $20,000, also the Har-
rison street public schoolhouse was also built this year, at a cost of spJ.OOO.


During the good old days, several persons appeared, each of whom in his
favorite role became conspicuous. Among them weir Henry DeLong, sport
Miller and Jim Snodderly.

The exact lime when these men commenced their activities is involved
in uncertainty. l>ut tradition points hack to the palmy days of the Ocean
Wave saloon. Their roles were somewhat dissimilar. Henry's long -nit was
praying, thai of Sport was absorbing Derby A: Lay'- thirteen cent whiskey,
and Jim's was being arrested. During the long years when Bump, Burkhart,
and "Old Jack" were city marshals it became a common saying thai no mat-,
ter what crime had been committed, Jim was arrested for it. dragged before
old Squire Burke, only to walk forth "clothed in the spotless robes of inno-
cence." Most persons would have resented such treatment, hut not so with
Jim. He seemed to accept the situation just a- the stage villain accepts the
part assigned him by the manager. He was in the habit of experiencing re-
ligion in the winter hut would invariably back-slide with the opening of


spring, when his arrests would be resumed. For some reason lie changed his
abode to a home in Nebraska. After years of self imposed exile, lie pined to
review the scenes of his early triumphs, but how changed! The good old
squire had gone to a higher court than any here, as well as those marshals.
He visited some of his old haunts, but they too had changed. An occasional
tall man in Hue with brass buttons would pass without noticing him, and he
returned sorrowfully, without seeing the inside of our city bastile or behold-
ing the majesty of our superior court.

As for Sport, he could carry a pretty heavy load of had whiskey and
still have a pretty clear conception of the relative value of two pairs, threes,
four Hush, or a full hand, etc. But as time went on the whiskey seemed to
be getting the best of him, to the extent that an enterprising temperance lec-
turer took him around to exhibit as a horrible example. Finally, he having
been a soldier, his friends prevailed upon him to retire to the Soldiers' Home.
After years he too, longed to revisit the old -eene.s. He came but no one rec-
ognized him. In this instance it was he that was changed. The regulations
of the Home had done its work, but he saw the [mint. He proceeded to take
on one of his old-fashioned jags when the mask fell, and all his old friends
gathered around and congratulated him, and after a pleasant visit he re-
turned with the good wishes of all.

As for Henry he kept on praying and occasionally digging a well for a
resting spell and added preaching to his labors, and at last his labors re-
ceived recognition. He received the appointment of probation officer. The
county authorities fitted him up a chapel in the courthouse handy by the
clerk's office where, as licenses are issued he i.- ready to perform the marriage
ceremony, and it is a poor day on which he fails to unite two or three willing
couples in the holy bonds of wedlock. This, with his pay as probation officer,
makes a pretty good thing for Uncle Henry, and -nine think of having him
open the courts with prayer. Having observed the salutary effect upon our

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 59)