Waukon, Iowa - A Beautiful Healthful Town
From our Regular correspondent.
Waukon, Iowa, Dec. 8, 1871 - From Postville, a ride
of eighteen miles by stage, brought me to Waukon, the
county seat of Allamakee county, not inappropriately
called the New England of Iowa, from its fair and
grand scenery. The total population of this county is
about 19,000, of Waukon about 1,000, and the town is,
beyond doubt, one of the most healthful and beautiful
in the state. I am surprised that this locality has
not already been sought out by large numbers who want
a pretty, quiet, healthful home, where they can live
in peace and close communion with fair nature.
The town lies at an elevation of 650 feet above the
level of the Mississippi River, in a grand open of
prairie, and has pure flowing springs of water, as
crystaline and sweet as which they first slaked the
thirst of the red hunter, and waved in obedience to
the lapping tongue of his faithful dog. Everywhere
Nature has wrought with chisel and pencil till little
more is to be desired than the care of art and the
preservation of taste and refinement to make a very
paradise of a home.
Waukon has the court house of Allamakee and the
county offices. This building is of brick, two
stories high, and in all respects convenient and
comfortable. The roll of county officers will stand
after January first, thus: Auditor, W.C. Thompson;
Treasurer, James Duffee; Clerk of the Courts, J.W.
Pratt; Recorder, D.W. Reed; Superintendent of
Schools, T.F. Heally; Sheriff, James Palmer.
The society of Waukon is of a most desirable
character, steady, quiet and industrious. There are
five religious denominations having regular places of
worship - the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists,
Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics. All these houses
have the appearance of finish, and some of them even
elegance. There are two organized bodies here without
The public schools are excellent, and I find stand so
high that no less than fifty pupils are sent from the
country around to enjoy the advantages of them rather
than be sent abroad to private institutions. This
school, under the superintendence and control of
Prof. J. Laughren, one of the foremost educators of
the state, is an institution of Waukon worthy of
highest praise and beyond estimate in value. These
people may not know it, but they have nothing else to
which they can point strangers with an equal prospect
of telling a good story in their behalf. The building
is 60X80 feet on the ground, three stores high,
arranged to accommodate 450 pupils, and is graded now
into five departments with six teachers. An admirable
arrangement about it is that the dwelling house of
the principal is built in connection with the school
Waukon and vicinity has already become celebrated for
the culture of fruit and for the work of some of
Iowa's best horticulturists. D.W. Adams, Esq.,
Secretary of the Iowa State Horticultural Society,
resides here. He has been engaged for something like
sixteen years in experimenting upon fruits suited to
the climate of this state, and, by bringing a wide
range of varieties of trees from the coldest
apple-growing regions of both Europe and America, and
experimenting upon them, he has succeeded in
arranging the well-known Adams' iron-clad list of
fruits suited for general cultivation in this state.
He has raised in his own orchard this year 15,000
bushels of apples, and had the honor of taking the
premium upon apples at the Richmond, Va. fair this
autumn. Mssrs. C.& C. Barnard are also largely
engaged in horticulture, devoting more attention to
the smaller fruits, and have developed almost the
only blackberry that can endure the rigor of an Iowa
The Waukon Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, is located
here, has a membership of about 100, and owns a fine
building 22X60 feet, three stories high. Under the
leadership of C.D. Beeman, Chaplain of the State
Grange, this is one of the most prosperous
subordinate granges in the state.
Waukon has long needed a railroad, and is yet without
it; but I am able to state on no less an authority
than that of Hon. E.H. Williams, that an effort wil
be made to push the Northeastern branch of the
Chicago, Milwaukee, Cassville and Montana narrow
guage road to that point next summer, and I am led to
think the effort will be successful. In any event,
the importance of this point must attract roads here,
sooner or later. Railroad men can no more afford to
overlook such a point than Waukon can afford to be
without a road.
I have mentioned the excellent spring water of the
place. I am unable to give exact figures upon the
cost of fuel and building material, but these can all
be had in abundance at prices as low as in any of the
The business of the town is done on a substantial
basis, and many of the business men are among the
earliest fixtures of the town. Manufactures are not
extensive, but have taken a hold and are yearly
increasing. First among these is the firm of Holahan
& Buggy, the most extensive of the place,
manufacturing agricultural implements, wagons and
sleighs. They are special dealers in reapers and
mowers. The Waukon Agricultural Works of C. Harkins
is devoted largely to the manufacture of fanning
mills, but there is both room and demand for a much
larger business in manufacturing.
Let me sum up the business of Waukon, as follows:
-Dry goods is represented by H.
Rice, Hersey & Turck, K.N. Knudtson &
Co., Hersey & Alquest, martin Stone, F.M.
Clark, Adams & Hale, and J.B.B. Baker &
Co. Except the first-named, these all have, in
addition, groceries, boots and shoes, crockery,
or notions, or some other added line of trade. C.
& A. Barnard are the only dealers in
groceries alone and crokery.
-Stoves, tinware and heavy shelfware, the dealers
are H. Low and S.T. Fearon.
-In boots and hsoes alone, G.M. Darling.
-Druggists are E.A. Robbins & Brother, a fine
and complete stock, and Hedga & Earl.
-Harness and saddlery, S.O. Bearce and E.K.
-Livery and sale stables, C.C. Bates.
-The legal profession is well represented by the
firms of Granger & Stilwell, G.B. Edmonds,
C.S. Stilwell, Hon. H.O. Dayton, T.C. Hall, A.M.
May, D.W. Reed and J.W. Leamington.
-There are eight blacksmiths, four physicians,
two dentists, three milliners, one photographer,
and two hotels, first among which is the Mason
House, by the gentlemanly soldier, A.J.
-There is but one newspaper in the place, the
Standard, a Republican sheet of very respectiable
size and character, edited by A.M. May, Esq.
I have thus, as briefly as I could,
set forth the present of this, one of the prettiest
villages of Northern Iowa. It is certainly
unfortunate in being away from railroads, but yet,
connected as it is by the daily stage line of Mr. R.
Isted to a railroad point, having daily mail, and
blessed in natural beauty and healthfulness, it is,
beyond question, a desirable place to reside.
~The Milwakee Sentinel,
Milwaukee, WI, Monday, December 14, 1871
~transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Allamakee co.
~see also Lansing in 1871
and Postville in 1871