Geography and Railroads






Butler county is one of the centre of the Northeastern Iowa counties, being contiguous to Floyd county on the north, Bremer and Black Hawk on the east, Grundy on the south, and Franklin on the west. It comprises the territory of townships 9- to 93 north inclusive, of range 15 to 18 west of the fifth principal meridian inclusive, containing an area of 576 square miles, or 333, 640 acres. This forms a perfect square of 24 miles each way and is divided into 16 townships of 36 square miles each.

The general inclination of the surface is a slope to the east and south, and is made up of rolling prairie, with no abrupt break of ground sufficient to be detrimental to agriculture, except in the vicinity of the streams where the surface is often quite broken.   This region is known as the "valley of the Cedar and Shell Rock," and has a wide reputation as the "Garden spot of Iowa," while the rivers are frequently called the "gems of Iowa waters," there being in the estimation of many, little, if any choice between them.

The territory of Butler county is diversified with belts of timber and streams of very pure water. These streams take southeasterly courses, with one exception --- And there is still room for adventurers to gratify their curiosity.



In the township of Coldwater is a ridge or hill, Known as Mount Nebo. Under this is a miniature cave or cavern, which has interesting points connected with it. An attempt was made to explore it in 1875, and in speaking of the adventure, a local writer said: "This cave has been known for several years, and there are some legends connected with it. One is that it was once used as a place of habitation; another is that a mysterious well of great depth exists somewhere within its bounds. A few days ago a party went down to explore it, but all backed out but J. Dexter and Mr. Barker, whose curiosity was greater than their caution. The place of entrance was small, but they soon found rooms in which they could stand erect, and some were eight to twelve feet high. Passages from one room to another were usually small, some so small that the explorers found difficulty in passing from one to another. After visiting numerous rooms in search of the well, and proceeding three or four hundred feet from the entrance, they returned without finding it. In several places there were supporting pillars, and along the walls resemblances to stalactites. The limits were not reached, and there is still room for adventurers to gratify their curiosity.



There are three lines of railway traversing the territory of Butler county, in all directions, and connecting it with the eastern markets. Besides those that cross the country, there are lines of railway within easy reach of the producers of Butler county, just over the line, both east and west. It will thus be seen that shipping facilities are excellent.

The following is the course and location of the various roads:

The Burlington. Cedar Rapids and Northern railway enters the county from the southeast, and follows the Shell Rock valley across the northeastern part of the county. It was built in 1871.

The Iowa Division of the Illinois Central Railroad line crosses the county from east to west, through the southern tier of townships, having been constructed in 1865.

The Dubuque and Dakota railroad crosses the county in the same direction; entering with the Shell Rock river it follows the valley northward to Clarksville, where it makes an abrupt curve to the, crosses the county in the second tier of townships from the north. This road was graded through in 1875, by the Iowa and Pacific Railroad Company. This company failed, and the road came into the possession of the Dubuque and Dakota Railroad Company, composed of capitalists in Dubuque. The track was laid and trains running through Butler county in 1879.  The line is not  by any means completed, only running from Sumner, in Bremer county, to Hampton, in Franklin county.

~ source: The History of Butler and Bremer Counties, Iowa, Illustrated. Springfield, Illinois, Union Publishing Company, 1883.


Home button

This page was last modified on October 13, 2006