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"The Carroll Herald"
Sketches Index

Coon Rapids
O. J. Niles entered the land on which Coon Rapids now stands in Union Township, in 1855. Mr. Niles was from Western Michigan, and probably of Yankee birth. He was a peculiar character in many respects, and was considered an oracle of wisdom by the first settlers. He was elected a justice of the peace, and frequently acted as agent for the settlers in purchasing household supplies at Des Moines. He lived in a 16x36 log house, the site of Mr. Shute's present residence. It is related that a man named Tuttle, of Tuttle Grove, felt a grievance over a horse trade he had made with Samuel Wilson, and stated the details of the transaction to Squire Niles. The squire listened patiently, and at the close advised Mr. Tuttle that the law in the case was so complicated that he couldn't obtain justice! Some suspicious persons, always inquiring as to the relations of cause to affect, remarked that Wilson was a splendid shot, and Niles was very fond of venison.

The old town of Coon Rapids never had to succeed fifteen houses. The census of 1880 credits the place with fifty-four inhabitants. When, in 1881 the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul Railroad was laid through the southern part of Carroll county and passed near Coon Rapids, a new town was laid out by the Western Town Lot Company about one-fourth of a mile west of the primitive village and houses went up as if by magic. So many were building that it is impossible to say who was first. The most of the growth occurred in 1882 and '83. The census of 1885 gives Coon Rapids 729 inhabitants. The town has excellent prospects for further growth and always does a good business with the surrounding country. The population in '98 is about 1200.

The destructive visitation of the cyclone of April 14, 1886 will never be forgotten by the present inhabitants of Coon Rapids as it did immense damage to the down destroying every thing in its path.

The first graded school building was put up in 1883. It was a good two story frame containing four rooms; was on the hill north of the main part of town and cost $3,400. The cyclone of April 14 1886 destroyed this and the same year the present building was erected. It was complete in November at the cost of $4,000. It is a two story frame painted stone color and contains five rooms.

The religious denominations represented here are as follows: Methodist Episcopal-Organized by Rev. Merson in 1876 with a small membership. The church is a building 34x55 feet in size. The First Presbyterian church was organized on May 14, 1883 by Rev. T. S. Bailey, Synodical Missionary for the Synod of Iowa and is a large commodious building.

The Christian Church of this place was organized first nearly twenty years ago. A preacher lives here and holds services every month. In 1882 the church was reorganized by Rev. J. W. W. Waugh.

The Catholics have a frame church in the northwest part of the town built two years ago. Father Schulte of Templeton holds services here every month. The membership is largely in the country.

Presbyterian Church

German Catholic Church

Methodist Church

Coon Rapids High School 

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