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Cherokee County Business News
A Business History of Cherokee, IA 1872

Cherokee - Its Growth & Business

From the Cherokee Times, dated October 25, 1872

The TIMES has passed its third birthday, and is today the most influential and widely circulated paper outside of Sioux City, in the Northwest. From a seven column paper with only one side printed at home, to an eight column paper all printed at it own office, the TIMES has grown up in two years, with a circulation such as equals that of many a journal long established and in old, rich and populous counties.  To our friends we are grateful, while to our enemies we can afford to be generous.  We propose to take a retrospect of the growth and development of Cherokee village during the past two years, to show the amazing progress western towns make, of which Cherokee forms an example of the most energetic type.

Cherokee, when No. 1 of the TIMES was issued, presented the picture of a village in the bud, waiting for sunshine and shower to awaken into bloom the hidden embryo. The Company had not then placed their lots in market, such lots as had been disposed of, were sold by Corbett, Lebourveau, Kellogg, & Co., mostly at a low rate to induce people to take them.  The business of the village was more mythical than real, and like every place else, Cherokee had her detractors, who plainly saw "it would never amount to anything." The construction company operated the railway which had been but four months running through trains, and the depot consisted of a rude structure, now used by C. A. Dow as an Agricultural warehouse.  There were but eleven dwelling houses in the village, viz: Jas. Archer's, C.E. P. Hobart's, H. Kennedy's, E. Everts, H.C. Kellogg, Dr. Cleaves, E. Cowles, C.F. Culver, E. Luther, H.D. Nye, and our own.

Besides these, two families lived at their place of business, H. Lockwood and W. H. Fife.  The "Cottonwood," as the structure was called, of which not a vestige is left, and the site of which will shortly be as doubtful as those of Carthage or Palmyra, was then the center of attraction.  Dan McKay was the master of the hotel de ville and not infrequently had a hundred guests in his crowded quarters.  The business houses were few.  In the lumber business, the firm of Luther & Rice had the most extensive yard and their office was the sole building on the south side of Main street, west of the R. R. track.  Jas. Archer had his yard on the north side of the track, and Mr. Hobart had just opened his yard near its present site.  Mr. Culver was alone in the agricultural business, and occupied the building held by his successor, Mr. Hall.  Crossing to the east side of the track Mr. Fife, the pioneer merchant did a general business in the west side of his present block.  Mr. S. H. Larkwood did business in Ike Elles' present meat market.. Vandercook & Van Epps temporarily had crowded their stock into Nye's stand.  Z. .A. Wellman held forth in a traction of what is his present building and F. W. Huxford, and Thomas Greer were neighbors in Greer's block, or rather that part of it since fitted up as a hotel.  Where E. Lockwood now manufactures shoes, the firm of Gourlay and Wilson kept a grocery store, 'Jim' devoting his time to his jewelry trade.  There was the law office of Kellog & Lewis, the building wherein the TIMES is now printed, the office of Cyrus Snyder, and that of N. T. Burroughts.  There were several buildings in process of erection.  The drug store of E. C. Herrick was almost completed and the store of F. W. Huxford. Rollow, Archer, H.C. Lewis and it may be some others were building swellings.  That magnificent structure, the McLean House, had just been staked out.  This to our recollection is a fair picture of Cherokee, on the morning the TIMES first made its bow to the good people of this place.  This much for a retrospect, today we propose to give a panoramic view of the village -- the material prosperity of which is unsurpassed in the history of even western towns, where not infrequently villages shoot up like Jonah's gourd with as rapid a decline as that historic plant.  

Let the reader take a survey of the town and at one glance, his eye will rest on 53 business houses and 94 dwellings, a large percentage of the business houses are substantial frame structures, nearly all with battlement fronts, the streets are regular, though Main street alone is graded, and possesses much of a business air.  The houses are mostly painted, a white color, scattered over a wide area, and many of them with neat gardens attached.  The population, allowing six persons to a family, would be 564 persons. To the west, on the hill top stands a tidy structure, it is the M. E. Church, the first and only house of worship in town, but look to the north of Hall's place of business, you notice the foundation of a house, it is the Congregational Church, soon to be completed, look northward still, there stands the frame of a building 40 x 40, and 80 feet high.  It is the school house, yet to be the "noisy mansion" of the village, an ornament and an honor to her people.  Having thus taken a glance at the village as a whole, let us pass down Main street, commencing at the store of H. A. Fife.

H. A. Fife
This is the pioneer store, grown from a small affair to a fine wooden block, with a frontage of 42 feet.  Inside is a splendid assortment of goods in every line known to the trade, groceries, clothing, dry goods, millinery, hardware, crockery, boots and shoes.  You may here deposit your extra funds in "Fife's Banking house," or purchase exchange on eastern cities or any part of Europe.  
H. D. Nye
Next in order is the premises of  H. D. Nye with an awning in front.  This business house is devoted to groceries, fruits and tobaccos, and is also one of the earliest structures.  

L. D. Carey
The boot and shoe store of L. D. Carey is next door. Mr. Carey sports an eagle for his coat of arms.  He has a large and splendid assortment of goods.  East of this is a Restaurant.  Next door a large store, the property of C. M Read.  This store also has an awning in front, and is unoccupied at present.  

Z. A. Wellman
The first Apothecary on our way is that of Z. A. Wellman. Mr. Wellman is the postmaster, and has fitted up the post office in a very convenient and suitable shape, with boxes and drawers.  He deals in groceries, medicines, paints and oils.

Cornish Bros.
keep a most excellent hardware store. Their building is 98 feet long, all of which is devoted to their business.  It is often remarked that no superior stock can be met with in any city in Iowa, and few larger establishments outside of the populous cities  They carry on an extensive Tinsmith trade, which is managed and controlled by Otto Rudolph. 

Otto Rudolph
who has no superior in the business.  He manufactures the furniture for their stove trade, makes oil wells, milk vats and everything in his line.

Kelly & Walrath
have a very fine store 60 feet deep, and deal in dry good and groceries. They carry a large stock, and have very neat quarters..

J. A. Cole
The Drug store of J. A. Cole, is next on our way.  He keeps a good stock of drugs and medicines, oils, and a variety of articles not kept elsewhere.  

E. C. Herrick
On the corner of Main and Second streets is the Drug store and News depot of E. C. Herrick. His stock of drugs is equal to those of the two former, and he keeps in addition a fair supply of books.  He deals in stationery quite largely.  His News Depot is well kept and does a business that proves the intelligence of the community.  Each week he sells 72 daily papers, 17 political weeklies, 15 pictorial papers, and 53 story papers.  In monthlies, Harper's 7, Atlantic 5, Ballou and Godey 3, and of four others one each, making in all 19 monthlies. Of the reviews, 3 are taken; miscellaneous papers, 7.  Such is the business done at this news emporium, and it must be remembered that the greater part of the people get their papers and magazines through the post office.  

E. Cowes        E. Lockwood        Jones Bros.
Going down the street, we pass the law of office of E. Cowes, the shoe shop of E. Lockwood, the building now used as a school house, the Leader office and the establishment of the Jones Bros.  This is a large building, wherein is carried on the wagon trade and blacksmith business by Mr. Bostwick. .

F. W. Huxford
Mr. Huxford has a neat and well filled store, almost wholly devoted to dry goods and clothing.  Of the latter, his stock is unusually large and well selected. Mr. Huxford formerly did business in the old town, but as soon as the depot was located, he opened a branch in this village, and still continues to carry on an extensive trade. nd a variety of articles not kept elsewhere.  

W. Pelton
W. Pelton keeps a furniture store next door to Huxford's. His stock of furniture is large, and his business, already extensive is growing.  He receives nearly all of his furniture in the knock down, " and makes up in his shop. 

J. P. Howe
Immediately west is the store of J. P. Howe, wherein is carried on a first class grocery and Boot and Shoe trade, as also a Sewing Machine depot.  His trade is quite extensive and his success assured. To the rear of this establishment is the TIMES office. Its quarters are neither room or cheery, but is well supplied with material both for jobbing and newspaper work.   

W. Jones
The only merchant tailor in Cherokee is W. Jones, who does an extensive business in his line. 

M. Vandercook
The establishment of M. Vandercook is an extensive one.  A general trade is carried on in all the various branches of merchandise.  Mr. Vandercook was also a merchant in the "old town' prior to the building of the railway, and built his present store as soon as the company threw their lots in the market.  His stock of goods is as large as it is varied.  

Mr. Kennedy            Otto Peck
Mr. Kennedy carries on the grocery business next door, and Otto Peck the gunsmith trade. 

M. Ward
The restaurant of M. Ward, is well fitted up and a thriving business is done.  In his line of trade Mr. Ward is succeeding well. 

Mr. Meeker         Mr. Ellis          Mr. Smith        Fulton & Scribner         Kellog & Lewis
The Harness shop of Mr. Meeker is well supplied and is prosperous.  Also the Meat market of Mr. Ellis.  The law office of Mr. Smith is passed and we are now at that handsome building, the Bank of Fulton & Scribner. This firm has but recently opened business, but their house is so neatly fitted, and has such an air of business about it that one is reminded when inside, of larger counting houses of the east.  The firm though only in business since the first of August, has succeeded admirably, and the house is one of the institutions that our citizens view with pride.  Overhead is the law office of Kellogg & Lewis.

Roe & Whitmore
Such is a hasty glance at the business on Main street. On Willow street there are some business houses, of which the Land office of Roe & Whitmore, is one of the most important.  This firm has sold within 18 months 32,000 acres of land, and a great many town lots.  They are the agents for the Iowa Falls and Sioux City Land Company.  Their extensive sales are due to the great acreage they offer, and the reasonable terms of payment. 

T. Hopkins
The harness shop of T. Hopkins is a conspicuous place of business, wherein is done a large and growing business.

McLean House
On this street is the McLean House, without an exception the best hotel to be found in the west.  The house is finished off in good style.  It has a 62 feet front, the main part of the house 40 feet deep with an L 40x50 the full height of the house, and attached to the L, is a building 16x4, making the entire length 106 feet.  The house contains 36 bed rooms, comfortable, roomy and well supplied with carpets, sofas, chairs and all the necessary furniture.  The office, sitting room and dining room are all furnished in first class style.  There is a billiard hall attached, containing two tables.  The hall is furnished din the most approved style.  This hotel has a splendid custom.

J. Cope
The Iowa House kept by J. Cope, is a good country hotel, and kept in good style. The house is not large, but neat, tidy and popular.  The rooms are well furnished and guests are made comfortable. .

Photograph Gallery of J. C. Wilson
Near the McLean House is the Photograph Gallery of J. C. Wilson. Mr. Wilson has neat rooms, well lighted and hung round with the finest specimens of the art.  He ha two cameras, one is a powerful lens, adapted for taking large pictures.  His work is superior to any artist in the Northwest.  

Mrs. Jones
Mrs. Jones has a millinery establishment on this street.

Thos. Greer
Thomas Greet plies his last industriously on this street and is the owner of the Greer Block.  He does a good trade, has a large custom and usually keeps a few hands employed.

W. H. Tiel        Mr. Hodgins        A. Rollo         J. W. Coombs & Co
On Willow street there is but one business place, the Livery Stable of W. H. Tiel. Mr. Tiel usually has eight span of horses, with suitable rigs for summer or winter.  His stables do a large business and are conducted in a manner that win respect.  a large and growing business.
Mr. Hodgins has also a livery stable, with horses and conveyances.
On the west side of the track are the blacksmith shop of A. Rollo and J. W. Coombs & Co. The latter carries on a fine trade and has in connection a wagon shop.

This review brings us to the side track, where an immense trade is carried on in lumber, grain and agricultural implements.

The amount of lumber handled during this year exceeded that of the previous one by almost double.  The total sales sum up for the season, two million, five hundred and seventy six thousand, nine hundred and seventy-two feet, valued at $74,800.00. Considering the sparsely settled country and the number of stations around Cherokee, these figures are altogether remarkable.  Engaged in the Lumber business are three firms: Archer, Burr & Co., and Hobart and Snyder.

The amount of grain marketed in Cherokee , shows the rapid growth of the county more than any other items. In '70, only 600 bushels of wheat were shipped from here; in '71 there was probably 45,000 of wheat, and 30,000 bushels of corn marketed.  While this season, since the 12th of August, 95,000 bushels of wheat have been shipped, and there can be no question that not more than one third of the crop is already sold.  It is safe to compute that 250,000 bushels of wheat will be sold in the Cherokee market this season, while the deliveries of corn will increase to probably 75,000 bushels. This season has witnessed the building of three elevators.  That of Hobart and Snyder, 50 x 26, with a capacity of 8,000 bushels; that of James Archer, 30x30, with a capacity of 12,000 bushels; and that of C. Beckwith, 36x30, with a capacity of 8,000 bushels.  These elevators are well built, and supplied with the best kind of machinery, Fairbank's scales and other conveniences.  They are painted, and standing in a row as they do, the the village quite an imposing air, in marked contrast to the sleepy towns of older states. 

Agricultural Implements
Agricultural implements, have been astonishingly large, when it is remembered that three years ago there was no such business in the county. The oldest firm was that of C. F. Culver, whose successor, R. Hall, has sold this season (see list below) D. P. Burr & Co., carry on an extensive trade, but have not received such an extended lit of items of their sales: (see list below). Holt Garrison & Co., commenced business last spring and in a short time have succeeded in building up a remarkable trade. Their sales are: (see list below). C. A. Dow began business here in the spring of '72. His business has prospered amazingly. His sales are: (see below). Other parties sold reapers & c., to the value of $8,000. James Archer $3,000 and Jas. Henderson $5,000.

Total Sales of R. Hall
Threshers, 7 valued at $4,595
Reapers & mowers, 63 valued at $11,5000
Broadcast seeders, 47 valued at $3,540
Harrows & Cultivators valued at $410
Plows, 206 valued at $5600
Shovel Plows, 65 valued at $975
Horse rakes, 33 valued at $1,000
Wagons, 27 valued at $2,700
Total sales = $30,300
Total sales of D. P. Burr & Co
Threshers, 5 valued at $3,5000
Reapers & mowers, 49 valued at $7,350
Plows & cultivators, 447 valued at $7,967
Seeders, 45 valued at $3,375
Wagons, 22 valued at $2,200
Total sales = $24,392
Total Sales of Holt, Garrison, & Co.
Threshers, 1 valued at $ 700
Reapers 40 & Mowers, 20 valued at $10,300
Broad cast seeders, 20 valued at $1,000
Plows, 100 valued at $2,300
Harrows, 12 valued at $140
Cultivators, 20 valued at $700
Wagons, 10 valued at $1,000
Total sales = $16,640
Total Sales of C. A. Dow
Threshers, 5 valued at $3,250
Reapers & Mowers, 28 valued at $6,000
Seeders, 21 valued at $1,630
Plows & cultivators, 120 valued at $3,000
Wagons,  12 valued at $1,200
Hay Rakes, 7 valued at $315
Grain Registers, 30 valued at $480
Fanning Mills, 6 valued at $180
Pumps & lightnings rods valued at $1,800
Total sales = $17,875

The total sale of agricultural implements for the year have been $97,187, or in round numbers, $100,000.  The sale of Plows reach the enormous number of 847.

The coal trade of Cherokee for the last season was an item of some importance, the total sales amounted to 730 tons, which sold at $6.00 per ton, added $4,380 to the business of the place. The coal trade appears large when it is known that wood is the principal article of firing in the village and along the river. anding in a row as they do, the the village quite an imposing air, in marked contrast to the sleepy towns of older states. 

Source: Cherokee County Historical Society Publication to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the county with their original source being The Cherokee Times, Oct 25, 1872

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