Ida County IAGenWeb


History of Arthur

by Allen S. Hoaglund, D.C.

The First Post Office

As settlers to the area were increasing, there was a need for some form of community between Odebolt in Sac County and Ida Grove in Ida County. The railroad had planned a town on the Alexander M. Jacobs farm. It was halfway between Odebolt and Ida Grove and would make equal sections for the section crews. The Jacobs farm was located one-half mile west of present day Arthur and was also a stage stop. In March of 1884 the name of this station was Struble, in honor of I. N. Struble, Congressman from this district and Mr. Jacobs was the first Postmaster. One month after the Struble station was operating, the area people learned of another Struble in Plymouth Co. Congressman Struble wrote to the area people explaining that his native Plymouth County had named a town after him and then suggested the name of Arthur in honor of then President, Chester Alan Arthur.

At this time, Corwin Township included both Blaine and Hayes areas and this township was named Blaine for the nominee for president at this time. The name was suggested by Charles Graham who lived where Hemers live now. Mr. Blaine was the former Secretary of State and the Republican nominee for President, but defeated by the Democrat, Grover Cleveland.

Town of Arthur

In the early part of 1885, R. H. Ashton, a civil engineer employed by the C&NW (Chicago & Northwestern) Railroad, platted the present town site and the land was purchased from William Burgoyne. By mid summer the first lots were sold and by fall business were open and homes built.

The town of Arthur was incorporated in 1897. The commissioners appointed by the court to circulate petitions to incorporate the town and to hold an election for the incorporation were: Adam Auchstetter, Robert L. Whitaker, J. P. Hunter, J. C.Nickelsen, and William Strahn.

The total population at that time was 127. Some of the men were not citizens and had no vote. Women were not voters at that time. Signers for the incorporation were: E. B. Page, Wm. Strahn, John C. Nickelsen, Jas. Hemer, George Shoop, Adam Auchstetter, Benjamin J. Andrews, Andy Paulson, Robert Whitaker, Dell Johnson, B. C. Dillenbeck, Fred. J. Whinery, Gay E. Clifford, J. P. Hunter, Karl P. Hundahl, Peter Hanson, Lou C. Volz, George Creighton, John C. Love, Carl O. Johnson, Frank W. Tile, Lyman Sly, M. J. Blauser, M. B. Gibson, John Hoaglund, and E. O. Cole.

Lyman Sly was unable to write and his name was signed and acknowledged by a qualified signer. No record of the number of people against incorporating is available.

Of the twenty-six signers for the incorporation, all but three, B. C. Dillenbeck, Peter Hanson and J. C. Love voted for the incorporation. However two new supporters did, I. Arthur and Rev. Bushnell.

First Elected Officials

Mayor Fred W. Cole
Councilmen Robert Whitaker, Gay E. Clifford, Karl P. Hundahl, John C. Nickelsen, E. B. Page
Clerk J. P. Hunter
Treasurer Sandusky S. Dillenbeck
Assessor John Hoaglund
Marshall (appointed) Joe Hemer

Town Businesses and the Citizens Who Made Them

Peter Hanson was the first Section Foreman for the C&NW (Chicago and Northwestern Railroad). His home was moved from its first location near the Jacobs farm to the new town site on a flatcar and part of it is the west part of the Ross Sweden home now. Peter retired after 20 years of service here and went to live near Gowrie, Iowa to farm. Andy Paulson was the next Section Foreman from 1897 to 1900. Then came Andy Gilbertson, who served as long as there was a crew in Arthur. Carl O. Johnson worked as a section hand, starting in 1890 and worked until this section was discontinued. Gust Skoog and John Olson (father of the Olsons north of Arthur) were early day section hands. George Shoop was a section hand at Struble and was one of the first in the new town.

The right-of-way had been a dirt bed until Paulson came here and then the gravel ballast was brought in. Long trains of flatcars ran for weeks. A large number of men were used as all work was done with shovels.

J. C. Waugh lived in a house straight west of Clarence Hemer's house in the 1870's, about 200 yards back in the section west. Mrs. Waugh boarded railroad men. Mr. Waugh worked for the David Morrison east of Arthur before it was here. The Morrisons lost 3 girls and the Waughs 1 girl with diphtheria in 1878.

The first Depot burned down in 1914. It stood some distance west of the one torn down several years ago.

There was a large vacant space north of the depot and the railroad uploaded a large number of 3 foot diameter tile and telegraph poles. These were hauled both ways from Arthur by teams and wagon running gear. Three of the teamsters my grandfather (Russell Hoaglund) remembered were: Clarence Cain, Lew Noll and Jim Taylor.

The first home was built by John Hoaglund, Sr., where the present bank (Arthur Office of United Bank Of Iowa) is located. It was a small residence in the back of the store and in the spring of 1886 a large addition was added to it. The Hoaglunds boarded some of the single men that were here in the early days. They also had accommodations for travelers. Many of the single men slept on office bunks where they worked. Part of this large house now stands 1 3/4 miles north of Arthur (Gilbert Davis residence) and the other large section was moved to the block west and later further north and is now occupied by Jeff Sweden.

The first business was opened by John Hoaglund, Sr. and his son as Hoaglund and Son. They conducted a general store here for 17 years beginning in the fall of 1885. This building was on the present bank property and was north of the corner, it being torn down in the 1950's. Sandusky S. Dillenbeck of Perry, Iowa started the first bank (called Bank of Arthur) in this store building before the old brick bank was built on the corner. The business was sold to G. M. Ellis in 1902 and the Hoaglunds went to the new town of Kiron, in Crawford County, to build a new store there. Ellis sold an interest to Lemuel Brown, later to L. W. Kuhl, then the Kuhl Brothers keeping the dry goods department which was later taken over by other parties and later closed out. Woodward & Son of Smith land put in a stock of groceries but only stayed a short time. Kuhl dissolved the partnership in the early 1920's and L. W. Kuhl sold in the late 1930's to Again. Again sold to Franz Johnson who closed out the business.

Ed Arthur was a bookkeeper in the bank for Dillenbeck. Dillenbeck and son sold the bank to James Toy from Sioux City, Iowa. About 1906 Toy sold to a new home chartered bank and the old two story building was built in 1912. In 1906, the safe was blown by a bank robber, Kendall was bookkeeper then. In 1917 the Citizens bank was organized and both banks failed in 1924 during hard times. I remember my father telling me that he and his sister (Earland S. Hoaglund and Ethel L. Hoaglund Crosbie) sold honey from the fathers bee hives. In 1924 they lost about $4 during the failure. He said it was a long time before he and his sister trusted a bank again. When these banks failed, the big wheels and borrowers didn't lose much if anything. In 1925 the Arthur Trust and Savings Bank opened and is now the Arthur Office of the United Bank of Iowa located in Ida Grove, Iowa. (Previously the Arthur Office of the Ida County State Bank).

The second house was built by P. W. Larson (and is now occupied by Floyd Danielsons on East Street). The Larsons also kept some boarders and roomers. Larson erected a double front building facing south (where the old tavern's garage was located east of the present Post Office building) and ran a hardware and furniture store. This was sold to Sam Arthur, later Lemuel Brown, Fred W. Cole and then to I. Arthur (Sam's father).

I. Arthur built an early day home on the northwest corner of east and 3rd streets and built a two story harness and buggy shop on the west end of the lot, (across the alley from Larson's Hardware and Furniture store). This building had a long ramp and buggies were kept on the second floor. My grandfather went there to have a shoe sewn and a boy named Cevil Johnson went with him. I. Arthur took a strap and run Cevil out as he didn't want any loafing in his shop. Sam Arthur built the house now occupied by Kenny and Mary Ellen Carlson. Harness and shoe makers after I. Arthur were, H. Barker, Knutson, Ellsworth, Martin and Watts.

John Hunter was the first druggist, but Arthur was without a drugstore for a number of years. Then Perkins Brothers from Odebolt, Iowa opened a store with Jesse Hendricksen put in charge. Hendricksen operated his drug store in the Ellis Store after the fire in 1911 until the new building was completed (which is now the Post Office building). In front of this building, the first gas pump was placed on the streets of Arthur by Hendricksen.

There was always talk that Arthur would never put in fire protection until it had to and the fire of 1911 did it. The fire started in Curran's Restaurant in the old Woodman Building and also burned Hendricksen's drug store. The fire also gutted the Hew Highlander Hall which was just completed in 1910. The interior was rebuilt and became the town Opera House. There were lecture courses, movies, skating and road shows held there. Later this became the gym for the Arthur Public School. For 55 years this building housed the Arthur Locker operated by Harry N. Kitterman until it closed in the 1970's and the last 25 years this building has been used for private storage. Before this fire and the time the town acquired the opera house, lecture courses and graduation exercises were held in the Methodist Church. Dances, traveling shows and movies took place in the Lindsay Hall, above the Lindsay grocery store.

The first elevator was brought in by John Wainwright after being dismantled in the eastern part of the state. This was managed by Miles Reese. Later this elevator was purchased by Trans Mississippi and managed by Robert L. Whittaker, who lived at the northwest corner of Main and Second streets. This house is now occupied by the Jim Sewell family.

There was an elevator east of the one previously mentioned, owned by Hanson, Nelson and Gray. Babcock and Sears owned the business. These were all men from Odebolt, Iowa. Lovell A. Cady was the manager and lived where the Mortensens now live, (just two doors north of Robert Whittaker). At that time this home was one story. Both this house and the Fred Whinery Home, (where the West Arthur Apartments are,) were raised in 1908.

A third elevator was built where the Arthur Elevator now stands by the Northern Grain Co. And was managed by Everett Shaw. The Shaw's lived in the house now occupied by Jeff Rasmussen, which is the last house on the far east end of 4th Avenue north of the Evangelical Free Church. This was a smaller house at that time, the east part built on by Gust Lind in 1910. The Northern Grain Co. sold out to Conger and Ball of Sac City. Lovell A. Cady became manager and the annex was built at that time. The elevator and business were taken over by a stock company, The Arthur CO-OP Elevator Co., with Robert C. Stewardson as manager. This company was taken over by the Arthur Elevator Co. and burned down on June 1, 1957 and was replaced by a modern plant. The fire was on a Saturday night. It was the annual Arthur Alumni Banquet night and my father Earland S. Hoaglund was Fire Chief. The alarm was called in by his father Russell Hoaglund. My father said "when he come out of the house and seen the flames shooting in the air, he just wanted to crawl in a hole rather than see the elevator burning".

The earlier elevators were operated by horse power. They were not high and had no flexible spouts. The grain was run into railroad cars and scooped to the ends. The C&NW had a number of long narrow corn cribs along the tracks and bought corn from the farmers.

In the 1890's and early 1900's, bicycles were the real means of transportation. In the late 1890's tandems were quite numerous. The rear wheels of all girls bicycles and most tandems had fenders and skirt guards. (You see, all females wore skirts at that time!).

The Bowman s opened a lumbar yard in 1889 at the present elevator office site. The Green Bay Co. also began business about the same time, located west of Bowman's where a large grain storage facility now is. The Bowman office became the original part of the C.B. Lippincott House on east 3rd Avenue. E.G. Bowman managed the Bowman Co. and Abe J. Stolt managed the Green Bay Company. Green Bay absorbed the Bowman Co., being purchased in 1891 by the Farmers Lumber and Coal Company. Stolt was the first manager. Later Gay E. Clifford, Jim Clifford and Duane English. Later known as the Arthur Lumber Co., which burned in 198_ and never rebuilt. Managers after English were Wayne Bell, __ ___, Robert LaLone and Ken Lehrman.

The Hotel was built by Adam Greave and located when the grocery store once stood, at the corner of Main and 4th street. Other hotel owners were: Shoop, Getman, Brucker, Peterson, Swanson, Green, Fricke, Penrod, Salmon, Kennedy, Cook, Burgoyne, Hanson, Shetler. Im later years the hotel was located at Main and 3rd Streets.

The first restaurant my grandfather Hoaglund remembered was run by Ed Volz in the old Hemer Building, later the Mason building that burned down in 1923. Likely there was a restaurant prior to Volz. Arthur had been without a restaurant for a number of years after Volz quit. Then John Eckblad of Kiron started one in the old Woodman Hall in 1907, where the tavern used to be (next to the post office). Following keepers were Nack, Pearson, Krick & Curran, (this is where the 1923 fire started). Operating from other locations were: Garland, Hummel, Friday, Salmon, Dunbar, Rector Bros., Clouse, Cunningham, Bossard, Condon, Garret, Stephan, Maxine Nelson, Red Nelson, Art Olson, Lydia Hanson, Russ Harmon, Dvorak, Earl Clark, Pritchard, Gary Wren, Gary Gritten, Jeff Sweden and probably some others that have been forgotten.

Law Brothers began the second store in town in a building built by D.W. Rust. This building was sold to a man by the name of Craig. (This was the drug store in the 1911 fire). John C. Love erected a store building in 1888 across the alley east and ran a store until 1891. There were living quarters upstairs. John C. Love sold the stock and fixtures to John Love, Jr. and Mr. Craig, who moved the stock to the Craig building on Main Street. Cole & Lester purchased the building and stock, with Lester selling out to Cole and Cole selling to John Erickson and his son Ed. Frank Johnson conducted the business as Erickson & Johnson (Erickson's son-in-law). This stock was sold to a man from Mapleton who moved it out of town. The Love building stood vacant from 1891 to 1896 when Love traded it to E. B. Page for farm land.

In 1903 John C. Love built a store with living quarters above on the lot where the Dunkelberger oil station stood along the highway. This building was later used as a hotel by Sam Green, who also ran the saloon. In 1905 John Lindsay had purchased the Love Stock and moved it to the old Greave (Hotel) building. Lindsay sold to Pruyn & Yousling who sold to Casper Galinsky. He in turn sold to Arthur E. Lindsay (which was in operation for more than 50 tears). Later sold to Everett Wunschel, Lois Oxendale, Ila McMullen who closed up permanently. McMullen was the last grocer located in Arthur. The first Lindsay store was Lindsay & Lindsay (John J. Lindsay of Ida Grove and a nephew John Lindsay).

Operating grocery stores from different locations and some at the same time were: Gill & Arbegast, McMorris, Lamborn, Salmon, Watts & Lamborn, Burnquist, V. P. Carlson, Chas. Daily of Sioux City, Hanna, Katherine Peterson.

Adam Auchstetter was the first implement dealer and saloon keeper, he also had a livery. This all burned in a fire that started in the Page Store in the late 1890's The people were awakened by the continuos blowing of the midnight freight train whistle. C. A. Ellis, John Fair and Andersen Bros. also had implement shops at different times.

The first retired farmer was Ed Ellis, father to Mrs. John Neal. Ed came to town about 1897 or 98 and lived (and possibly built) the house where Wittens live. John Glade was the second retired farmer in about 1900 living on the corners of West and 3rd streets.

Charles Dunkelberger was the first mail carrier, starting in 1900. Holidays were few in those days. He told my grandfather Russell Hoaglund that Christmas Day in 1918 was his 19th Christmas Day carrying the mail. When he started he kept two teams and his salary was $500 a year.

The first fire in town was where Harry Kitterman's garage stands in about 1897. Bob Whittaker was burning foxtail from his potato patch, the fire spreading towards the Methodist Church barn to the east. Fire was kept from the field north by beating it out with wet sacks.

There were a lot of men idle in the 1890's tramping the country, riding the freight trains. They would mark gate posts where they were fed and well treated for the next man to see. There were so many camped at the bridge west of Arthur one night that the men from town made them leave. (This was about the times of Coxey's Army).

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