Harper, Iowa Centennial
                  1879-1979
                         NOT TOO BIG. . . BUT NOT TOO LITTLE

CHICAGO ROCK ISLAND & PACIFIC RAILROAD

The C. R. I. & P. R. R. line was extended from Washington to Sigourney in 1872. C. M. Hurless was sent here as Station Agent. We know of several who have followed him but very little about them.

 

In 1890 Agent Taylor was here and Mr. Warren in 1893. Next came Pat Fitzgerald and Dale Cox who moved on to Rose Hill, Iowa. In 1915 Clay White was Agent and a sub by the name of Youngerblood. Frank Leisure went to Oskaloosa from here November 1926.

 

L. P. Acheson came here from Des Moines and began duties November 1, 1926. About November 15 his wife, Lenora, and four children arrived by train, namely; Mildred Acheson Ludwig, now Long Beach, California, Geroline Acheson Schmitz, Long Beach, California, now deceased. Pauline Acheson Crooks, Harper. Carl Acheson, now Fairfield, Iowa.

 

On June 29, 1928 a daughter, Alice Margaret, was born here. Alice Acheson Miller, West Des Moines, now deceased. Two older children, Orris and Louise (now Mrs. Ritson Morris) at this time lived at Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Agent Acheson and family were members of the Methodist Church. Agent Acheson was mayor of Harper for 10 years, served on Lafayette No. 9 School Board and belonged to the Masonic Lodge at Keota. He retired, while in the hospital at Fairfield with pneumonia, on October 10, 1944. Mr. and Mrs. Acheson and daughter, Alice, moved to Commerce, Iowa in October of 1945.

 

Mrs. Acheson passed away February 9, 1954 and Mr. Acheson passed away April 10, 1958.

 

Several agents followed. Agent Robert Booker, Mr. Peck and Mrs. Phillips. The Rail Road was discontinued about October 1965. Agent Grovier took care of Keota and Harper for sometime. The depot was sold by sealed bids. Mr. Nick Weber, Harper, purchased it.

 

Many worked on the Section Crew and we know of only a few of them; Foreman, Mr. Wm. Crooks, John Ruplinger, John Hammen, Pete Ruplinger, Walter Weber and Steve Ruplinger. The last two foremen here were Leslie Morrow and Mr. Williams.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last Depot - Clarence Smith

 

 

Derailment

 

 

HARPER CREAMERY OR CHEESE FACTORY

Not much is known about the Creamery. We only know that it did exist and could be that there were more than one. June 10, 1882 the Harper Creamery first effort put out 146 lbs. of butter. Also again on December 3, 1886—The Creamery shipped 4500 lbs. of butter to New York in one week and this brought the total shipped since April to be 72,000 lbs.

 

The Creamery was known to have a well 150 ft. deep and is still on the property of Lloyd Dumont Farm at the edge of Harper. We know that the Creamery was robbed and destroyed by fire December 13, 1890. Very little insurance, so it was never rebuilt. Below is a picture of Main Street in Harper looking East. The last building in the far distant should be part of the Creamery. It was located out of the city limits. We are sorry no other picture could be found.

 

(Latest information states "CHEESE" was shipped)

 

 

TILE FACTORY

 

(The burned Creamery was torn down and 5 acres of land was purchased by one or all of the following men and the Tile Factory was started; Paul Peiffer, Matt Weber, Louie Peiffer, Peter Becker and W. L. Williams)

 

(The following was taken from the Harper News Items in the Keota Eagle)

 

Harper needs their own Tile Factory. Many train shipments of Harvey tile have been arriving at Harper. On March 15, 1906, the news is that there is a good deal of talk about a Tile Factory at Harper. August 30, 1906—They are making things count out at the tile factory. Men working there are Joe Ludwig, Vince Striegel, Paul Peiffer, Matt Weber and Pete Becker. Five cars of brick have been unloaded. September 6, 1906—The woodwork on the buildings are done and more bricks arriving. The buildings started are 2 drying sheds 160 x 16 and the Engine Room 40 x 126. The tile machine is here from Plymouth, Ohio. This machine can make tile, brick and hollow tile. September 13, 1906—Frank Oaks is here from Columbus Junction building the Kiln and his brother is building the flues. September 27, 1906—The Engine and Boiler came Monday and were set up by Tuesday night. More bricks are arriving. October 11, 1906—The men at the Tile Factory fired part of a load to try the Kiln. October 18, 1906—A full load in the Kiln was fired. It will take 10 to 14 days to burn and dry this amount and more time is needed to cool them. The Kiln holds 30, 000 bricks.

 

At what date it stopped we do not know. We know after August 5, 1909.

 

Again in 1916 Tiny Vastine, from Richland, Iowa, opened the Factory once again and fired the Kiln. Sometime later he left for Service and it stopped once again.

 

L to R: Standing, Al Peiffer, Matts Valerius, Leo Peiffer,

Frank Weber, W. L. Williams, Foreman; Albert Heyer.

Sitting L to R: John Beck and John Heyer.

 

 

BANKS

 

FILES OF THE KEOTA EAGLE

July 24, 1891. . . The State Bank of Harper, Iowa incorporated April 26, 1893. Board. . . C. F. Singmaster, President; J. H. B. Striegel, Vice President; T. F. McCarty, Cashier; J. C. Wilson; E. G. Wilson; Wm. Ferguson; D. H. Greigg; N. Besser.

 

Feb. 5, 1905. . . A new bank is organized at Harper and will begin business some time in March. Officers are: Paul Peiffer, President; J. P. Besser, Vice President; A. C. Striegel, Cashier. Directors are: Mike Adam, H. N. Schrader, John Kaufman; John Ludwig, Jr., F. M. Fixmer. The new bank is the Citizens Savings Bank.

 

April 3, 1913. . . The State Bank of Harper has gone out of business, its 20-year charter having expired. It has been re-organized under the name of Farmer's Savings Bank of Harper with capital stock of $15,000. Directors are: U. P. Hartman, Matt Biewen, Sr., Adam Smith, Earl Herr and John Allan.

 

May 20, 1920. . . The Farmers Savings Bank of Harper was robbed Monday night of $1900 cash and papers of unknown value taken from safety deposit boxes. No clue to identity of robbers has been discovered. The blacksmith shop at Keota was broken into Sunday night and got the tools with which to perform the bank job.

 

March 17, 1921 BANK CLOSES. The Farmers Savings Bank of Harper closed its doors Friday, March 11, by orders of the board of directors acting with state banking department. Con- siderable paper upon which the cash could not be readily realized is understood to be the reason of the board's action. . . J. M. White has been appointed receiver.

 

May 1, 1930. . . The Citizens Savings Bank of Harper quit business voluntarily Friday evening, as business done was insufficient to justify the continuance of the bank and was turned over to banking department for liquidation. A. C. Striegel was cashier; M. Adam, President; Roy White, Vice President. Directors were Mike Hammes, John Kaufman, John Schmitt, Nick Berg, Mike Adam and Roy White. The bank was capitalized for $15,000 and had $60,000 deposits.

 

 

 

 

 

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