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

OTHER TOWNS IN THE USA

THAT SHARE OUR NAME. . . HARPER

 

Harper, Oregon... 97906

A man by the name of Harper was a home-steader in the center of a large valley with thousands of acres of hay meadows. The Malheur River wound its way through the center for an ample water supply, both summer and winter. Cattle from the desert were brought in to this valley for winter range and it acquired the name Harper Valley. Fat cattle had to be driven many miles to a railroad town in Nevada for marketing. In 1913, Jack Fairman sent five men to Harper Valley to start a new town because the railroad was coming and he wanted to have a store open for business at the time of its arrival. This would mean many dollars to him. There was nothing there but sagebrush, not even a passable road. The crew worked long and steady hours and soon the engine whistle could be heard in Old Malheur Canyon along with the sound of steel on steel where only previously the sound had been just that of howling coyotes or the crack of guns. The store was ready. Tents were erected for crews and carpenters and various small shops were constructed along with a depot. Following the R. R. came the highway through to Burns, Oregon. Westfall, previously a thriving wagon freight town, soon became a ghost-town with only large stock ranches remaining. So Harper was on its way, built on what was West- fall, for even houses were moved to Harper. There were great hopes that Harper would become a great metropolis, but that could not be. It once boasted of two general stores, barber shop, two taverns, hotel, lumber yard, post office and store, dance hall, bank, garage and gas stations, but now most are gone. Most hay meadows have given way to row cropping. The town of Harper, Oregon today consists of a post office, gun store, garage, gas station and community hall. The consolidated school has approximately 100 students. It is a nice place to live, even to this day, although it too has given way to progress, but the citizens there enjoy the contentment and neighborliness which small town atmospheres create.

 

Harper, Kansas... 69058

The City and County of Harper, Kansas was named for Marion Harper of the Second Kansas Cavalry. There is nothing to indicate that he ever saw Harper County, however. Harper's first name was Cora City. Harper was founded in April, 1877 by a party of colonists from Bloomfield consisting of 11 families. 15 of these people traveled by covered wagon to Hutchinson, then to Topeka where they met the additional settlers that came by train, hence onward 38 miles to Kingman. They rested a day and hired a County surveyor to go with them to lay out the new townsite and arrived at the present site of Harper on April 14, 1877. The nearly level land they beheld was covered with buffalo grass, blue stem and spring flowers. The colonists formed a Townsite Company but individuals pre-empted sections of land and paid the Treasurer $200 for a quarter section. Wood was scarce and secured by exchanging buffalo bones which they found in abundance for lumber at Wichita to build their homes. Harper, Kansas celebrated its centennial, May 28th, 1977.

 

Harper, Washington... 98341

Now an area rather than a town. The Post Office was closed 10-23-73 and is now served by Rural Route out of Port Orchard. It was named after one of the first settlers, The C. F. Harper Family. Logging, farming and a large brick yard were the industries at the turn of the century. Many of the first Seattle, Washington streets were paved and buildings built with bricks from the Harper brick yard. Harper, Washington is now a residential area and it has many water front homes for people working in Seattle, Tacoma and Bremerton Naval Shipyard.

 

Harper, Texas... 78631

The first settlers in this town were the McDonalds, some of whom were massacred by Indians in 1863. A historial (sic) marker was dedicated on the site of the McDonald cabin and massacre. The town of Harper was named by George Franklin Harper, who settled here in 1880 and was the first postmaster. "Uncle Frank", as he was called, was born in Illinois on Dec. 31, 1828. His parents were Henry and Jane Cummings Harper. His mother died when he was young, and he was reared by his grandmother. Mr. Harper settled in Floresville, Texas in 1848, since his uncles, Elija and Charlie were living there. He later moved to the Harper area and died in Barstow, Fla., where a son Walter lived, on March 27, 1926. A number of his descendants still live in or near Harper today and Victor Harper is the deputy sheriff. Harper, Texas, a town of 350 people, celebrated its centennial in 1963. with 16,000 guests. 16,000 guests (sic).

 

Harper, West Virginia... 25851

Located six miles from Beckley on Rt. 3, a highway bridge now spans the unincorporated town of Harper. Little remains today to suggest the busy town that evolved during the life span of Henry Harrison Harper, whose memory is perpetuated by the town name. It does boast of a picturesque log cabin post office, one of a very few in the nation.

 

Originally, this heavily wooded area had attracted many hunters. Among them was a man by the name of Mark Miller, who built a two story log house near a spring at the bottom of Harper Hill. Here hunters and travelers frequently rested and watered their horses, so the name Miller's Camp Branch first attached itself to the site. On Sept. 2, 1903, when the Virginian Railway established a station at Harper, the name of the post office was changed to Harper in honor of Henry Harrison Harper, who had served as the first postmaster, Feb. 4, 1871. At that time, he recorded the fact that there were 24 families living within a two-mile radius of the post office. Its largest stream of water still is Paint Creek because the Indians used the bright red mud of the creek bottom to paint the trees that surrounded their favorite camp site at Cirtsville.

 

There is also a Harper, Kentucky... 41440

 

To the Postmasters and City Clerks that furnished us with this information and Birthday Greetings to our town, Harper, Iowa... 52231 ... we say THANK YOU!

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