1873 - 1973

A glimpse into the past...

Keota Brick & Tile

Keota Brick & Tile 2

Keota Brick & Tile 3

Keota brick & Tile 4
Picture taken at the west kiln of the old tile factory.
Left to right, first row, Samuel K. Leacox, William Wilkinson, Ed. Lantry, Ellis Ludwig,
Harry (Miz) Henderson, Harry Willis, Logan Kite, Edd Conklin, Walter Willis, Wm. Anderson.
Back row, left to right, Lloyd Conklin, Earl Conklin, Elmer Hess.



Tadlock Inc.



Eagle Glass Banner

Below, we present our readers with a view of the EAGLE GLASS WORKS, which are just being completed. The building is 104 feet long and 50 feet wide. The furnace contains seven pots, and when run to its full capacity, will turn out 21 tons of glass ware per week, and give employment to from 50 to l00 men and boys. To do this, it will be necessary to burn 25 tons of coal, use 14 1/2 tons of sand, 10,500 lbs. of soda, 3000 lbs. of lime, and smaller quanities of other ingredients, of which the EAGLE can not speak because it does not know. The EAGLE GLASS WORKS, are the property of a Joint Stock Company, which was organized, by the citizens of Keota and vicinity, on the 22nd day of April 1879.

The officers of the Company are: Joseph Charlton, President, H. Henkle, Vice President, J. W. Tallman, Treasurer, E. M. Ritchey, Secretary.

Outside View. Looking from the N. ' V.

Glass Works building

Board of Directors: Joseph Charlton, H. Henkle, R. S. Brice, G. Gregory and J. W. Tallman.

Within a few days after the organization of the company, a site was selected, and the building commenced. The old lumber yard grounds were chosen as the most eligible location, on account of being convenient to the railroad, because the ground had the necessary amount of "fall" and because the owners gave it on remarkably easy terms: to-wit: first year free, then $25 rent per annum for five years, with the privilege of purchasing it at any time, during the five years, for $600. Taking into account the ahove real estate transaction, and the fact that the officers have served faithfully and well without compensation, and have hired their labor and bought their material very cheap, the building and fixtures have been completed for a coparatively small sum of money. Everything about this establishment has been built with an eye to business more than for appearance.

Mr. J. H. LEIGHTON, a noted glass maker of Wheeling W. Va., is Manager, and all the work has been done according to his directions. Whatever he wanted done, he either did himself, or told some one else how to do it. He has experience of two or three generations of glass makers, besides having been Manager of some of the largest and best factories in West Virginia, Ohio and Pa. He knows the whole business by heart, and has managed the construction of these works without making a single mistake.

Glass Works inside map

The Eagle Glass Works enjoys many


over Eastern factories, a few of which we will mention. First—It is located here in the west, the very center of the glass consuming country, and has a thousand miles the start, in the item of freights. Second—It has an inexhaustible bed of sand right at its door, (so to speak,) which has been tested and proved to be capable of producing first quality of flint glass. This sand can be laid down in the factory at $3 per ton cheaper than our eastern relatives can get theirs. Third—This entire establishment did not cost more than the ground to build it on would have cost in one of the eastern cities. Fourth—Hands can be hired for much less monney here, because they can live much cheaper than in a large city. Fifth—Here we are free from "Trades Unions, and for a long time at least, will not be troubled with "strikes." But we might go on ad infinitum enumerating its advantages and weary your patience, hence we will c1ose that department, and tell you


We have an entirely new and full outfit of molds for making table ware, lamps, &c. These styles and patterns were designed by Mr. Leighton, and are such as will recommend themselves to the trade. It is the intention of the Board and the Manager to make Keota Glass popular with the dealers and among the people. They will send out nothing that will not bear the closest scrutiny. In the way of its advantages to the country, we need not speak particulatly at this time, as we talked that up pretty thoroughly when the company was being organized. But we look at it as the opening of a new era of less farming and more manufacturing. Neighboring towns have already taken up the idea, and wonder why they did not think of it sooner. Parties who represent other manufacturing interests, have been here to take in the situation, with a view of locating. Scores of young men are looking to this factory in anticipation of steady employment. And, don't you forget it, when the EAGLE GLASS WORKS begin to send out two car loads of glass ware per week, and have orders for three months ahead, you will see livelier. times in Keota than you ever saw before. And this is not a highly colored picture, for many other similar establishments, less favorably situated, have done more than the above. Every thing appears to work together for our good. There has not be a better time within the last five years for such an enterprise to begin operation. The Eastern factories are about all in full operation again, with orders several months ahead. We have just harvested the best crop raised in the last decade, the European crops are short, and our farmers are sure of renumerative prices for their large surplus. All these things, taken together, insure good times and large sales of glassware as well as other manufactured goods.



Keota Glass
Keota Glass



Jack and Jill



A glimpse into the past...

Interesting Developments About the Eagle Glass Works,
the First Glass Factory West of the Mississippi River
Keota, Iowa.

Mr. J. H. Leighton, then living in Wheeling, West Virginia, had been corresponding with parties in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in reference to the erection of glass works there, but not meeting with satisfactory encouragement he determined to look up a more desirable point. This was in December of 1878. Seeing a copy of The Keota Eagle in Wheeling, and being struck with the enterprise of the businessmen of this city, he determined to apply here and see what encouragement he would receive.

The Eagle Glass Works was organized by the citizens of Keota and vicinity on April 22, 1879. The stockholders of the proposed Glass Works met at Henkle & Hutchinson's lumber office and perfected their organization. Everyone present appeared to be filled with spirit and determined to make the enterprise win. It was named "Eagle Glass Works" in honor of The Keota Eagle, through whose influence Mr. Leighton had his attention first called to this town. "Of course we accept the name as a high honor," states the editor of The Keota Eagle, Mr. G. L. Reed.

"At a meeting of the Eagle Glass Works las t Tuesday night," states the May 3, 1879, Keota Eagle, "the directors selected the ground formerly occupied by Huskins & Webber lumber yard as a site for the factory. This is a wise choice as it was the best ground that could be obtained on the track and as it was offered so reasonable they could not refuse it. Ground will probably be broken next week." (Note: The old lumber yard ground of Huskins & Webber was lots 3, 4, and 5 of block 19 in the Town of Keota. According to an 1887 Atlas of Keokuk County and the plat of Keota shown therein, it shows the Opera House as being located on the south end of these lots. The Glass House was converted into an Opera House at a later date. As of 1973 the lots designated as lots three and four is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bill VanSickle, 108 West Broadway, Keota, Iowa, and lot five the home of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Kent, 110 West Broadway, Keota, Iowa.)

June 21, 1879. The building is up and enclosed, the stack is finished, the floor laid and the "lear" partly built, everyone anxious to see the smoke rolling out of the big chimney.

The Glass Works started September 25 and is running on full time converting sand from one quarry in each county into first class glassware.


November 22, 1879. Keota has won city honors at a very tender age. She may now be classed as a manufacturing center because she has already had a "Strike." Which of our neighboring villages can boast of as much? The strike was of a mild type and, as nearly as we can find out, was brought on thus: The glass factory being short of hands and full of orders, the manager put W. G. Lytle, a new hand, to working a press (because he could be more useful in that capacity than in any other) and H. Getner (who came here as a gatherer but who had been running the press a few days) to gather for Lytle. Getner rebelled and drew most of the foreign host with him. John Callahan, thanks to his manhood, stuck to work. Work went right on, the home boys were put right forward. Mr. Leighton shed his coat and did the work of at least two skilled workmen and four boys. He and the directors are a unit in the determination to run this concern as they please without dictation from the hands of any other men. The work can be run with the present help so as to pay expenses, and that is better than the strikers can do when not at work. We say to the Manager and Directors, stick to it, the home hands are becoming more expert every day and now is the time to nip this evil while it is young and tender.

P.S. — On Wednesday evening the boys signified their willingness to return to labor and now all is well and the work goes bravely on.

December 27, 1879. A Keota resident went to Indiana taking a set of Keota glassware to show the Hoosiers what grows in Iowa.

In January 1880 the glass works closed down to repair the furnace. Several of the glassmakers left town but enough of them tarried so that work could begin as the necessary repairs were made. F. M. Smock returned from his western trip and states that he was successful in selling glass ware and contracted more than the company had on hand.

The January 24, 1880, Keota Eagle states that the Eagle Glass Works is shipping a cargo of glassware every day now.

February 14, 1880. Orders for glassware are still coming in. One large order for chimneys and other ware is to be delivered, but all work preparatory to starting the works has been stopped. "We see no immediate prospect of filling these orders. Ways and means are being devised for paying off what the company is in debt and when that is done, well, let us rent it to somebody, for we are a house divided against itself."

While The Eagle Glass Works was having financial difficulties, Iowa City was talking up the Glass Factory business. The April 17, 1880, issue of The Keota Eagle states that Mr. J. H. Leighton and R. R. Spencer, Cashier of the Savings Bank of Iowa City, came across country yesterday evening on a buck-board. Mr. Spencer comes as a representative of Iowa City capitalists to find out what he can about the glass business.

May 1, 1880. The Iowa City folks are hard at work canvassing for glass house stock.

May 8, 1880. The Iowa City Flint Glass Works organized Friday and they expect to begin the manufacture of glassware October 1.

In the meantime the editor of The Keota Eagle, who had been a backer of the Eagle Glass Works through his columns, states, "Compare Iowa City 's advantages with our own, and let those who have the reins in their hands tell us why we stand here all the day idle. Our factory is built, we are nearer coal than Iowa City. We have



A glimpse into the past...

demonstrated that first quality of glass can be made from our sand and the only thing we now lack is a little more sand in our craws. The west will be full of glass factories before 10 years pass by and will we let the pioneer establishment stand idle as a monument of our puerility?"

Hurrah For the Glass Works!

April 9, 1881. The Eagle Glass Works is again in operation. It was rented by Mr. Wm. Johnson. Grace Hill sand is being used and arrangements will probably be made to have the sand hauled here by the hundred ton. Mr. Walters, who is now on the road selling glassware, sends in very flattering reports. Another lot of Pittsburg hands expected. Fruit jar moulds have been ordered and will be here soon.

November 5, 1881. The Eagle Glass Works defunct.

February 11, 1882. Iowa City Glass Factory is entirely demoralized. They are neither running nor have they money ahead with which to pay their debts.

March 11, 1882. An Englishman, formerly senior proprietor of a glass factory in London, is negotiating for the purchase of the Eagle Glass Works of Keota. 'Tis said the third time is the "charm" and that is what we are waiting for just now.

May 19, 1883. The Glass House was sold at public sale last Saturday p.m. to H. Henkle for $455.00. It will not be torn down or removed but will be fitted up for a hall, skating rink, etc. The lots will probably be fenced with a high tight fence, stalls built and the grounds fitted up to accommodate the stock shows. Hole-in-the-sky (smoke stack) will be taken down, all the partitions taken out of the building, a good floor put in, the building plastered, seats, a stage built and other necessary calamities added and then we will have the best hall and skating rink in the county.

June 27, 1885. FINIS. Several car loads of glassware, "the last of that manufactured in the renowned Keota Glass Works, now defunct, have been shipped to a wholesaler at Ottumwa.

This is the last act of the drama!



The town of Keota was started in 1872 and grew so rapidly that during the summer of 1873 its several hundred citizens felt the need of town officials for the maintenance of law and order.

Following a petition dated Aug. 1, 1873, addressed to the Keokuk Co. court by F. M. Smock, J. F. Wilson, et al, residents of Keota, the court on Sept. 26, 1873, Judge C. L. Blanchard in the chair, appointed the following commissioners to hold an election at the J. S. Kulp store on the question of incorporating the town of Keota: F. M. Smock, J. C. Huskins, F. M. Israel, J. S. Kulp, and W. P. Davis.

The notice was printed in the Keota Plaindealer of Nov. 27, 1873. The election was held Dec. 18th, 1873, and the vote favored incorporation 68 to 9. Notice of incorporation was published in the Keota Plaindealer Jan. 1 and 8, 1874.

1873. The election was held Dec. 18th, 1873, and the vote favored incorporation 68 to 9. Notice of incorporation was published in the Keota Plaindealer Jan. 1 and 8, 1874.

J. S. Kulp was the first mayor of Keota. He was probably elected in January, 1874, to serve until the regular election two months later. Following is a list of the mayors of Keota and the years they served.

1874 — J. S. Kulp
1874 — Joseph Charlton
1875 — W. F. Stouder
1875 — N. G. Field
1876 — Geo. Spangler
1877 — J. B. Irwin (resigned in Sept.)
1877 — Geo. Spangler (filled out Irwin term)
1878 — J. F. Wilson
1879 — J. W. Tallman
1880 — D. X. Junkin
1881 — F. B. Home (Finished Junkin term)
1881 — J. E. Eaton
1882 thru 1887 — J. L. Ramsey
1888-89 — A. L. Erdice
1890-91-92 — J. L. Ramsey
1893-94 — F. M. Smock (resigned in Dec., 1894)
1895 — A. L. Erdice (finished Smock term)
1895-96 — I. Schreckengast
1897 — E. G. Wilson
1898-99 — O. B. Jones
1900-01 — C. O. Dayton
1902-03 — J. E. Eaton (died in Dec.)
1903 — O. B. Jones (finished Eaton term)
1904-05 — O. B. Jones
1906 thru 1909 — J. C. Clarke
1910 thru 1913 — E. C. Gilbert
1914 thru 1921 — N. G. McNurlen
1922-23 — E. C. Gilbert
1924-25 — Frederick Smith
1926 — J. G. Ranous (resigned in April, 1927)
1927— E. C. Gilbert (finished Ranous term)
1928-29 — E. C. Gilbert
1930-31 — Frederick Smith (died in Jan., 1932)
1932 — B. B. Brown (finished Smith term)
1932-33 — B. B. Brown
1933-36 — B. B. Brown
1936-38 — John Carris
1938-40-42-44-46-48 — J. E. Powell
1948-50-52 — Ervin C. Haberman
1952-54 — George E. Freshwaters
1954-56-58 — J. E. Powell
March 1958-60 — W. D. Cramer
1960-66 — Ernest Carlson
1966-72 — Austin Zehr
1972-73 — Cecil Greiner



Maplewood Manor ad



A glimpse into the past...

City Fathers
"City Fathers" ..... 1936 L to R .... Wm. Helscher, Charles Stoutner (standing), Claude Holmes, Harold Teets (standing), George Lyle, B. B. Brown, Warren Statler, Carl Richardson.

November 20, 1874. Keota Courier. Local Department, Town Happenings by Bruce and Hunter, Editors and Proprietors . .. .. .. The question that now comes up for us to decide is whether or not we shall have a night watch.

There is no question but that a night watch, especially during the winter as there is great danger of fire, if for no other purpose would be a good thing.

But if we come to the conclusion to have one let us endow him with the power of Deputy Marshall and instruct him to arrest all disorderly persons and all those found running about our streets after 10 o'clock at night, unless they give good reasons for so doing, and let us place said watch under bonds, say of $1000, so that it may act as a motor power to urge him on faithfully to perform the work entrusted in him.

Note: Depot located in center of Fulton Street.

Keota Street Scenes

Hog Delivery
Henry Luers delivering hogs February 16, 1907

New Cars
Jim White's new cars. About 1909 or 1910.
Singmaster Horses
Singmaster Horses lined up on Broadway
Band in Street



Pepsi ad quad

duo ads



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Source material provided by Rebecca Callahan. Thank you, Becky!

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Keota Cenntinial Book © Copyright 1973
Keota Centennial Committee

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