LE MARS, IOWA
(By J. Aalfs)
It was about 20 years ago that the first settlers came here to make claims and set up their sod houses. Soon after that the Central Railroad was laid and from the time forward the town Le Mars arose. But later when the C. & St. P., M. & O. Railroad was built, which has united itself with the Ill. Railroad this made the town grow more rapidly.
Now it is one of the most attractive places of northwest Iowa and it has over 5,000 inhabitants. As far as trade and industry are concerned, it is not behind other places, so that we often see businessmen and farmers of surrounding counties who want to do business here, and no wonder; there are good stores too, where one can buy everything under the sun. There are several factories too, two steam flour mills, one of 500 and one of 150 barrels a day; a shoe factory, mill supply and well-auger foundry, etc. It's also supplied with electric light, gas, sewer system and water works. It has 4 banks.
There is much going on in moral and religious issues. Fourteen distinguished churches, among which there are beautiful buildings. There is one normal and 4 public schools.
From the beginning, one found Hollanders here, such as Mr. Mak Bennet, Wassenaar and others, who settled here of whom most left again. Of the first settlers Mr. Aalbert van Dyk, Arie Schippers and Maarten Verheul still live here.
Since 1880 this town started to draw the attention again of our people, so that now many Dutchmen live here. Both in and outside the town.
In 1884 a Reformed Congregation was founded that at first was served by neighboring pastors, but later, with the congregation of Hull , was served more regularly by the Rev. Dangremond. Afterwards the Rev. A. J. Zigeler became pastor and under his leadership the town obtained a parsonage and now the Rev. S. J. Menning is pastor. He came to town about a year ago. And though his stay here may be called short, still many things happened. The old church was broken down and under this leadership a beautiful and useful church was built, that may be considered a landmark for the town, and an honor for the congregation.In 1892 a Dutch Christian Reformed Congregation was founded among our Dutch
people with about 8 families. Now there are, I believe, 23 families.
Considering all this, the population of this town has to give many thanks to the Lord, for all the blessings received. The same goes for our Dutch people, that came here mostly in more or less needy conditions, and how now they not only earn their living, but also can hear the Gospel regularly in their own language.
The Reformed Church Congregation of LeMars