ORANGE CITY , IOWA
(By A. Van Der Meide)
Once the settlement was established a city had to be formed. Money for that purpose was needed. An organization was formed under the chairmanship of Jelle Pelmulder: shares were sold and persons were authorized to buy land. They bought the land of Izak Van der Meer for the present location. Streets and alleys were laid out and the town was named “ Orange City .” This was in 1870. A. Lenderink was the first one to build a house in town, and he also became the builder of the first school building, contracted by Buncombe Township for $2,400 in bonds (value $.04 for every dollar).
1871 the townspeople (3 in all) had to travel 2 miles to buy their wares from the farm of T. Heemstra. In this year Hospers which was supplied with goods, and A. J. Betten served and clerk. He sold the goods for money and good words; mostly good words it is often said. That year the blacksmith Van Olst settled here who constructed a building that served for a house and smithy at the same time. It was built of sod and had a wooden roof. Very soon the amiable sounds of the hammer on the anvil was heard and the old smith is still working at present and is quite prosperous. Also Joost Vos built a shoe store and home under the same roof, and also installed in it a barber shop, where citizens can come on Saturday to be touched up. “Mother Mouw,” as she was affectionately called, had a hotel built. In the fall a beginning was made with a manse for the Reformed Church already organized and was completed by the next year. The population numbered 24 then.
In 1871 H. Hospers, T. J. Heemstra and still others built houses. The first mentioned built the first office building, in which a bank was begun; the Orange City Bank. Dr. E. O. Plumb settled here as medical doctor, J. J. Bell as lawyer. G. Rozeboom as second smith and G. Dingeman as second hotel keeper. The population had increased to almost 50 now.
In 1873 we saw other buildings go up: The store of W. Sleyster & C. Hospers, Pierce & Lewis' land office, the store of A. J. Betten (which was also used that year for County offices, since the county seat had been changed from Calliope to Orange City), A. K. Webb's law office, P. Ellerbroek's drug store, the residences of Mrs. W. Pas, Dr. Plumb, and many others. It also included the house of Dr. De Lespinasse, who settled here and whose son, (who is a doctor now) was the photographer. A modern church building was built. Because of criticism it was speedily changed into a residence, which was consumed by fire shortly after. W. B. Ray mond began the publishing of the Sioux County Herald, which was soon followed by a second one, the Homesteader.
The last mentioned changed into DE VOLKSVRIEND.
The growth of the town was retarded by the presence of the grasshoppers. Later, when this trial had passed, the progress went faster.
In 1875 the first church was built by O. Rouwenhorst.
The First ReFormed Church. (The following is information that the Elder H. A. De Haan wrote for us, after we had requested him to do so). “it was organized in the beginning of 1871 by the Rev. N. D. Williamson and the Elder N. Gesman, with 45 families. The following elders were elected: T. Heemstra, G. Van de Steeg and M. Verheul. The following deacons were elected: S. Sipma , J. Pelmulder and W. v. Rooyen. The Rev. S. Bolks from Zeeland , Michigan , was called by unanimous choice. Although people hardly dared to hope that he would accept it, he did accept the call and came here in April of 1872. His work was teacher, doctor and councilor and did not remain unblessed. The meeting place was the first school house.
“Since his health was precarious, the Rev. Bolks became emeritus in 1878, and the congregation called the Rev. Buursma who came here in May of 1879 and who served the congregation until July of 1889.
“From this congregation sprouted fourth the following congregations within a few years after organizing: Alton , Newkirk, Sioux Center , the American Reformed Church, Maurice, Hull , Middleburg, Boyden, Hospers and Rock Valley . These 10 churches all have their own ministers and manse.
“After the Rev. Buursma left, the congregation was served by Rev. H. Van der Ploeg from July 1890 until 1893, when he was taken from us by death.
“In November 1893, the Rev. Kolijn accepted his work here and is still fruitfully working here. So this little church with a few families has grown to a large tree with the subsequent arrivals of other families, which has spread its branches (with God's blessings) over the whole country. Truly, “this is from the Lord's hand, and is beautiful to behold.”
“The number of families of this congregation, who all belong to the Reformed Church in Sioux county, amounts to 1028; confessing members 1774 and baptized members 3423."
From the Rev. Breen we received the following information concerning the Christian Reformed Church.
“The Christian Reformed Church. This congregation was organized in the late 1871 with twelve families (fifty souls).
“Her first minister, the Rev. J. Stadt, began his labors on December 2, 1877 and served the congregation until July 7, 1884 . At the time the congregation numbered 45 families (200 souls).
“The Rev. J. Gulker, the second minister, began his service on October 5, 1884 , with 55 families (245 souls). Under his labors the congregation increased rapidly and when he left on November 5, 1890 the congregation had grown to the size of 90 families (500 souls)
“His successor, the Rev. E. Van den Berg ministered in the congregation from April 5, 1891 until October 29, 1893 . He saw that under his ministry the church grew from 100 families to 147 families. The number of souls climbed from 528 to 775.
Orange City Hall
Store of F. Slob
First Ref. Church with manse
“The Rev. E. Breen, the present minister, succeeded him on December 24, 1893 , and he is thankful for the steady growth of the congregation.
“At present she had 194 members (987 souls).
“The Lord has blessed her and with uplifted eyes she may look into the future with trust.”
The elder M. Rhynsburger reports the following about the American Reformed Church:
“The American Reformed Church was organized on April 17, 1885 .
“The need for an English speaking Congregation was felt and clearly read. Among the population of Orange City a considerable number of English speaking families were living. Also several Dutch families felt that, with their children's future in mind, they would prefer to speak English.
“The Rev. John A. De Spelder was especially interested in this, and he saw to it that the Iowa Classis appointed a committee to organize a congregation. This happened on the above mentioned date.
“The new congregation lead by Rev. Ale Buursma elected the following consistory: J. J. Van Zanten, Elder; J. M. Oggel, deacon.
“The first meeting of the consistory was held in the Court Room on May 15, 1885 . Arrangements were made for the holding of worship services, and they were able to obtain for that purpose the use of the Court Room for Sunday school and morning service, and the First Church at night.”
“The congregational meeting, held on May 23, unanimously called Prof. Jno. A. De Spelder to serve the new organization, which was accepted by him.
“On October 4,1885 the congregation received permission to use the room in the present City Hall, and the next the use of the second story.
“In July of 1887, the Rev. J. A. De Spelder was called to be their minister. He accepted the call. His ministry lasted until March of 1894 when he accepted a call in another field.
“The congregation grew and came into the possession of her own church building on January 25, 1889 .
“The congregation was organized with 23 members: the present membership numbers 97, The Rev. A. A. Zabriskie is her minister.”
And now we will pick up here again.
In that same year the beautiful Courthouse was built, and some other residences.
P. Pfanstiehl built a genuine Dutch windmill here. It has done much good, since the other mills were to far away. Hymen Den Hartog took it over late, and converted it into a steam roller mill, which burned down this summer (causing much damage to the owner).
D. v. d. Bosch & B. v. d. Aarde had the first hardware store: it was taken over by the present owner, A. Bolks.
Better buildings were being constructed all the time.
Jac. Versteeg & N. Snoek constructed a brick yard; fuel and labor were to high, however. In 1893 B. v. d. Aarde and others took over the enterprise, and at present it is doing well under the name of the Orange City Brick Yard Company.
To the factories of the past belongs the cheese factory of M. P. v. Oosterhout & C. Slotemaker, because of lack of support. In 1881 a second bank was opened: the Bank of Northwestern Iowa, by the firm of Pitts & Kessey in a building that burned down later (along with 4 other buildings); among others, the house of A. Lenderink. After that Pitts & Kessey put up a brick building for their bank, and the name changed to Northwester State Bank of Iowa , and it is still up to this day.
In 1882 the skating rink fever blew over here too, and a building was constructed of 40 by 100 ft., 2 stories high. This building was sold later to the Board of the N.W.C. Academy , and they sold it again, and at present it is the City Hall.
In that same year the Chicago & N.W. rail road was laid through town.
Since immigration continued another 160 acres were bought and laid out into lots, and many houses were built.
In 1883 Orange City was incorporated as a town. The commissioners appointed to this by a judge were Jelle Pelmulder, W. Sleyster, Jno. Kolvoord, W. H. Casady and the writer of this.
Since that time brick stores have been erected, in which a choice of many kinds of goods is to be found, which is often not found in towns twice as old as Orange City . Also an electric light plant was built by some of our citizens, so that many would be able to use electric light in their homes and stores. Also the streets are lighted now by electricity. This innovation cost $14,000. A year ago a Telephone company was built, so that Orange City has communication with most towns in the county and elsewhere as well.
Rev. S. Bolks
Rev. J.A. De Spelder
Rev. J.F. Zwemer
Christian Ref. Church
American Ref. Church