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to dairying and stock raising, thus varying the products of the soil
, and that, too, in a most desirable manner. In this connection the new system of butter making has added greatly to the dairy products, as our dairy butter commands the very highest price in the eastern markets.
The Ice Cave Creamery, located in the eastern part of the city, and owned and operated by Wm. Beard & Sons, was the pioneer in the creamery movement in this county. It collects cream from farms nearly all over the county, having within this past year established branch creameries at Fort Atkinson and Hesper. The Ice Cave Creamery, of Decorah, which is the largest of the trio, is in itself the largest in the state, and in the world. It is operated by steam, and has systematic machinery for operating it both summer and winter. The total product of the Ice Cave Creamery for sixty days, commeucing June 3, 1882, was 192,361 pounds of butter, being on an average of 3,206 pounds a day. The largest product for one day was 4,955 pounds on July 13th, and the next largest 4,870 pounds.
Another creamery, known as Decorah Creamery, has been established in Decorah the present season. It is located in the Klein brewery building across the river in the northern part of the city. It is operated by P. S. Smout, and power furnished from the large spring at Spring Mill, just beyond it.
Pure cold water is furnished from an in mense spring that flows into the building, and underground vaults leading from the creamery into the bluff, make it admirably adapted for creamery purposes. Nearly 1,000 pounds of butter are made per day by this creamery.
This creamery business has caused further development of the inventive genius of P. S. Smout, of Decorah, who produced his patent refrigerant milk can, which is adapted to private dairies as well as for those who sell cream to the creameries. It is meeting with immense sale through this and other states. The result has been the building up of a large manufacturing business by Smout & Hoy, in Decorah, principally to manufacture these cans, and incidentally for the making of Smout's cream carriers.
The abundant supply of excellent stone for building purposes to be found in our quarries has been a matter of local knowledge for years, and stones that have been used in our business blocks for twenty-four years, still have the marks of the chisel as plain as when they were hewn, and show no sign of perishability. But it was not until very recently that public attention was called to our mineral treasure. Within the past year many car-loads have been shipped to different points by D. B. Ellsworth and others; and now Norman Willett, son of Judge G. R. Willett, having purchased Chase & Pinkham's quarry and works, and thirty acres of land, including the old Spring Mill on the north side of the river, and leased some other quarries, is putting in extensive stone and sawing machinery which will be run by the water power above the mill-formerly Dunning's Mill-which will run a gang of thirty saws which will cut a block of stone ten feet long and about five and a half feet wide and thick at the rate of 4 to 6 inches per hour. Other quarries will be more extensively worked and as the railroad track, as elsewhere referred to, is to be extended to the quarries, this source of wealth and prosperity to the city will be very great, as the supply is inexhaustible. Experts who have examined it pronounce it even superior to the famed Anamosa stone in solidity and durability; and, as to the color of our stone, it is durable and lasting. For decorative purposes the Decorah stone is far superior. It will take on the highest possible polish-which the Anamosa stone will not. Its fossil ledges, which are abundant, are wonderful, and marvelously beautiful. They are rich masses of fossilized animal life in past ages of the world. Prof. Gunning, of Boston, one of the best geologists of the day, says that nowhere in the United States is there to be found a stone that equals these fossil ledges in revelations given of the past. For intrinsic beauty he places it above the famous red stone of California--perhaps the most costly material used by artists for decorative purposes.
A slab of this stone can be seen at the stamp window of the Decorah postoffie. Other more beautiful specimens have been made into paper weights and other ornaments, and into table tops and books—and what a volume of un-. written history these books contain-by M. Steyer, W. H. Spencer, and other workers in stone in Decoraħ. Prof. E. C. Kilbourne in his short stay here,was enthusiastic over the treasures not only found in quarries, but in the pavements on which we tread, and the ditches along the streets. He gathered and polished a splendid collection of rare mineral beauties, some of them small, rare and exquisite enough for settings for pins or watch charms; others perfectly formed fossils of which geology tells us; and still others that were masses of various remains which, the rubbish being removed, stood out in wonderful distinctness and perfectness.
The subject is almost inexhaustible. But enough has been said; suffice it that utility, durability and beauty exist in the highest degree in this stone, and its development is but just commencing
The railroad history of Decorah has been given in that of the county in a preceding chapter. Ever since the completion of the branch of the C. M. & St. P. road from Conover to Decorah, in September, 1869, its business has far exceeded expectations. It is suggested by those who are supposed to know, that these nine miles
pay far better than any other nine miles on the road. The three elevators at Decorah have done a very large business, receipts at times being nearly ten thousand bushels per day. And though the partial change from grain to stock raising and dairying has correspondin gly changed the character of shipments, those
from Decorah for July and August, 1882, will compare favorably with the enormous wheat shipments seven or eight years ago, and outstrip any year since that time. But be it remembered that the difference in value between butter and beef cattle, and the same bulk in wheat, is greatly in favor of the former. The last day's shipments from Decorah of which we have record at the time of writing, consisted of ten cars, and none of them live stock.
Since the above was sent to the printer, ground has been purchased and a handsome passenger depot will be speedily built on Water street, just as it reaches Dry Run. It will closely adjoin the business part of the city and be less than two squares from the Winneshiek House and Opera House. The old passenger depot will be used for freight. Work is rapidly progressing on the extension of the track of the C. M. & St. P. Railway down to the Greer & Hunter mill, and will be.completed this fall; a side track will also probably be laid to the stone quarries this season.
In our county history a reference is made to the extension of the Postville branch of the B. C. R. & N. Railway to Decorah. Work upon that extension has been commenced, and though the time given for its completion in the voting of a five per cent tax by Decorah does not expire till September, 1883, the road
be finished to Decorah before the close of this season; and it means not only another line to the south and east, but also an extension northward to another connection with St. Paul, uniting the lumber regions with the coal regions of Iowa.
The Citizens' Association, designed to promote the interests of the city and county, was organized in Decorah early in 1882. The Chicago, Decorah and Minnesota Railway Co., was an outgrowth of the above association; and its purpose to secure additional railroad facilities seems in a fair way to speedy accomplishment.
There is also a well-founded belief that the C. M. & St. P. Railway will continue their road from Waukon to Decorah on their road-bed already graded, and thus secure another outlet for the northern and western roads which meet at Calmar, and avoid the heavy grade between Calmar and McGregor, even if this road does not also build another extension northward from Decorah.
The business of the C. M. & St. P. Railway at Decorah is in charge of F. H. Merrill, a capable and popular official.
The dray and omnibus line is well conducted by Greer & Protheroe, successors to Jamieson & Greer--Bob Jamieson, the popular old-time conductor on the branch having removed to fields further west. They run the omnibus for the Winneshiek House, while the St. Cloud has an omnibus of its own.
The United States Express Co. has an office which was for vears in charge of Albert Fewell, an excellent officer, who resigned on account of ill-health, and now lives on his suburban farm, just south of the city. His place is capably filled by I. N. Morrill, an experienced express man.
A fair indication of the growth of Decorah is its post-office business, which is steadily on the increase. Let us look at it for the past four years.
The total receipts of the office each year, exclusive of the money order business were: 1878, $6,102.74; 1879,. $6,467.76; 1880, $6,762.45; 1881, $6,810.92.
For the first half of 1882 the business amounted to $3,963.55, and the business for the last half of the year will be larger, so that the total receipts of 1882 will probably exceed $8,000.
The paper mill of J. R. Booth, of Decorah, located at Freeport, in Decorah Township, can be reckoned as a Decorah institution. It was originally started by the Winneshiek Paper Co., and was afterward operated by Henry H. Horn, and by Henry Paine. It was purchased in the spring of 1880 by J. R. Booth, an experienced and successful manufacturer, and is doing a large business. The mill is run by water power from the Upper Iowa River, and employs twenty hands. Its product is straw wrapping paper, of which it is making a nice article. It manufactures about three and a half tons of paper per day, and consumes from 1500 to 1800 tons of straw per year. It is an important branch of manufacture to the people, as well as to our business interests. The paper
mill is connected with Decorah by telephone. The Decorah Packing House, originally built by G. F. Francis, who has done much to build up Decorah, in residences as well as business houses, has of late been operated by a stock company. It does a large business and is a source of wealth to the city and county, besides a convenience to the people in improving the market for hogs. Mr. Francis still makes Decorah his family home, though now absent in Dakota during the summer and fall.
In stock raising, Winneshiek County is rapidly advancing to the front. The collection of cattle at the recent county fair in Decorah, was a superb one. Herds from this county also won the first premiums at fairs in adjacent counties, as well as at the Minneapolis Exposition. Decorah is represented in this line by Samuel Aiken's stock farm and magnificent herd of Holsteins; by the Hesper Stock Farm, by Geo. Q. Gardner, of Decorah, and by other smaller herds.
The Decorah Driving Park, with large grounds, on which are held the annual fairs of the County Agricultural Society, has a fine and well used track. Thanks to the enterprise of C. Č. Bates.
The extensive seed and hide store of N. H. Adams, present County Treasurer, does a very large business purchasing products from a large territory, extending into adjoining counties.
Jas. Alex. Leonard, a comparatively new comer, and proprietor of an extensive book store, news stand, and circulating library, has shown his faith in the city by buying his store building, the one adjoining it on the south, and a pleasant residence on Broadway.
Among the jewelry firms is the old resident, S. T. Wilson, who keeps an excellent eating house and fruit stand.
The Decorah Green House, near the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul depot, a well-kept establishment with a choice and extensive collection of flowers and plants, is a bower of beauty as well as a great convenience to the people here and in surrounding towns.
Decorah has had her fires, but of late years destructive ones have been very rare.
A prominent one was on what has become noted as Ben. Bear's corner. The old Adams building on the southwest corner of Water and Winnebago streets, was destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Day, 1877, and Ben. Bear, who came here in 1876, was burnt out as well as some other smaller establishments mentioned in chronological history. The fine new Adams block of brick and stone was erected in 1878, and in November of that year Ben. Bear re-occupied it with a very heavy stock of clothing and furnishing goods. His business has continued to steadily increase each successive year.
Space will not permit mention of the numerous business houses of Decorah, but we will enumerate a few old established firms and recent changes to which the attention of the historian has been called: The "Pioneer Store' of C. N. Goddard, referred to elsewhere; the old dry goods houses of Oleson & Thompson, S. W. Landers & Son, McHenry & Allison; and L. F. Nelson, general merchant, who has recently erected a new building; and formerly, the dry goods firms of Boyce & Wilson, R. F. Gibson, now justice of the peace, and some others who have retired from business, their places being supplied by K. I. Hangen, P. H. Whalen, Iver Larsen, Lee & Johnson, and others. In grocery stores, George Pennington, continues the old establishment of Pennington & Fewell. D. B. Dennis is "still on Deck." P. J. Enright holds the fort. B. Holcomb & Son occupy the old Ammon & Scott store, and numerous other grocers and general merchants keep the people from starving. B. 0. Dahly, who moved up from Freeport and established the Emporium of Fashion for the ladies, still keeps up his large establishment. Among the liverymen John Curtin continues worthy of the old reputation of Curtin Bros.'Stable, his brother and partner, M. Curtin, having died the present year. Among the comparative new-comers is A. W. Hayward, who occupies the Boyce & Wilson store, Mr. Wilson still residing here. Mr. Hayward has the finest and largest store in this part of the country. W. L. Easton continues active as proprietor of the Opera House Clothing Store and merchant tailoring establishment, and J. H. Mackenstadt is still kept busy with custom work at his old stand. The Day brothers, first settlers of Decorah, have an extensive lumber yard, and E. J. Riley superintends another for the Flemming Bros., of McGregor. The old hardware firm of Ruth Bros. still exists, and that of Finn Bros. is continued by Finn & Noble, while the Gulickson hardware store.