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first and for a long time the only one in town. Barnard Hall was finished off in the winter of '69–70. The first drug store was that of R. C. Armstrong, and stood on the corner opposite and north of the Presbyterian church. It was moved "down town" in later years, and occupies the southeast corner of Main and West streets. In 1859 this same Armstrong put up the first brick huuse in the village, on the north side of Main street, in his addition. The first brick stores were erected by Robbins Bros. and Adams & Hale, on the corner of Main and Allamakee, in 1869. The large frame building now occupied by the marble shop was put up by Shattuck and Woodcock in 1859, on the corner where Boomer's Opera House now stands. Barnard and Hersey's store was built in 1867.
On the 9th of May, 1857, several of the prominent citizens of Lansing adopted articles of incorporation of the “Lansing, Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota R: R. Co.,'' to build a railroad to the state line, towards the south bend of the St. Peters river in Minnesota, with a capital of $4,000,000. Not to be outdone, Waukon proceeded to organize the “ Prairie du Chien & Mankato R. R. Co.," with a capital of $5,000,000, the articles of incorporation of which were signed at Waterville, Oct. 15, 1857, by Scott Shattuck, F. Belfoy, Wm. F. Ross, W. H. Morrison, J. Beebe, N. A. Beebe, Col. J. Spooner, W. W. Hungerford, Geo. E. Woodward and L. T. Woodcock. The board of directors for the first year consisted of John T. Clark, William H. Morrison, J. Spooner, Francis Belfoy, Geo. E. Woodword, N. A. Beebe, William F. Ross, William W. Hungerford, A. B. Webber, J. T. Atkins, H. L. Douseman, Albert L. Collins, and T. R. Perry; and the officers were: John T. Clark, president; Francis Belfoy, secretary; W.W. Hungerford, treasurer, and Geo. E. Woodward, chief engineer. The last mentioned has since become an architect of more than national reputation. Books were opened for the subscription of stock, and the line was surveyed that fall through Winneshiek and Mitchell counties to the state line, commencing at the mouth of Paint creek.
We find a record of Oct. 20th, 1858, when the second annual meeting of the board of directors was held in the office of the company here. That meeting was largely attended and very enthusiastic. Every county along the line was represented. Over $14,000 stock was subscribed on that day. Letters were read from distinguished railroad men in Wisconsin and Minnesota, all speaking unqualifiedly of the Paint creek route as the very best west from the Mississippi in northern Iowa, and predicting its completion at an early day. For the second year J. T. Atkins was president; N. A. Beebe, vice-president; Hungerford, secretary, and J. T. Clark, treasurer and attorney.
April 27, '59, a delegation from Waukon attended an enthusiastic railroad meeting at Prairie du Chien, and were met at Johnsonsport by the ferry boat and brass band from that town. But it was all of no use. The Bloody Run route west from McGregor was eventually adopted, and our town drank to the dregs the cup of disappointment. All hope was not abandoned, however, and April 15, 1862, the Prairie du Chien and Austin R. R. Co." was incorporated. This also came to naught, and Feb. 4, '63, was organized the “ Prairie du Chien and Cedar Valley R. R. Co.," which resulted as had the others.
In 1871 the B., C. R. & M. road was extending up towards Postville, with the intention, as stated in railroad meetings at Independence and elsewhere, of extending on northeast by way of Waukon to the river. This gave new hope, only to be followed by disappointment again. Then Judge Williams' narrow gauge enterprise was planned and partially executed. Propositions were made to Waukon in 1872 for a branch to this place. We accepted, and did our full part, by way of voting aid, subscriptions, surveying, etc., till the eastern financial end of it collapsed, causing an abandonment of the project, but not until several lines were surveyed to Waukon from the Iowa Eastern, by way of Monona and Postville.
Waukon had become used to disappointments by this time, and the subject was pretty much at rest till the fall of 1874. Then Lansing began to agitate the county seat question again. This was the one thing needed to rouse our citizens to action, and they took hold of the matter in earnest. After considerable talk and canvassing of the matter, articles of incorpora tion of the Waukon and Mississippi R. R. Co. were adopted, with the following incorporators: W. C. Earle, A. E. Robbins, C. Paulk, Jacob Plank, H. $. Cooper, John_Goodykoontz, P. G. Wright, C. Barnard, H. G. Grattan, Jeptha Beebe, C. 0. Howard, G. P. Eells, H. H. Stilwell, C. W. Jenkins, G. M. Dean, F. M. Clark, C. S. Stilwell, J. W. Pratt, L. Howes, J. A. Tow jsend, and James Duffy. Until the first election by the stockholders, the officers consisted of C.D. Beeman, president; H. S. Cooper, vice-president; C. S. Stilwell, secretary, and John Goodykoontz, treasurer. At the annual meeting of the stockholders, April 6th, officers for the ensuing year were elected as follows: D. W. Adams, president; C. D. Beeman, vice-president; Martin Stone, secretary; L. W. Hersey, treasurer; and G. W. Stoddard, W. C. Earle, Jas. Holahan, H.G. Grattan, H. H. Stilwell, and Fred. Hager, directors.
The directors authorized a survey as soon as possible, which was begun April 19, 1875, and completed May 21, under the direction of D. W. Adams, J. H. Hale, and J. W. Earl.' Meanwhile a committee had been at work since January securing the right of way. May 22, payment of accrued claims was provided for. Contracts for grading were let May 28th, and about the first of June dirt
began to Ay, high hope being entertained of the completion of the road that fall. The grading was completed late that summer, many of the bridges put in, and ties got out ready for the rail. It was at first the intention to lay a hard wood rail, but at a meeting August 25th, iron was decided upon. In December an attempt was made_to negotiate a loan, which failed, as did a similar attempt in January '76. The difficulty was not so much in securing the money wherewith to purchase the iron, as in obtaining it on such terms as would save the road to the stock-holders and not make it necessary that it should pass from their control. Efforts to this end were continually being made. At the general meeting in April, 1876, the old officers and directors were re-elected. Up to April 1st the sum of $33,533.57 had actually been collected on stock subscriptions. March 15th a law was passed by the General Assembly permitting townships and incorporations to aid in the construction of railroads, and in accordance therewith an election was held in Makee township April 26th, at which a five per cent. tax was voted by 342 to 101. Union Prairie township voted a three per cent tax May 17th, by 113 to 51; but aid was refused by Ludlow May 19, where a three per cent. tax was asked, by Jefferson May 22 (the same), and by Harover May 25, where only a two per cent. tax was called for.
June 10th, 1876, the W. & M. R. R. Security Co. was organized for the purpose of devising means for completing the road, but was dissolved Sept. 19th, the securities furnished by the members being returned to them. Sept. 19th, 1876, the W. & M. R. R. Guarantee Co. was organized, for the purpose of completing, equipping, maintaining and operating said railroad. The corporators were: Dudley W. Adams, i. W. Hersey, Holahan & Buggy, J. W. Pratt, A. Hersey, Henry Dayton, E. K. Spencer, W.C. Earle, A. J. Hersey, A. E. Robbins, A. Plubiska, C. W. Jenkins, C. D. Beeman, H. G. Grattan, H. H. Stilwell, Low & Stillman, John A. Taggart, J. H. Hale, Lewis Reid, Azel Pratt. And the officers: D. W. Adams, Prest., C. D. Beeman, Vice P., J. W. Pratt, Sec'y, L. W. Hersey, Treas., H. G. Grattan Auditor. The assets of the W. & M. R. Ř. Co. were leased to the Guarantee Co. for a number of years for the purpose indicated. In December the iron was contracted for in Milwaukee, upon favorable terms; and an order was made to enforce the collection of delinquent stock.
At the annual meeting of the original railroad company in April, '77, the following were elected: D. W. Adams, Prest., C. D. Beeman, Vice Prest., H. G. Grattan, Sec'y, L. W. Hersey, Treas., and Jas. Holahan, Conrad Helming, W. C. Earle, H. H. Stilwell and C. W. Jenkins, directors. June 30th J. H. Hale was elected chief civil engineer. July 27th H. G. Grattan resigned as auditor and Jas. Holahan was elected. Sept. 3d, at the annual election of officers of the Guarantee Co., D. W. Adams was re-elected Prest., A. E. Robbins Vice Prest., J. W. Pratt Sec'y, L. W. Hersey
Treas., and Jas. Holahan, Auditor. H. H. Stillwell was attorney for the company, and D. W. Adams Gen'l. Supt. of the road. E. B. Gibbbs was secured as station agent at this place.
In July, 1877, first mortgage bonds were issued to the amount of about $30,000, and taken by Messrs. Fairbank, Bradley and Parks, of Massachusetts, interest eight per cent. payable semi-annually. And a short loan of $15,000 was secured from J. H. Fairbank of Winchendon, Mass., ample real estate security being given. The rolling stock was purchased the latter part of that month, and the delivery of iron began early in August. Track laying began September 4th; the locomotive was received September 11th; reached Waterville, nine miles, September 25th; and on October 27th, fifty-three days from the time the first rail was laid, the track was completed, twenty-three miles, to Waukon.
Thus, after twenty years of disappointments, hoping, waiting, and working, Waukon became a railroad town, with a road of her own building. Just twenty years to a month from the time of the first railroad survey up Paint creek valley, a road was completed over that route; and this village and vicinity entered upon a new era of prosperity. It was entirely independent of any other road or corporation, the people of Waukon having struggled through with the enterprise without a dollar of assistance from outside parties. At the time of its completion the rolling stock of the road comprised one twelve-ton locomotive, sixteen box cars, five flats, and one passenger. The cost of the road and its equipments amounted to about $121,000, or nearly $5,300 per mile, and its total debt was about $50,000, bonded for five years. No great splurge or celebration was indulged in, but on the day of its completion an impromptu affair was gotten up for the entertainment of the people who happened to be in town, and the railroad employes in particular, from an account of which in the Standard we quote as follows:
"On Saturday, October 27, 1877, at 3 o'clock P. m., the engine Union Prairie' rolled up to the platform of the Waukon depot, Thos. Clyde, engineer; 0. H. Bunnell, fireman, and Henry Lear, conductor. For the preceding few days as the end of the track approached town the number of visitors had constantly increased, until on this day a large crowd of people, consisting largely of ladies, were assembled at the depot and below to witness the last of the track-laying, and get a sight at the first appearance of our locomotive. When the train reached the depot platform the flat cars were soon crowded to their fullest standing room, chiefly by the ladies and children, and the Waukon band played a joyous strain in welcome. At this point in the proceedings everybody stood still until the camera had secured a photograph of the lively scene for all to look at and laugh over ture years; after which the first passenger train,' consisting of five flats, densely packed, ran down the road a couple of miles,
with the band playing on the front car, and soon returned with whistle sounding, amid some enthusiasm and considerable amusement.
At 5 o'clock, headed by the band, the hands repaired to Barnard Hall, which had been decorated with flags, as also had most of the buildings in the business part of town. Here, to the number of about sixty, they were treated to a bountiful hot supper, and all the delicacies of the table which the ladies of Waukon so excel in providing, served by the ladies themselves. After them, the public generally fell to and did full justice to the repast, but so amply had the ladies provided for sixty or eighty railroad hands that, it is estimated, some 500 people in all were served with supper at the hall, free. * After supper the floor wascl eared, and those so disposed participated in a social dance.
There were in town during the day an unusual number of people, although no public announcement of any demonstration had been made.'
The American Express Co. began doing business over this line in December, and the road began carrying the mails Feb. 11, 1878. April 2, '78, the annual election resulted: D. W. Adams, president; H. G. Grattan, vice-president; L. W. Hersey, secretary; C. D. Beeman, treasurer; Jas. Holahan, Henry Dayton, W. C. Earle, C. Helming, and C. W. Jenkins, directors.
In September, '78, James F. Joy, of railroad fame, came on, and after looking over the ground, purchased a controlling interest, of stockholders here, the officers of_the Guarantee Co. being succeeded by J. F. Joy, president; F. 0. Wyatt, vice-president and general manager; C. M. Carter, treasurer; H. H. Stilwell, secretary; and the road passed into the same management as the river road, with a prospect of being pushed through into Minnesota. The officers of the old original company resigned and were succeeded by F. 0. Wyatt, pres.; W.J. Knight, vice-pres.; C. M. Carter, treas.; H. H. Stilwell, sec'y; and Frank Adams, S. A. Wolcott, J. F. Joy, L. W. Hersey and A. E. Robbins, directors. That fall and winter a party of surveyors ran a line for a proposed extension northwest into Minnesota, and also preliminary surveys toward Decorah, which city in August, '79, voted a four per cent. tax in aid of an extension to that place, via Frankville. That route having been abandoned, grading was begun on the line down Coon creek, and in October Decorah voted a tax to aid in its extension, and the work of grading was prosecuted vigorously. Nov. 6, 1879, Waukon was put in communication with the world by telegraph.
In the spring of 1880 the work of grading for the extension was resumed, the piers erected for four iron bridges across the Iowa river, and several miles of track laid, when, in May, the line passed into the hands of the C., M. & St. P. R. R. Co., along with the C. C. D. & M., of which it was a feeder. Work on the extension, however, did not cease until early in July, when the track had almost reached the Iowa.