Showing posts with label Railroads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Railroads. Show all posts

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Milwaukee Railroad Comes to Jerome

The Daily Iowegian - 17 August 2006
By Bill Heusinkveld - Correspondent

  The Milwaukee Railroad came from Moravia and Mystic through the Jerome area in 1887. When it arrived there was already a thriving town. Some of the early settlers who came in the late 1840‚s and early 1850‚s to settle in the Jerome area were John Moore, William Becknel, Noah Stoner, C.R. Jackson, Henry Wilson, Peter Sidles and James Hagan.
  As soon as the early settlers constructed their houses, they began to establish a school and a church, thus starting a small village. Horace W. Lyon was an early merchant. Mr. Lyon was said not to have been popular in the community as many objected to his selling liquor in his store. However he had a blind son named Jerome who was very popular. The town Jerome was named for this son.
  The original town of Jerome was surveyed and platted in 1855. The east-west streets were named Main, Grand and Harrison. Mr. Lyon was the first postmaster of Jerome in 1856. A Methodist Church was organized in 1857 and services were held in homes until the construction of a school house. The first church was finished in 1871.
  The first school was known as School District No. 5. The site of 0.4 acre was purchased from Jacob Stoner for $10 in 1857. Mr. Stoner set aside three-fourths of an acre for a burial ground just to the west of the school at the same time. All of the early pioneers are buried in the south end of the plot. In 1883 the cemetery was enlarged with additional land deeded to the Jerome Cemetery by Benjamin Sedgewick. Most of the later burials are in the new section. It is a beautiful, well-maintained cemetery.
  The original school served until 1871, when a new school was built in the same location. One of the early teachers in this second building was Theodore P. Shontz, later internationally famous. After teaching at Jerome, he was graduated at Monmouth College, practiced law, and became interested in railroad building. He helped construct the Iowa Central Railroad and obtained controlling interest in the Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska road and the Toledo, St. Louis and Western road. His final achievement, for which he became famous, was to be the Chairman of the Panama Canal Commission in 1905-1907.
  When the railroad came through, a depot was added, The railroad called it Rowley, but the townspeople insisted that the name should remain Jerome. Several coal mines; the Big Four, Gladstone No.2 and Harkes Coal Co. provided much employment and caused a booming economy beginning in the late 1800s. A lumberyard, hotel, two-story Big-4 store, livery barn, and blacksmith shop were all built in the 1890‚s. They flourished for many years.
  In it its heydey, Jerome boasted a population of over 600 residents. There were two hotels, two boarding houses, a bank, a post office, two groceries, white elephant store, hardware store, clothing store, blacksmith shop, barber shop, shoe repair shop, a pool hall, a miners‚ hall, livery stable, lumber yard and stockyards. There was a public square with hitching posts and bandstand just north of Grand Street. There were several medical doctors.
  The third school building was built in 1894 due to the need for a larger school. Jerome‚s population had increased because of all the coal mining activity. It burned in 1920. The fourth school was a new brick building. It was also destroyed by fire in 1931. A fifth building was built. It was a large two-story building just east of the cemetery. A modern water system was installed and it was wired for electricity in 1936.
  The coal mining era ended in Jerome in about 1923 and the town‚s commercial life gradually deteriorated until all stores are now gone. The high school was closed about 1943 and the elementary grades soon after that. The building stood for a long time, neglected and lonely, but with fond memories. Only the Church and a small number of houses maintain the semblance of a town.
  The Jerome Methodist Church, which had been organized in 1855, carried on for over 100 years and held periodic re-unions through the years so that former members could fondly re-visit their old home town.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cost of Railroads

  From the North American and United States Gazette of Philadelphia, 2 June 1871:
  The following is given by the Centerville Citizen as a statement of the cost of railroad building in Iowa:  "The rails used on C. & S. W. Railroad are 24 feet in length, weigh 448 pounds, and cost, delivered here, a little over 4 cents a pound, or $18 a rail; 440 rails costing $7,929; 440 joints, costing $170; 40 kegs of spikes at $38 per keg, or 4 cents for each spike; 2,500 ties at 50 cents each, $1,250, are required in making one mile of track.  This, with $425 for laying it, makes a total of $10,986, exclusive of right of way, grading, bridges, and cattle guards.  In some parts of the county the grading cost as high as $9,000 a mile.  The construction of thirty miles of road through Appanoose County cost over $500,000. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Memories of Jerome, Iowa - Part VI - Railroads and Coal Mines

  In 1886 the Chicago and Milwaukee railroad purchased right-of-way through Lincoln township for construction of a road.  In the early part of 1887 the first train passed over this road through Jerome.  Many farmers gave land for this right-of-way and Peter Sidles, Sr. gave land for the depot providing they would locate a depot here.  The railway company called the town Rowley and painted that name on the station, but the towns people would not accept the name and it was soon dropped in favor of Jerome.  
  Soon after the railroad passed through the community, William Oughten and William Meyers purchased a mining site and coal lease from James Buck and Peter Sidles, Sr., and sank the Big-4 Mine.  This was completed in the fall of 1892.  They operated the mine for some time and then sold it to the Consumers Coal Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  This company operated the mine until the Harkes Coal Company of Kansas City, Mo., purchased it in 1912.  Shortly after this the mine reached peak production, nearly 250 tons daily.  It was worked until 1923 when it was abandoned due to the high cost of production.
  In 1892 a coal lease was purchased west of Jerome by the Big Block Company and this company sunk a mine known as No. 2.  In 1894-95 this mine reached its height of production which was 130 tons daily.  The life of this mine was very short for soon after its opening a fault was struck and other suitable coal property could not be leased.  The operator was a man by the name of Peter Marsden.
  The United Mine Workers of America was organized in Jerome in the fall of 1898.  It was continued here for many years and as the mines were discontinued the miners took their memberships to other places.
 [From Memories of Jerome, Iowa, 1989 published for the 1989 Jerome Reunion.]