History of Odebolt, Iowa

Odebolt History Pages

Odebolt Stockyards

This photo was found on an online auction site and is one that neither of our editors had seen before. It appears to be looking toward the northwest, and I believe you can see North Main houses on the far upper right.The photographer was James Traver (see bio below). Traver must have climbed up an elevator to get the shot!

Before graveled roads and stock trucks, farmers had to herd their livestock to the stockyards in Odebolt where they would be fenced in while waiting to load onto train cars bound for Sioux City, Chicago, or other destinations.  In the early days farmers shipping to Chicago rode along with the cattle to make sure they were watered, fed, and not left on a side track to freeze or overheat.  There are lots of news bits in the old papers about shipping by train.


The Chronicle, Thursday, February 26th, 1903
The railroad figures show that more grain and stock are shipped from Odebolt than from any town in Iowa of 2,000 population. 

The Chronicle, Thursday, April 8, 1915.
W.H. Horan shipped a car load of horses, containing twenty-two head to Sioux City Tuesday. The horses were bought for war purposes in Europe.

A number of cars of stock were shipped out the past week. F.J. Gilbert shipped one car of cattle and one mixed car, cattle and hogs; J.C. Gosch, one car of hogs; Allie Paul, one car of hogs; John and Henry Meyer one car of cattle; S. V. Buehler, one car of sheep - all to Chicago. Herman Reis shipped one car of cattle to Pilger, Nebr.; W.H. McWilliams shipped in one car of feeders from Sioux City.

The Odebolt News, Thursday, February 14, 1918
Dave Huston and James Scotthorn and John Luft each shipped a car of cattle to Chicago Saturday. Huston and Luft accompanied the shipment to the city

About the photographer:

James Traver was born at Logansville, Wisconsin, March 2, 1864. In 1883 he came to Sac County where he married a cousin, Miss Harriet Traver of Odebolt. The young couple moved to the Dakotas, and in 1887 returned to Odebolt, They had one son, James Traver, Jr.  Mrs. Traver died in 1898. Later in 1898 James Traver married Miss Etta Ballard of Odebolt. Mr. Traver conducted a barber shop in Odebolt for some time and was also night watchman. About 1911 the Travers moved to Webster City where James opened a photography studio and became one of  the town's leading photographers. He passed away suddenly on August 31, 1925 and is buried in Odebolt Cemetery.

Also see:
The Odebolt Chronicle, Volume 64, Number 6, February 7, 1952

Landmark Razed--Old Water Tower Is Torn Down in Railroad Yards 


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