Town Hall and Post Office

Town Hall, Post Office and Rural Mail Routes 

Town Council Built First Hall in Early Year

(Source:  "Fifty Years of Progress"; The Odebolt Chronicle, 
Vol. 51, Number 31, Thursday, August 25, 1938)

The officers of the town realized soon after their organization that it would be advisable for them to get a permanent location for their meetings, as well as a place to keep their records.

In February 1879, the council rented a room from Jesse Helsell to be used as council rooms and for the mayor’s office.  The rent was four dollars per month on this first location.

(From the Odebolt Observer, March 30, 1881 -  After the first of April, Mayor Ross will have his office in the room over the City Drug Store, on Main street--a pleasant location.  In this room also will be the office of Messrs. Ross & Huson, insurance agents, who besides that of fire, are working up a good business in the Home Life Association, of Burlington, which though as yet a new company, is fast winning its way to popular favor.)

A few years later a frame building was constructed on the site of the present town hall.  The fire equipment was kept in the old building and served the same purposes that the present building does, only in a very meager way.

The present town hall was constructed during the year 1911.  At this time William Graham was mayor.  Due to the energy and foresight of Mayor Graham and his council, Odebolt now has this fine structure.

The building is one story high, with a basement of ornamental design.  It is built of Kansas City buff brick and trimmed with Bedford stone.  The entire cost of the building was $7,907.85 divided as follows:  Building, $6,600; heating plant and plumbing, $1,100; and furniture, $297.85.

 All of the fire equipment is kept in a room 22 x 70 feet, on the east side of the building.  The interior is spacious, containing separate rooms for the fire department as well as a council chamber.  A large safe is built in the wall of the council chamber where all the town records may be kept on hand in a convenient place.


Mayors of the Odebolt

Ross, James 1878-1879 Iverson, Harry 1944-1948
Fairbanks, J.W. 1879-1882 Taylor, Irwin 1948-1954
Helsell, J. 1882-1883 Iverson, Harry 1954-1955
Stanfield, W.W. 1883-1884 Sommers, Harry 1956-1959
Ketterer, J.H.  1884-1885 Iverson, Harry 1960-1961
Motie, F.P. 1885-1887 Rex, Ronald J. 1962-1965
Graham, Wm. 1887-1889 Iverson, Harry Jan. 1966
Miller, C.M. 1889-1895 Johnson, Willard 1966-1969
Reynolds, J.A. 1895-1902 Dobson, David Jan. 1970-June, 1970
Motie, F.P. 1905-1907 Frey, William 1970-1972
Graham, Wm. 1907-1912 McCall, Norris Jan 1972-April 1972
Selby, S.D.. 1912-1916 Frey, William April 1972
Chandler, A.L. 1916-1918 Johnson, Willard 1972-1973
Hanson, Henry 1918-1922 Hilburn, George 1974-1978
Walters, A.W. 1922-1923 Carnine, Robert 1978-1985
Selby, S.D. 1923-1924 Kirkpatrick, E.F. 1986-1988
Roche, John J. 1924-1926 Miller, Robert 1988-1989
Einspahr, J.E. 1926-1928 Carnine, Robert  1990-1993
Selby, John 1928-1934 Bensley, John R. 1994-1997
Hanson, Carl 1934-1937 Bensley, John R.  1998-2000
Beck, Leo 1937-1944 Rex, Ronald J. 2000 to 2013
    Hemphill, Robert (Butch) 2014 to October 2015
    Hoefling, Michael November 2015

Post Office Was Established Here at an Early Date

(Source:  "Fifty Years of Progress"; The Odebolt Chronicle,
Vol. 51, Number 31, Thursday, August 25, 1938)

The first post office in the Odebolt area.  
It was still standing in 1938 as the caption states

 The post office of Odebolt was established before the town was incorporated, and in 1880 was made a presidential appointment, the only office of the kind in the county and the only one on the Maple River railroad.  Since that time it has progressed to a second class office offering excellent mail service.

According to those who are able to recall, the first post office was established in 1877.  It was in a frame building where the Mattes building now stands.  At the time the brick building was erected in 1881 the office was temporarily moved to where the bakery is now located.  As soon as the new building was completed the post office was again housed on the original location. The office rooms were later located where D. K. Bryant (1938) now has his dental office.

In 1928, the office was moved to its present location which offers a more adequate and desirable place…. 

(The location was in the building to the west of the alley on the south side of second street.
The Mattes Building is on the left, with the Post office to the right by the alley.)

First Mail Route Established in 1901

(Source:  "Fifty Years of Progress"; The Odebolt Chronicle, 
Vol. 51, Number 31, Thursday, August 25, 1938)

Through the efforts of such men as Senator Joseph Mattes, rural free delivery mail routes were established at an early date in the territory of Odebolt.  A petition  was made in February 1901, and in October of the same year word was received that the first rural route would be in operation the following year.  This first route ran north to H.A. Kluckhohn’s corner, west one mile to the Mandernach school house, north four miles to the Reuber school house, east two miles to the Falconer school house, south three miles to the German M.E. church, west one mile, north one mile, east two miles to the August Dannenberg corner, south two miles to Albert Davenport’s corner, east one mile to the Correll school house and south two miles to the Ady school house east of Odebolt.

mail_harding_a_b.jpg (65404 bytes)
Click photo to enlarge
A. B. Harding delivering mail

A.B. Harding, who is now a resident of Odebolt (1938) was the first rural mail carrier.  At present three routes run out of the local post office covering an approximate mileage of 90 miles.  J.H. Hansen, Otto Wegener and Russell Kennedy are the regular carriers.  Mrs. Esther Larson is substitute carrier.

Rural Mail Carriers

from "As Time Goes By", 1877-1977 Odebolt, Iowa Centennial book, 
printed by The Odebolt Chronicle, May 1977 

A. B. Harding (1901)
J.H. Hanson
Otto Wegener
Russell Kennedy (over 30 years)
Lyle Gronemeyer
Frank Mattes
Earl Rex
Roland Talcot (of Kiron)
Mrs. Esther Larson (substituted)
Norman Oxendale, subs.
Niles Meltesen, subs.
Darrell Noll (Arthur) subs.



The following have served as postmasters:  Ward Van Duesen, F.R. Bennett, F.P. Motie, Walter E. Matthews, Mrs. Walter E. Matthews, W. W. Shanks, W. N. Oursler, John R. Mattes, O.W. Larson and Earle F. Rex.

The present (1938) force consists of Earle F. Rex, postmaster; H.E. McBride and J.C. Barkley, regular clerks, and Wayne Stratton, substitute.


Horan Hauled Mail From Denison in Many Years Ago
Roads were Merely Worn Paths Across the Prairie

(Source:  "Fifty Years of Progress"; The Odebolt Chronicle,
 Vol. 51, Number 31, Thursday, August 25, 1938)

One of the men of this locality who has seen the community grow and develop from the early days is W.H. Horan, who resides at the west edge of town.  Mr. Horan's father began in the livery barn business in the very early days of Odebolt.  In connection with the livery barn he accepted the duty of hauling mail from Denison to Odebolt.  This task was undertaken by "Bill", his son, and a short time later Frank, a younger brother, was commissioned to make the trip.

It was necessary to rise early and be on the road by seven o'clock, and if the driver had good luck he would be in Denison by 12 o'clock.  After a two hour rest it would be time for the return trip.

According to Mr. Horan:  "It wasn't the bad winters that we minded so much; it was the spring mud that gave us the trouble."  He began hauling mail in 1882 and hauled for six years and five months.  For the first three years of this time there was practically little grading done on the roads.  The roads were merely worn paths across the prairie, hardened by the horses' hooves and the wheels of the vehicles.  Four horses were needed to pull the heavy wagon over these rough, boggy roads.

Aside from the regular mail that was hauled, many people depended upon this mail route as a regular means for passenger service.  It was not uncommon to carry several passengers along with their luggage when making the trip.

Perhaps no one in the community realizes more and appreciates the changes in the methods of travel from the past to the present than Mr. Horan.

transcribed by B. Horak

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