Cascade History

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Early Cascade
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McGinty Murder
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Cascade Churches
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Logo by Ginger Cisewski

Cascade History

Excerpts from the 1834 - 1984 Cascade Sesquicentennial Booklet

Indian History

The Indian history of this community is comparable to that of all Iowa--Iowa in the Indian language means "beautiful land." It was the last great battle ground of the vanishing Red Man. This territory was populated by the fierce and warlike Foxes, or Meskwaki--People of the Red Earth. They stood the white man at bay. They knew this land, they loved it and died for it. They said, "... The South Country is too warm; the north country is too cold in the winter... We are satisfied with this place... It is our wish to dwell here always"... Pemousa, a great chief, green with paint, stricken in defeat, once voiced to the visitors a prophetic warning: "Know ye that the Foxes are immortal!"

And in Iowa they dwell today at Tama, the remnants of that proud tribe. "The Foxes," Pemousa had said, "are immortal!"


James L. Langworthy explored this land.


Jack Parrott came through here and went on to Linn and Johnson county territory, but came back here to live two years later. His son, George Parrott, is still a resident in Cascade (circa 1934).


Nicholas Delong, considered the first permanent settler, owned and occupied three log cabins.


John Sherman arrived at the settlement and bought a water power site. During this year and the next Alvin Burt, civil engineer, conducted U. S. survey of the land and located the meridian lines for Iowa. Burt was so pleased with this site that he returned and established a permanent residence.


John Sherman and Arthur Thomas built first flour mill. A son of the latter, Arthur W. Thomas, is living at Forest Grove, Ore. (circa 1934)


Augustus Chancey (Cheney) Thomas, first white child, was born. The Delong brothers, Nicholas and William, built a saw-mill two miles north of here on the river. It was later known as Dillon's and still later as Meyer's.


The original Military Road from Dubuque to Iowa City was built. Lyman Dillon plowed the furrow marking the route. Florence Parrott Lippert, grand-daughter of Dillon, still lives here (circa 1934).


Post office was established and Arthur Thomas was recommended for post-master, but Levi A. Styles was confirmed. J. B. Heniors dispensed first pills and potions that year.


Caleb Bucknam, whose daughter married G. G. Banghart, bought Delong property. Mrs. Mae Banghart Livermore, a grand-daughter, lives here as do two great-grandchildren, Mrs. Pearl Cooley Becker and Wm. Cooley (circa 1934).


Bucknam laid out town along military road thus accounting for its crooked streets. Alvin Burt, Titus Cooley, the McGintys, Peter Summers, Egbert Macomber, the Powells, C. O. Freeman, Elon Rafferty, Lyman Dillon, the Winchells, the Parrotts, Mahlon Lupton, John Rafferty, W. W. Hamilton, G. G. Banghart (operated large general store), Judge Taylor, Levi A. Styles, Peter Knoop, Joseph Dean, Alonzo Meecham, Nathan W. Dolan, John Gibson, and Asa Leek (big sheep man) were all early settlers. W. W. Hamilton was first lawyer and prominent politically; a member of the state senate during the 5th and 6th sessions and was its presiding officer.


First school built opposite old Dixon Beatty place and was taught by Mariah Lake. Two of Caleb Bucknam's daughters, Mrs. Charles Winchell and Mrs. Phoebe Russell, and two Indian girls, Armica and Hally, were the first pupils.


Judge Taylor arrived and proved, through years that followed, to be one of Cascade's most prominent citizens and humanitarians. Methodist Church established. There is no record of the pastorate of the church, but it is believed by old timers that Rev. Bates was the first.


First brick kilned by Titus Cooley and was used to build later, two small churches--Methodist and Catholic. The Congregationalists, the first church to be established in Cascade a few months before the Methodist, built in this year. The very famous Rev. Wm. Salter ministered to the church.


First agitation for a railroad commenced. Wm. Lawther and Co. and The St. Louis Co., had large stores here. Henry Miller managed a hotel.


St. Martin's church was built with Father Peradine as the pastor. Father Peradine, a Frenchman, lived at Jack Parrott's.


A number of the pioneers migrated to California during the Gold Rush.


The father of Joel Phillips having died in 1849 of cholera. Joel and his mother left with a Mormon expedition headed by a man named Strang in this year. In a deep gorge in the Plum Creek territory, after setting forth from what is now Council Bluffs, the party was annihilated by Indians. Joel, or Joe as he was afterward known, only nine years old, and two Henderson girls, who later married Indian chiefs, were saved. Joe--Buckskin Joe--lived on with the Indians and did not drift back to Cascade until 1867. No one knew him! But finally Mrs. jack Parrott, his aunt, identified him through a deep scar on his arm. Buckskin Joe continued to live most of his life with the Indians and later became a scout under Gen. Sully. His government record in this activity was exceptional and outstanding. By pure chance Phillips just missed being with Custer at the time of the massacre; he was with Buffalo Bill Cody for years. His son, Hal Phillips, is editor of a daily paper at Lancaster, Ohio, and his brother-in-law, George Parrott , as aforementioned, lives here (circa 1934).


St. Mary's Catholic Church built and the pastor was Rev. Baumgardner.


The village now had a population of 450; seven or eight merchants; a big flour mill owned by the Chews; saw mill; brick yard; private schools; mechanics, blacksmiths. James Hill laid out a new addition to the town in west Cascade. A brewery was established this year in a little log building which was one of the first built in Cascade by Wm. Delong. Later the brewery was enlarged by Frank May and involved more capital than any other single business. The four-story building (now owned by P. M. Dahlem) was of sonte 116X24 feet with a wing the same heighth, 22X30. The malt and fermenting rooms were large and the ice cellar stored 200 tons of ice. Beneath the latter was the cooling cellar and still deeper, hewn out of solid rock, was the lager-beer vault, 88 X 18 X 12 feet, twenty feet below the surface of the ground. About 2,500 barrels of beer were manufactured annually and it was one of the most extensive inland breweries in the United States.


This was the year of the big snow storm. Snow reached an average depth of four feet on the level. Deer were run down by dogs and clubbed to death by residents--dogs could run lightly over the crust, corner deer, whose weight broke crust, and hold them pending arrival of residents. Indians always camped on the flat south of town and on southfork at Chimney Rock. During the snow storm Jack Parrott rescued a Brave and took him to his home to thaw out. The Parrott log cabin was located approximately where the M. J. Neiers home is and the Phillips cabin was across the street on the site of the Gen. Patterson home. Ten years later the Indian rescued by Parrott drifted back and presented his benefactor with a beautiful bay pony which the Parrott children rode for years afterward.


Population advanced to 4,000 with over 75 new buildings erected. Cascade Academy was in operation and in charge was Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Wilson. A. M. College courses were taught. Three mail routes out of Cascade: one to Iowa City, to Tipton, to Wyoming. Coaches changed horses at old tavern on the John Price farm now occupied by P. J. Conlin. Factory for everything needed operating in Cascade. Railroad negotiations on: proposed Ram's Horn route from Dubuque to Keokuk via Cascade, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City; an airline across Iowa; the South-western from Dubuque via Cascade; a "plug" from Cascade to Wyoming; attempt to build South-Western from Monticello via Cascade to Dubuque. But for mistaken zeal and real estate speculation, one of these routes might have been established.

1861 - 1865

War Days. Cascade was a divided town with many Southern sympathizers. The Chew home harbored a Confederate spy, John Beall, who was later caught, court-martialed and shot. Inspiration for a story written by Ada Langworthy Collier. Many young men went to war and saw stiff fighting. A paper mill was errected in 1864 at Myers' two miles north, by Mullally, Hutchins & Co. Hutchins later became famous through his invention of the type-setting machine, which later revolutionized the printing industry and led to the development of the Linotype.

1866 - 1867

Farming was flourishing. Population at 1,100. Seven dry goods stores; seven groceries; three drug stores, Chews owned flour mill that had flour run of stone, and saw mill; cabinet factory owned by Crawfords; three hotels; three schoolhouses; large grist mill; a cooperage; three wagon and carriage makers; four blacksmiths; four shoe shops; distillery; brewery; Hugh Devlin's harness shop; doctors; lawyers; and professions; two district schools; academy, R. G. Gilson, principal. Churches: German Catholic and Irish Catholic, Rev. Michael Lynch; Methodist church, Rev. Wortz; Baptist, Rev. Reas; Presbyterian, Rev. Sawhill; Second Day Advent, Rev. Huff.


Paper mill was destroyed by fire at a loss of $30,000. Twenty-three places in Cascade selling liquor.


Cascade Pioneer established June 23 by C. H. Munger and Isaac W. Baldwin, who had come here from Galena, Illinois, edited paper. Six months later Baldwin purchased paper and immediately took up fight to establish a railroad.


On September 19, first ground was broken on long awaited construction of a railroad.


First Narrow Gauge locomotive arrived on January 1, a gala day in the history of Cascade. The Narrow Gauge is the only one of its kind still in daily operation (circa 1934). The town of Cascade was incorporated this year, and I. W. Baldwin was the first mayor.

1883 - 1885

Isaac W. Baldwin was elected state representative from Dubuque County both years.


A bank was established, the Cascade State Bank, with B. B. Richards of Dubuque as president. The first cashier was Geo. A. Burden of Dubuque, still living and still a stockholder. (circa 1934).


First Cascade Fair attended by 5,000 people on first day. Open warfare, almost reaching the point of gun-fire, between dry Jones county officials and Cascade saloon keepers--500 yard law concerning the sale of liquor was the cause of the conflict.

1892 - 1893

First Cascade Opera House was built and the Farmers and Merchants State Bank was organized in the fall of 1893. I. W. Baldwin, independent Democrat, engaged in a terrific political battle with Sen. James W. Shields of Dubuque, and was elected by a margin of 16 votes, 4,409 to 4,393. Baldwin was the first man to be elected from without the city of Dubuque and first to break through the "big ring." Cleveland appointed James Fagan, pioneer Temple Hill settler and Cascade resident, as postmaster.


Cascade water system is built by Smedley Mfg. Co., at a cost of $10,792.


Cascade Light and Power Company is organized with D. M. Finley, president. Dr. Finley was the uncle of the present governor of California, Gov. Frank A. Merriam. About 25 to 30 lights were installed.


Cascade Courier was established by Bruce Baldwin to contest Silver Issue. A very destructive flood achieved great damage in the community.


Cascade was chosen as the site for the Dubuque County Fair. Fine horses, including Dan Patch, competed in the races. Six thousand people attend on the best day.


Cascade had five churches, public and parochial schools (two each of the latter), two banks, two newspapers (German Catholic and Pioneer); many general stores, groceries, hardware, drug, clothing, boot and shoe; two hotels; restaurants; mills (flour, grist, saw); physicians, lawyers, dentists, milliners, shops of various kinds, several saloons, contractors, band, creamery, electric light plant, an insurance company, lumber dealers, city water works, opera house, telephones, livestock dealers, livery, undertakers, jewelers, marble yards, barbers, real estate dealers, photographers, and one of the fastest semi-pro, all salaried baseball teams in the mid-west.


J. L. Conlin now mayor of Cascade. Bisenius and Sauser dissolved and business continued as Bisenius and Son. Farmer Burns wrestled here. Heat wave reached 77 degrees on November 16.

1912 - 1914

Urban C. "Red" Faber joined Chicago Americans (White Sox) and toured world with New York Nationals (Giants). There was much local feeling and German sympathy when World War I began in Europe. New businesses: Weber and Ramm, Kearney Bros., James McHugh and Dan Barrett. J. W. Troxel, internationally famous engineer, surveyed Narrow Gauge route and the fight was begun to broaden the road. East Cascade High School was established through the purchase of the Chew property from Sam Patterson. Patterson was a pioneer settler who died in 1913. C. D. Baldwin was the first president of the school board and Bruce E. Mahan, a noted educator, was first superintendent.


Population in Cascade was now 1315. Many old timers visited with Ringling Bros., at Anamosa where their Circus was showing. The Ringlings received financial aid in Cascade in 1880 and were successful thereafter. The garage in the old Cascade Operal House burned. J. R. Lane was appointed postmaster. The petition demanding the broadening of the Narrow Gauge was denied by the Iowa State Railroad Commission.

1916 - 1917

James H. Devaney was elected State Deputy of the Knights of Columbus. The big event of the year was Red Faber pitching in the World Series of 1917 against the New York Giants. Faber won the series single handed winning three games. Cascade native James Arnot Crusinberry wrote of Faber's pitching as a sports writer; he became the dean of baseball writers of the nation and was twice elected President of the Baseball Writers Association. A new Cascade Opera House was constructed.

1918 - 1919

Practically all activity aside from normal business affairs was confined to the war effort. Meetings, drafts, Red Cross, Liberty Loan drives, and every known matter connected with the war program kept Cascade busy.


American Legion Post No. 528 was form with Lieutenant E. J. Kean serving as the first post commander. Herbert Hoover was endorsed by mid-west Democratic editors for the Democratic nomination for president. Martin Moore and Jas. A. Donnelly fought for mayorality and Donnelly won by 7 votes. Wm. Austin Burt, great grandson of Austin Burt, pioneer settler in Cascade, was nominated for the Hall of Fame. Clyde L. Herring, Democratic candidate for governor, spoke in Cascade. Women's suffrage became law. Warren G. Harding was elected president in a Republican landslide. John H. Weber of Cascade was elected state representative.


The Knights of Columbus organized the Cascade Boys' Club, the first of its kind in Iowa. Cascade experienced the worst snow storm in years; on April 21st, a thirty hour blizzard blocked roads and ruined orchards. Wind from the storm wrecked small buildings and tore the roof off the Methodist church. A road bond to fund road improvements was defeated in November.


Red Faber topped big league pitchers with 2.48 earned run average per game. J. H. Devaney purchased a partnership with P. A. Koob. The Farmers and Merchants Bank building was completed on the old Klinkner site; J. T. Conlin was president of the bank. Meyer's Bridge (paper mill site) was washed away following an ice jam and during the big flood of 1922. The American Legion Auxiliary was organized. The first Labor Day Picnic was celebrated by the American Legion, which has become an annual event. John H. Weber was re-elected state representative. Mrs. Catherine Tallman died at the age of 108 years.


A dance pavilion on east Cascade acreage was built by the American Legion. Frank Seery and Earl Campbell visited Cascade via air route; Campbell held the record for longest hours in the air without a forced land and later became vice-president of the Curtiss Aeroplane Company. Cascade Electric Light & Power Co., was sold by H. L. Dehner to the Iowa Electric Company. John Kirkpatrick was found murdered in Zoller woods and Oliver Lieb confessed to the murder a few days later.


Bisenius & Sons celebrated their 40th anniversary. The sewer system was completed at a cost of $82,801.13. Jas. T. Bevans was recommended for postmaster. J. L. Fober was elected mayor. Cascade purchased its first chemical fire engine. R. J. Finn succeeded Chas. Butler as superintendent of East Cascade High School. Senator and Mrs. Lafe Young, a Cascade native, visited Cascade.


Dr. James M. Neff, internationally famous surgeon and husband of Cora Benham Neff, died in Chicago. The Benhams were Cascade pioneers. Chas. R. Keyes explored Cascade caves and uncovered Indian relics and Algonquin pottery. The most disasterous flood in Eastern Iowa visited Cascade June 15, causing great property loss and the deaths of Edward G. Bell and Mrs. Phoebe Russell. Mrs. Russell's body was recovered immediately, but Bell's was not discovered until several weeks had passed. Numerous stores and residences were completely destroyed and over 100 homes and business houses were destroyed by the raging waters. It was estimated that over 40,000 people visited Cascade on the following Sunday to view the wreckage. Property loss was estimated at $500,000. A drainage area was established to prevent future disasterous floods.


Dr. L. F. Barrett defeated J. T. Dunnigan for Mayor. The Cascade Pioneer observed its 50th anniversary June 23rd. Jas. H. Devaney was elected Supreme Director of the Knights of Columbus, one of the highest offices which can be held in the order. C. J. Delvin, pioneer merchant, broke the local bowling record with a 217 average for three games. Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Baldwin attended the first Army-Navy football game ever held in the midwest at Chicago, as the guest of the former's cousin, Commander Douglas L. Howard, U. S. Navy. Ed Reiter, prominent farmer, topped all existing records at the Chicago Stock Yards with a shipment of beef. The Cascade State Bank celebrated its 40th anniversary.


Geo. A. Wassenaar opened a big feed mill here. Tommy Grogan approached the "top rung of fistic ladder" as a lightweight boxer. An new steel bridge and drainage project was completed. The Highway Commission decided to pave a road from Dubuque to Cedar Rapids via Cascade.


C. J. Moore re-opened the old D. D. Moore store as a modern new grocery. W. J. Moran was elected district deputy of the Knights of Columbus. Christmas lights were purchased by the Cascade Women's Club. Cascade celebrated a Red Faber Day.


The greatest snow storm in 50 years blocked highways and isolated some eastern Iowa towns for days. Jones County and state officials raided Cascade bootlegging places and made ten arrests. The Cascade Advertisers basketball team won its third Eastern Iowa title, and east central title at Marion, Iowa. A. J. Faber built an oil station in east Cascade on the old Collins property. H. L. Dehner, president of the Cascade State Bank and regarded as a financial genius and one of Cascade's most prominent citizens, died. Tommy Grogan, now a headliner in the fight profession, visited Cascade.


The post office was moved to modern quarters in the Durkin Bldg. The first annual dinner of the revived Cascade Commercial Club was held at Koster 's cafe and Lieutenant Governor Arch W. McFarland of Waterloo was the honored guest and speaker of the evening. Tommy Grogan lost to Conzoneri in New York City in a battle that is considered one of the greatest in light-weight ring history. Grogan was rated by experts as being one of the hardest punchers of all time in his weight--only rivaled by the immortal Joe Gans. Brother Geo. Feltes, the Flying Missionary, visited relatives here arriving in Dubuque in his gian Bellanca plane especially designed to withstand the rigors of the Alaskan winters. Hub Orr joined the Dubuque club in the Mississippi Valley baseball league and finished the season at third base with the champion Cedar Rapids Bunnies. The new primary road No. 188 established between Cascade and Luxemburg. New mail service was established between Dubuque and Cedar Rapids via Cascade with deliveries twice daily.


C. D. Baldwin, the editor of the Cascade Pioneer, was stricken with a heart attack. Robt. K. Burns opened the Cascade Theatre and installed sound equipment to display talking movies after the theatre had been dark over a year. J. L. Fober was elected president of the Iowa Mutual Tornado Assn., the largest company of its kind in the world. Rep. Jas. N. Hayes, son of the late James Hayes, introduced redistricting amendment in the state legislature. Tommy Grogan fought the world's lightweight champion of the world, Sammy Mandell, to a standstill at Omaha and the referee called the bout a draw. The Cascade Pioneer celebrated its 55th anniversary with a new editor at the helm, Howard C. Baldwin. Rev. J. B. Albers celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination. Cascade won the Maquoketa Valley league baseball championship from Guttenberg at Manchester in ten innings. Atty. Frank W. Less, former Columbia star, organized Cascade's first football team.

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