History of Story County


Page 51 AMES

The town was laid out in the fall of 1865, being named for Oakes Ames, one of the proprietors of the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad. In October of that year Noah Webster erected the first house. It still stands on the corner northeast from the West House, and is still occupied by the builder. He was assisted in the carpenter work by H. N. Tupper, and the lumber was on the ground before the lots were surveyed. The second house was that of Dr. Carr, immediately west of the other, and was occupied as a residence and office by the doctor, who was, of course, the first physician in the town.

The depot was built about this time, Deacon H. F. Kingsbury being the first station agent, and living in the depot until he could erect a house for himself, which he did on the site of the New York house. The Deacon was also first express agent, first post-master, first merchant and first in the hearts of his fellow citizens generally.

The Bosquent Drug store was the first building on that part of the street and was built by a Mr. Osborn. The Boyd Brothers' store was built abort the same time by Mr. Miller, and opened as a hardware store and tin shop. These were the improvements made during the fall and winter of 1865-6.

The first grain warehouse was built by Irwin, Rainbold & Hoggatt, who also opened the first lumber yard. J. Q. Lefflngwell set up the first blacksmith shop, taking Mr. Duff in as partner to roof the same, and furnish other capital. The latter had settled on his farm north of town in 1863, and Mrs. Duff was land and business agent in several important early enterprises. It was mainly through her energy and tact that the first church was built, the Congregational, of which the Rev. John White was the first pastor. Rev. Isaiah Reid, as stated elsewhere, preached the first sermon in Ames, and it is narrated that, on one occasion, having been called to officiate at a funeral in the neighborhood, a passing locomotive was hailed for him, and kindly took him up near the present depot and carried him to Nevada. Wm. Hart opened the first wagon shop. Mr. Sherwood built the West House, and kept the first hotel therein. The first Methodist preacher was Rev. James Hankins; after him came Rev. J. M. Dudley. The first Baptist Church was organized in 1868, the Rev. L. P. Day as pastor, when he was succeeded in 1869 by Rev. H. A. Borden, and he, in 1870, by Rev. S. H. Mitchell.  Ames was incorporated 1869, Wm. West being the first Mayor. The first Dry Goods Store, that carried a general assortment, was opened by Lucas & Eddy, since which time all branches of business have greatly increased.

Page 231

Ames was laid out in 1864, plat and deed of lands for the public use filed for record January, 1865, and was incorporated in 1869. It was named "Ames" in honor of Oakes Ames, of Massachusetts, and in return for this Mr. Ames, donated to the Congregational Society a fine bell for their church building. The lots on which the building stands were donated to the society by John I. Blair, of New Jersey, and W. W. Walker, of Iowa, accompanied by a gift of $30,000 in money to aid in the construction of the building. These donations were gratefully acknowledged.

About this time, or prior, Mr. Blair, also, donated grounds to the Methodist Episcopal Church Society upon which a church building was to be erected. Rev. J. R. Williams, of Indiana, gave $100 to aid in the building of the church. Many others of Ames and vicinity, also, made generous donations for this object.

In July, 1868, the Baptist Society was organized. Fourteen persons were in the organization at first. They now have a good church building and a membership of one hundred and twentv-five; at Kelly, twenty-five members. The Methodist Episcopal Society was organized in 1862, in the township, consisting at first of only six members. They afterwards built a fair church building, as well as a good society in Ames. The membership now numbers two hundred, November, 1886. The Congregational Society was organized November, 1865, with a membership of nine persons. They now number one hundred and fifty members and have a good church building. The Episcopalians and Disciples have no regular church building in Ames. For futher information as to church service, see the Church Directory.

There is a new church house, built in 1886, in the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of section 25, township 83, range 24. This is "a United Brethren Church." Is three and a half miles south of Ames.

Hon. William West was the first mayor of Ames, but soon resigned and was succeeded by W. D. Lucas, Esq. See Ames Directory for the year 1886.


The Weekly Intelligencer, a live paper, was first published by Mr. A. McFadden, an experienced newspaper publisher and editor. Its first issue was about April, 1868"”nineteen years ago"”and is still being published. J. E. Duncan, Esq., is editor and proprietor, and gets up an excellent paper.

The Monitor, a weekly paper, commenced in August, 1885, published by E. W. Clark, who died March 20, 1886, but it ceased being published in August, 1886. The Monitor made a very good appearance. The Aurora, a monthly paper, published at the Iowa Agricultural College, was commenced some fifteen years ago.

Ames is a point of considerable railroad stir in freighting and passenger interest. It is surely a lively place when different passenger trains arrive in connection with each other. The Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad was located through the central part of Story County, east and west, in 1863. Therefore Colo, Nevada, Ames and Ontario are situated on this road. The road now is known as the Chicago & Northwestern road; and surely is one of the best business roads in the western states. At nearly right angles the Des Moines & Minnesota road crosses the Northwestern at Ames. These roads so accommodate as to have passenger trains connect here, so passengers can take trains for the south, north, east or west, with but little delay. On return to Ames, the passenger can generally, with but little delay, return north, south, east or west, as may be desired.

There are fourteen passenger trains passing through Ames daily at this time, and about "” regular freight trains. The Des Moines & Minnesota Railroad passes north from Ames through Franklin and Lafayette Townships"”passing through Gilbert station and Story City. Going south from Ames the road passes southwesterly through Washington and Palestine Townships"”passing through Kelly and Sheldahl"”crossing the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad nearly one mile and a half north of Sheldahl at what is called Sheldahl crossing.


It cost about $16,000; has six apartments, and will accommodate about three hundred and seventy-five scholars. It is three stories high, including the basement. It is a good looking brick building and arranged in the different departments for comfort and convenience. The building rests on a strong stone basement foundation. It has what some would call four fronts, at least that part above the square indicates it. It has a fine tower containing a well toned bell. The house was built about 1880 or 1881, and is an ornament to Ames. This structure would make a better showing were it on a nice elevation.


Bigelow & Tilden's brick block $12,000
Opera block 12,000
High School Building 16,000
City Hall 1,350
Giles Cook brick blocks, first one on corner (south side of Onondaga street,) 5,000
Giles Cook brick blocks, next east Onondaga street 3,000
D. Cramblet 3,000
Mrs. W. S. Bradley 3,900
W. M. Greeley 2,500
Samuel Lucas' heirs (post-office building) 2,500
T. K. Soper, (south side Onondaga street) 4,000
M. Pheney, (south side Onondaga street)  3,000
I. B. Frazee, (south side Onondaga street) 3,000
M. Matson, (south side Onondaga street) 4,000

The following is a list of improvements made in Ames during the past year, from which it will be seen that there has been a considerable amount of money spent in the good work of beautifying and adorning the town. If any have been omitted if they will notify us we will make the addition:

C. G. Ives, residence $2,500
J. S. Brooks, residence 2,000
H. M. Templeton, addition 1,000
Ames City Hall 1,350
Cal. Giddings, addition 300
W. G. Wright, addition 400
J. L. Stevens, addition 750
A. Perkins, addition 150
J. L. Bartlett, addition 200
Mrs. L. M. Bosworth, addition 500
William Greeley 150
Charles Hamilton, addition 175
William Paxton, addition 100
G. G. Tilden, addition 100
Total $9,675

The principal street has been improved at great expense and made good.

The Ames Flouring Mill was burnt in 1881, and was rebuilt in 1882, by Haverly and Lanning, its present owners, assisted by citizens.

There is one elevator here, and is owned by Henry Wilson.

There are three hotels: the "West House," kept by Wm. West; the "Lawton House," kept by Mr. Little; the "Kaynor House," kept by Kaynor & Son.

The press here, the "Intelligencer office," owned and conducted by Capt. J. E. Duncan, gives us a good paper. The work is done, (the main portion of it,) by steam power. We have a steam power press in Nevada, worked by Rev. Isaiah Reid, in doing the presswork on his paper The Highway. These two steam power presses are the only ones of the kind in Story County.

Ames has an excellent water tank, furnishing abundance of water.

The Northwestern station house is a plain building, but comfortable for waiting passengers.

The new railroad warehouse, about two years old, is a good building and is south of the station.

The school houses of Washington Township have all taken regular order, with few exceptions.

This township was settled in early times. Among the early settlers may be named, viz: Shadrick Worrall, Harvey Lewellen, Morgan Keltner, Mr. Vest, Mr. Luther, A. H. Beadle, Lot Loving, C. and E. Thurman, W. H. Foster, Ed. McKenzie, W. C. Shockly, Amos Simmons, Henry and Cyrus Simmons, John Bracken, G. H. Crossley, I. H. Rees, W. J. Graham, Mr. "” Walker, Mr. G. Scott, Calvary Ross, Mr. S. Coffelt, S. M. Corey, W. W. Spring, Mr. "”Eastlick.

The first frame school house built in the county, as claimed, was located in the northeast corner of section 1, township 82, range 24, and was the renowned "Walnut Grove School House," built in 1854-5.

Washington Township has three towns: Ames, Kelley and New Philadelphia.

At the last named town there is but little doing. It was laid out in 1856.

Kelley is a small town but has life about it, and is in the midst of a good country. It is situated on the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 32, was laid off in 1875.