The 1902 Huebinger Atlas of Story County, Iowa carried this account by Dr. A. Richmond.
Coming to Ames in the sixties [1860s], not exactly in the beginning of things, still 'twas here in the incipiency of some of the movements that have since given us advantage and opportunity at home and prestige abroad.
On my first visit to Ames, I had the honor and pleasure of an introduction to President Welch, who was in his shirt sleeves digging in a trench in front of the main building of the I.S.C., then the only building of importance on the college campus. Not a structure of brick of any description adorned our streets, and soon after my arrival, a pony ride 15 miles to the northwest disclosed not a fence post, tree or shrub; but plenty of fair acres that could be purchased at $10 and less. For the most part, only trails guided our way; the day of good roads not having dawned, and an extra pair of strong horses were more than once necessary to extricate a moderately loaded wagon from the treacherous and uncertain depths in front of the post office.
The transformation of these teeming years have been marvelous. From that day of small beginnings and crude conditions, we have passed to the dignity of settled and established institutions, with flourishing and substantial business and financial establishments, and an educational plant which, for general comprehensiveness and equipment for technical training, is unequaled between the two oceans, and unsurpassed anywhere; making Ames the most desirable and satisfactory center for family and student life in the radius of many hundreds of miles.
- Ames is a city of about 2,500 population, located in Washington township, and a few miles west of Nevada, the county seat.
- The city is a progressive town, having a well equipped fire department, electric light plant, and an excellent water and sewerage system.
- The banks are under most proficient management, being known as the Story County and the Union Savings Banks.
- News from all parts of the world is gathered and given to the people through the Times and the Intelligencer.
- The morals of the people are demonstrated by the following churches: Baptist, Methodist, Christian, Congregational, Episcopal, and United Brethren.
- The schools are a feature in themselves, as Ames is known for her educational advancements, and is said to be the envy of the surrounding towns.
- The Iowa State Agricultural College is located not very far from the business portion of the city, and occupies about 1,000 acres of the most beautiful soil.
- The different college departments occupy nearly thirty-five buildings, and are well equipped.
- Railroads, telephones, parks, and beautiful residences all go toward enriching Ames, and making it a most desirable town to live in.