Vignettes of Stacyville, Iowa



 Newspaper Notes

 More to Come!

 Stacyville Serves
The U.S.A.

People With Ties to
Stacyville, Iowa 

 Orphan Train in Stacyville

 City Government

 Population Trends of
Stacyville, Iowa

Stacyville, Iowa Businesses
[This section is being developed]

 Stacyville Banking

The name "Stacyville Savings Bank" was given to the bank in Stacyville in 1928. The historical records show that there was a bank in Stacyville as early as 1897. Changes were taking place rapidly in those days. The early population, which was predominantly english, from Massachusetts and Illinois, began to move westward and German families from Wisconsin and Illinois began moving in. In 1917, it is reported that Stacyville had two banks: German Savings Bank and The Stacyville Bank. There was also a bank at one point operating under the name of Stacyville State Savings. Current banking is handled under the name of St. Ansgar State Bank - Stacyville branch. Longtime banker Fritz Schrandt passed away in 2002, ending yet another era of Stacyville banking history.

The Stacyville Post Office later occupied the brick bank building. The post office was replaced with a modular unit installed in 2002. The postal box doors were sold to those interested in a memento. The old bank building is still seeing use as another business moved in.

 Stacyville Post Office
 A post office was established at Stacyville in 1856 and the following served as postmasters through 1917: Homer I. Stacy, Benjamin Loring, Mr. Orcutt, followed by Mrs. Orcutt, L.W. Baldwin, H.P. Schoonover, Fred Bascomb, Tilla Bascomb, Mrs. Edith Spensley, and George H. Kinney appointed in 1914. The Stacyville Post Office later occupied the brick bank building. B.W. Bush was postmaster when I was growing up, following by his wife Irma Bush. The post office was replaced with a modular unit installed in 2002. The postal box doors were sold to those interested in a memento. The old bank building is still seeing use as another business moved in.

Stacyville Creamery

Still in operation in 2003. Bulk haulers include: Mark Huemann, Bruce Mayer and Jim Lowe. More information is available on my companion site, the Milk Haul of Fame.

Stacyville Grocery and General Stores

The first store, probably a general store was opened by H. I. Stacy in 1856. In 1917 groceries were available from George H. Kinney. General stores at that time were run by Joseph Falk, Ginsterblum and Mauer, H.H. Stehn and E.P. Halbach.

From my memory, there was Wolf's Grocery (I remember this as the store's owner Art Wolf and I shared the same birthday), Stehn's, Thome's and Wageman's. In 2002, Thome's remains, now owned and operated by Jeff Adams. Thome's is a great place to get broasted chicken and locally grown Shitake mushrooms. Penny candy was always a treat but it always took a long, long time to pick out and fill a tiny brown paper sack.

Other Stacyville Businesses

Ice Cream Parlors
 In my memory there were Durbens, Stameyers and Dan's Dairy. The two locations that housed the ice cream parlors were: the present Ed's Floral building with mirrors across the wall and Mary Blake's current restaurant and Stacyville Memory Museum location.

 In 1917, H.G. Farley is listed in this occupation.

Blacksmith - Harness Shops

 A 1917 account listed that the first blacksmith shop (no date given) was operated by J. T. Spearman.

In 1917 Joseph Bawek is listed as harnessmaker. Bawek's Repair Shop continued in business a long time.In later years son Glen operated Bawek's Shoe and Clothing Store which is still in operation under this name.

Francis Brumm operated a Repair Shop.

Medical and  Veterinary Services

In 1857 there was one physician. It was noted that "sickness has hardly been known amongst us here" according to memoirs by Homer Stacy. Dr. Robert J. Smith was the doctor in later years, having earlier had a practice with Dr. T.E. Blong. Henry Schieu operated the first drug store in town. By 1917, J. H. Huber is listed in this trade. 1917 dentist was: Dr. L.T. Fillenwarth. Later (in my childhood) Dr. Staudt served the town as a dentist.

Elderly and nursing care centers included Falks Nursing Home and the Stacyville Community Nursing Home constructed in the 1960s. A branch clinic of the St. Ansgar Clinic serves the area from a location adjacent to the nursing home.

  Agricutural and Milling Services

 Stacyville's spot on the Little Cedar River made the erection of a mill a logical move. The location had both milling and water power advantages. In July of 1856, the Stacy Brothers along with the Rolfe Brothers (Dr. B.F. and Charles G.), built the first mill. In addition, a saw mill expanded the operation t include flour, feed and lumber milling. A list of 1883 businesses included a roller flour mill. The old flour mill was later rebuilt into a full process roller mill to grind feed. The mill is gone, immortalized in Eloise Bissen's painting from a postcard and the remaining cement dam constructed about 1917. Feed Mill was owned by J.C. Kinney in 1917.

Stacyville Co-Op Elevator (Grain & Fertilizer)
Stacyville Co-Op Creamery
Bissen & Son, Custom Work
Gordy's Welding & Repair
Theobald Implement
Brumm Sales & Service
Pitzen Brothers Produce
Mullenbach Livestock

A large veterinary barn still stands one corner of Main Street. The lot it is on was originally part of park area donated by Homer Stacy. The park was moved a block south about 1905. Listed as a "Veterinary Surgeon" in a 1917 account was: B.T. Hartnell. Dr. Robert F. Walser served the area for many years.

 A Mrs. Allen is listed as millinery in 1917.

 Surveyors - Land Offices - Railroad

 In 1857, two surveyors were in practice - one practical engineer. Eight carpenters and joiners and more wanted for the coming season, two wheelwrights, two cabinetmakers, one blacksmith and one millwright. The trades in demand were a tinsmith and harnessmaker (were much wanted).

Also by 1857, two railroad routes had been surveyed and favorable reports were made. These routes were: Northwestern and Dubuque and St. Paul companies. As it happened the Illinois Central Railroad is the one that made it to Stacyville - in 1897.

The advent of the railroad made grain and coal businesses viable. In 1917, Speltz Grain and Coal Company and the Stacyville Grain and Coal Company were in operation.

 Other Businesses Over Time
 This list is a catch-all for businesses that have operated and in some cases still do in the area. They have not been categorized:
Stacyville Public Library
Stacyville L.P. Gas Co.
Walt's Signs (Painting & Decorating)
Durben's Clothing Store
Durben's Saw Repair Shop
Marion Pitzen Antiques
Gene's Sales & Service (Electrical Goods)
Wagner Insurance
Koster Insurance
Brown Insurance
Lady be Lovely Beauty Salon
Jerry's Barbershop
Bill's Barbershop
Hatten & Son Funeral Home
Brown Oil Co.
Standard Oil Station
Charlie's Co-Op Station
Co-Op Oil Bulk
Moorman's Feed
Ernie's Radio & TV (also Religious Gifts)
Huemann Family Car Wash (Later Hemann Car Wash)
Motor Mart
Ed's Florals
General Telephone Company of the Midwest
Interstate Power Company
Dunkleberg, McKinley and Folkers, Attys.
Huemann Milk Hauling
Stolzenburg Milk Hauling (Later Stolzenberg & Lowe, then Lowe)
Adams Motor Company

 Lumber Companies - Building
 In 1917, the Stacyville Lumber Company is listed as a business. The business later expanded to include ready-mix cement. Hardware stores were operated by Heimer & May and M. Morson in 1917. Later May's and Hatten Hardware stores were in operation. Brumm Construction Company operated in more recent times.

 Restaurants and Lodging

The first hotel was built in June of 1856 by Charles Fitch. In one account by Homer I. Stacy, it mentions that in the Spring of 1857 there were two hotels and two stores in operation. Another account lists that a Daniel Hill operated the pioneer hotel in a building erected by H.I. Stacy. A list of 1883 businesses included a hotel. In 1917, Matt Diedrich ran a restaurant.

Home Cafe (Gerks)
Striker's Bowling lounge
Cue Inn Cafe
Pete's Dairy
Dan's Dairy

Stacyville's History of Newspapers & Publishing

The current Monitor Review of Stacyville, IA and Adams, MN has its roots in the former Stacyville Monitor. My uncle, Gene Wagner was the publisher for many years. Before him, Mr. Brown ran the newspaper.

 Stacyville Government & City Officials
 Stacyville was incorporated as a town in April, 1900. The first city officials were:
Nicholas Pitzen (Mayor), Fred Bascomb (Clerk), W.H. Gardner, Michael Mauer, Andrew Weber, ALfred Penney, Ed Falk and A.I. Stacy (Councilmen).

1902: Nicholas Pitzen (Mayor) and G.M.Spensley (Clerk)
1904: W.H. Gardner (Mayor) and G.M.Spensley (Clerk)
1906: John Faas(Mayor) and G.N. Wolf (Clerk)
1910: John M. Hemann (Mayor) and G.N. Wolf (Clerk)
1912: Charles Woowiss (Mayor) and G.N. Wolf (Clerk)
1914: John Faas(Mayor) and G.N. Wolf (Clerk)
1916: Joe C. Kinney(Mayor) and G.N. Wolf (Clerk)
1917: Joe C. Kinney(Mayor) and G.N. Wolf (Clerk), F.C. Pritchard (Marshal), John P. Weber (assessor and street commissioner) health officers are councilmen and Dr. J.C. Smith. Current council: John Faas, Goeroge Kinney, B.F. Hartnell, George Penney, William Renz and Peter Mayer.

 Population Trends of Stacyville, Iowa

 1855: Nicolas Hemann and Adam Blake made the first settlement in Stacyville Township. On May 31, 1855 they staked claim in Section 19. Other 1855 arrivals: G.S. Johnson, and H.I. Stacy.

1856: N. Hemann, J.P. Emery, Dr. B.F. Rolfe, Charles Rolfe, Charles Fitch, W.H. Dyer, M. McCall, Daniel Hill, E.A. Donaldson and Martin Decker.

1857: Stephen Heimer, John Schumaker, Jacob, Schumaker, Matthew Schumaker, Simon Weingert, J.C. Pelton, E.H. Donaldson John Parlin.

1882: about 400
1890: 480 - 915 in township?
1900: 490 - 1185 in township?
1910: 407 -1080 in township?
1915: 696
1970: 598

Stacyville Did Its Part in Serving the U.S.A

Civil War

Roster of the Civil War Vounteers from Stacyville
(Source: Genie Bug - NIG Newsletter, Sept. 2002
Roster List to be added

World War I & II 

Jerome Halbach served on the USS Pennslyvania 1942-1945.
See info on site:
USS Pennsylvania Memorial

VIetnam War

MIA Located - Returned for Burial to Stacyville, IA 

Several References are linked here relating to the disappearance, missing in action status, and finally location and burial in Stacyville, Iowa of native son, John Pitzen whose plane was shot down in 1972. His remains were identified and returned in 1996. I recently acquired an original POW-MIA bracelet bearing Capt. Pitzen's name.

1996 Account on the Defense Prisoner of War/
Missing Personnel Office Website

of the Details of Pitzen's Disappearance

Text of Iowa House Concurrent Resolution 119
expressing the sympathy of the
Iowa General Assembly to the family of
Captain John R. Pitzen,
United States Navy.

John R. Pitzen's Grave
Visitation Cemetery
Stacyville, IA

Stacyville-Connected Biographies

Homer I. Stacy & Family
Stacy Family Information Available Here

Thorsten Veblen

Best known for his treatises on economics including The Theory of the Leisure Class and The Theory of Business Enterprise, Veblen has ties to Stacyville. A time period of great interest to scholars is one of the major gaps in biographer Dorfman's reconstruction of Veblen's life, "which if filled would add significantly to our understanding of the man Veblen was". In particular, "the years
between Veblen's graduation from Carleton [College in Northfield, MN] and his enrollment at Cornell are another, especially his time in
Stacyville, Iowa."
I am investigating this time period as an ongoing area of research interest. Link reference to above quotes:
Unexamined Moments.

Marriage to Stacyville native: Ellen Rolfe
On the site:
Veblen - The Person - Marginal Academic his marriage to the daughter
of a prominent Midwest family is detailed. The marriage took place in 1888 and the couple spent time in the Stacyville area from then until 1891 when he took a teaching post at Cornell. Ellen Rolfe was "the daughter of one of the leading families of the Middle West. Her father, a grain-elevator and railroad magnate, was
appalled that his daughter was marrying a shiftless atheistic son of Norwegian immigrants. But he made the best of it and allowed the young couple to settle
on one of his Iowa farms. According to Ellen Rolfe wrote later that "this was the turning point in our lives." In his Iowa retreat, Veblen immersed himself deeply in the study of economics. The source mentions that after ten years of frustration and idle drifting [thus placing them perhaps in Iowa in the earlier 1880s], Veblen finally decided to return East to study economics, registering at Cornell in the winter term of 1891. Ellen and Thorsten, after a tumultous marriage divorced and he remarried to a divorcee in 19I4 - Anne Fessenden Bradley.

Possible Work in Newspaper Trade in Stacyville?
One question that has been raised is what Veblen was doing exactly in his time in the Stacyville area. Certainly he lectured now and then, read profusely also. One contention is that he was working in some area of the publication or newspaper trade. Research continues to confirm or flesh out details on this idea.

Synopsis of Thorsten Veblen's Life
San Jose University's Chronology

Thorsten Veblen & Ellen Rolfe's Families

Thorstein Bunde Veblen
b 30 July 1857 Valders (Cato Twp.) Manitowoc, WI
married 1888 Beloit, Rock Co., WI
to Ellen May ROLFE (b 1858)
d 1927

Thorstein was son of Thomas Anderson Veblen and Kari Bunde.
Ellen May was the daughter of Charles G. Rolfe and Ellen Sylvia Strong.
Ellen Sylvia Strong was the daugter of Elijah Gridley Strong and Sarah Ashley Patridge.


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