Stanhope, Iowa

     In the early fall of 1869, a prairie schooner wound its tedious way from Tama County, westward over the rolling prairies of central Iowa. A young man was directing the course of the schooner while his young wife sat by his side and helped every blessed way she could, both with voice and smile. Along towards evening they went in to camp just south of where the depot now stands on the ground now farmed by Ted Peterson. While the young man began unloading the prairie schooner, his wife was busy preparing the meal, for they had come to stay.  
    
     The first settler had located in Stanhope:  Ray Parker, who was the father of Bill Parker, one-time postmaster of Stanhope.
    
     The next spring another young couple, Alf Kepler and his wife, settled about a quarter of a mile south of the Parkers.  A little later in the spring, Madison Bute settled in the neighborhood and they felt that the locality was quite thickly populated. 

     To get water for the home and livestock, windmills were erected as a source of power. It did not take long for the rich farming soil of central Iowa to attract other settlers. Hard work, small results, neighbors few and far between are some of the facts regarding those early days in Stanhope.
 
     A few years later a school house was built across the road from what was then Kathleen Peterson's farm. Mrs. Ray Parker gathered the five children of the neighborhood and taught them to cipher and spell, read and write, and other essentials of good citizenship.
 
   In 1883 Iver Johnson moved his store from Lake Center to Stanhope and H. E. Fardal went into business with him.  This store was located where the Read Garage was located.  This was the first permanent store in town, as the general store started by Sam Lane had been of short duration.
 
     Stanhope was laid out in 1883. It was named for Lady Hester Stanhope, a British traveler and author. Another theory for the origin of the name is that it was named after an official from the Chicago Northwestern Railroad.

Incorporated City

     At this time, October, 1883, the Western Town Lot Company laid out this town and called it Stanhope after one of the officials of the Chicago Northwestern Railway.  Ray Parker sold to Toledo and Northwestern Railroad 4.15 acres for depot and 20 acres north of the depot.  This is the land that was platted for the Stanhope town lots.
 
     There were four houses then within the corporation, the homes of Adam and Alf Kepler, the Bute Homestead and the Andrew Anderson farm house.  Jim Mackey at one time owned the Alf Kepler house; A. W. Williams, the Adam Kepler house; and the Andrew Anderson house was torn down in the spring of 1954.  It had been occupied by Sam Anderson.  Other old houses were the Norman Lass home, built by Ike Kepler; the S. S. Stark home, now the Christian Church Parsonage; Mrs. Robert Fisher's house, built by
Alf Swanson; and the Dale Henderson house, built by Frank Stark.
 
     The stores included a blacksmith shop run by Bill Shaeffer; a hotel owned by P. L. Peterson that Ellis Hardware once occupied and built by Alf Bergen; a bank, where the Read Auto Parts Department was once located and managed by William Howard; and a general store owned by Swanson, Reilly and Rostrum in the building once occupied by Wade's Hatchery.
    
     In the latter part of 1897 the idea of incorporating the town arose without much interest at first, but the idea grew until on October 13, 1897 the following men were appointed commissioners to call and hold an election.  E. L. Wheatley, H. E. Fardal, Iver Johnson and G. E. Hamaker.  They called the election for the 15th day of November in the Dick and Wilson Hall "for the purpose of deciding whether the following described territory shall be incorporated.  Said polls will be open at 8:00 o'clock a.m. and close at 6:00 o'clock p.m."  At this election 63 votes were cast--46 for incorporation, 14 against and 3 spoiled ballots.  The court approved the returns and Judge S. M. Weaver affixed his signature, making the town an incorporated city on December 14, 1897.
    
     The first council met three days later in the bank office when the city officials were sworn in.  They were:  Hans Fardal, mayor; Dr. H. C. Hawley, clerk; J. W. McFarland, marshall; J. E. Sogard, treasurer; Frank Jackson, street commissioner; and Peter Hove, assessor.  The councilmen were G. E. Hamaker, Iver Johnson, A. F. Swanson, L. J. Stark, William Taylor and John Williams.
 

First Settler of Stanhope

     In the early fall of 1869, a prairie schooner wound its way westward over the rolling prairies of central Iowa.
 
     A young man was directing the course of the schooner while his young wife sat by his side and helped every blessed way she could, both with voice and smile.    
Along towards evening they made camp. While the young man began unloading the prairie schooner, his wife was busy preparing the meal, for they had come to stay. The first settler had located in Stanhope, Iowa.
 
     To get water for the home and livestock, windmills were erected as a source of power.It did not take long for the rich farming soil of central Iowa to attract other settlers. Hard work, small results, neighbors few and far between are some of the facts regarding those early days in Stanhope.

Neighbors and Friends

     Some of the early settlers were the Alf Kepler family and the Madison Bute family.  Even these neighbors were not close, and in order for the women to just "drop in for a minute" they had to go way round the swamp spreading a mile east and west between their homes. 
 

Early Merchants

     In 1882 Sam Lane established the first general store located just south of the depot and later burned in the fire.
 
     In 1883, Iver Johnson moved his store from Lake Center to Stanhope and H. E. Fardal went into business with him. This was the first permanent store in the town, as the general store started by Sam Lane had been of short duration.
 
     In 1896 the new building for Iverson Bros. & Co was completed. It was quite outstanding, being equipped with the latest models in coal stoves, kerosene lamps, hand coffee grinder and other new, crisp merchandise.
 
     Laurence Reilly opened a store in 1883. In 1901 he and Frank Rostrum moved in with Alf Swanson making the firm Swanson, Rielly, and Ristrim.
 
     The first hardware store was owned and operated by Eugene L. Wheatley in the year 1888. It was known as the G. H. Dick Store. Haney owned a meat market in 1897. Clarence Wilson and Ray Parker and later George Read and Attie Brance, operated the "Mirror Market." Ben Hogland was the next owner. The business was sold to Harry Hughes; to Elmer and Iver Nelson; to Ed Snyder; and to B. F. Gremple in January 1943. It was then known as the Gremple Food Market.

Restaurants, Hotels, Taverns

In 1890, from fall until spring, this hotel was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Johnston. Others that followed in the operation of this business were Joe Jackson, Guen Kringle, Otto Quick, and Peter Challe.

Harness, Blacksmithing, And Shoe Repair

Bill Shaeffer was the first blacksmith to come to Stanhope and in 1891 sold to A.J. Levine who operated a blacksmith shop until 1912.There were very few harness shops in Stanhope, but it is said that Will Taylor was one of the first to operate one.  Another of the very early ones was operated by James Williams and L. R. Bolt.

Railroad

     Railroad rumors began to reach the people. There were a few houses but that was all until the railroad came through in 1880. A depot was not placed here until 1882. It was a cause of great rejoicing when the depot was completed and trains made regular stops.
 
     Robert Wheatley was the first station agent.
 
     The railroad was the center of the communities it served, as a stockyards, depot, hotels and other businesses quickly were built to meet the needs of Stanhope. The railroad was important for grain sales also. Corn, oats, and flax were shipped as well as cattle. The railroad was needed for coal, too.
 
     But in 1976 all was not well with the railroad.  Rail traffic slowed and the depot was no longer used. The Central Iowa Cooperative in Stanhope took over ownership, as the site adjoined the co-op's property. The co-op offered the depot to Varlen and Fern Carlson where it stands in their grove to this day.

Services

     In 1892 the Stanhope State Bank was founded. This was the first bank to serve our small community.
 
     In the early 1890's Joe Fardal started a lumber business. After a short time this business was taken over by Hans Fardal and John Fardal and did business as Fardal Bros. Lumber Co. 

Telephone Systems

     The Martin Telephone Line was put through Stanhope in 1893. This gave the little village telephone connections with the County Seat, Des Moines, and all neighboring towns.

Farmers Co-Op Elevator

     On April 24, 1904, Farmers Elevator and Livestock Company was formed. The first nine directors were: John McGlynn, S. L. Mathre, O. W. Holstrum, John F. Gustafson, J. G. Nelson, Oliver Sealine, Emil Anderson, C. O. Sandal, and George Mitchell. The original charter expired in 1944, and the company was reorganized under the name of the Farmers Cooperative Elevator.

School

     After the first settlers came to what is now Stanhope they decided that their children should be taught the essentials of good citizenship. In 1871 Mrs. Ray Parker gathered the five children of the neighborhood and taught them to cipher and spell, read and write.
 
     In 1879 a schoolhouse was moved to the corner one-half mile south of the present site of Stanhope.  This was the Bitter Creek schoolhouse moved from Lake Center. Some of the teachers who taught here were S.D. Bute, Jackson Groves, Delila Kepler Bute and Joe Fardal.
 
     Scene of a bobsled school party. Included in the party were Esther and Arnold Sealine; Ransom, Chester and Arlene Carlson; Herman and Clifford Carlstedt; Conrad Lundquist; Elma Bockwoldt, the teacher in white stocking cap.
 
     In 1893 a new school building was put up.  The first principal was Mrs. Olmstead. About 1898 Belle Iverson was elected to teach and continued to teach for thirty-eight years. Only an elementary course was given until Mr. Fred Runkle became principal in 1902 and organized a first year high school course.
 
     About 1898 Belle Iverson was elected to teach the primary room and taught for thirty-eight years.
 
     An eight-room brick building was built in 1914. The bell from the old schoolhouse was put in this new building. In 1917 the first four-year high school class graduated. In 1923 four classrooms and a gymnasium were added to the brick structure. The last class to graduate under the name of Stanhope High School was the Class of 1962. Fardal Opera House was used for many graduation exercises.
 
     The old schoolhouse bell is now displayed at the Stanhope Park.
 
     The old schoolhouse was moved from the west side of town to the east side. In its new location the structure was remodeled into a stately home.

Church Of Christ (Disciples)

     Rev. Z. T. Queen was pastor during the time the Church of Christ church was erected. Work on the building was started in the fall of 1898, completed in the spring of 1899. The dedication service was so large that a tent was erected to accommodate the overflow.According to church records there were 22 charter members.
 
      The Stanhope Parish congregation is made up of Methodist and Disciples of Christ members. In 1997, the Methodist church in town was torn down and both ministries, which had already been conducting church services together, joined in the Disciples of Christ building and adopted the title 'Stanhope Parish.'

Grace Methodist Church

     Early in the spring of 1889 plans were made and the records show that Alfred Kepler and his wife, "In consideration of a desire to promote public morality and religion," sold to the trustees for a consideration of $75 the ground on which the church would stand. The church was dedicated November 9, 1889. 
 
     As time went on the Methodists saw a need for a better and more modern church building. In the spring of 1937 the church board organized a committee to superintend the remodeling of the church. After the remodeling, an open house was held on Saturday evening, November 12, 1938. The kitchen was remodeled in the fall of 1955 and plans were made for redecorating the sanctuary.
The church was tore down in 1997.  
 
     In 2011 the Stanhope Community Center/Library/ City Office was constructed on the site.

Our Saviors Lutheran Church

     On June 10, 1905 a general invitation was extended to all LUTHERANS in the Stanhope vicinity to meet in the Bank Hall to discuss organizing a congregation. Sixteen families responded and on October 10th of that year a new congregation was officially organized.
 
     Building plans went forward with much labor being donated. By the fall of 1906 the church was completed. On October 14th the church was dedicated.
 
     In 1924 the high church steeple was struck by lightning and burned. It was replaced by a square brick tower.
 
     In 1968 a new parish education unit was begun. This was completed the following year. This included a beautiful chapel, eleven Sunday School rooms, a large reception hall, new restrooms, and three new entrances. This was dedicated on June 2, 1969. In June 1975 the bell tower was rebuilt.

Post Office

     Tiring of the long, tedious drive to Hook's Point to get their mail, the settlers determined in 1878 to send a request to the Postmaster General to deliver the mail closer to them. Within a short time, Mrs. Ray Parker received an appointment as postmistress to the village of Stanhope.
 
     The mail was brought by carrier from Hook's Point once a week. The first post office was in the front room of the Ray Parker home.  The first letter coming to the new post office was for W. R. Wilson.

STANHOPE IS ON FIRE!!!

     Fire and water are two of the great blessings possessed by the world. They also, at times become great destroyers. This was this case on November 17, 1905, and March of 1906 when those frantic cries was heard, "Fire, Fire, the town's burning!"
 
     Three new buildings were completed and the keys delivered on March 1, 1906, three months and thirteen days from the fire when once more the night was made hideous by the frantic cry of "Fire, Fire, the town's burning!" 
 
      Both fires had completely transformed Stanhope into a dozen ash piles, but instead of saying, "Stanhope has burnt, no use in going there," the enterprising spirit of the townspeople refused to give up. From out of the ashes they rebuilt their small town. Today Stanhope stands as testimony to the pride and determination of those that came before us.
 
     OUT OF THE ASHES, An account of Stanhope's two great fires, November 17, 1905 and March, 1906. Written by Fred C. Runkle, editor of The Stanhope Mail. It can be readed at the Stanhope Public Library.

Clear Lake Township

     Called Gooselake by the Indians our early settlers called it Clear Lake.  Later our township would be named for this lake.
 
     Clear Lake was a very popular resort area for pleasure seekers, with fishing and boating being a favorite pastime.
 
     Eventually the lake became filled with reeds and seldom visited by anyone except trappers. In 1907, landowners Jonas Lunquist, Taylor Lund and John Erickson assisted John Gutason in tiling the lake to provide farm land. Draining the lake required laying tile as much as nineteen feet below the surface.
 
     The following year the first crop was harvested from the lake bed.