Newhall, John B. A Glimpse of Iowa in 1846;
Burlington, Iowa: W.D. Skillman, 1846
The village of Cascade,
although immediately on the borders of Jones county, is, in fact, in Dubuque
county, on the north side of the Maquoketa; the counties being divided by the
river. The village is rapidly improving, and already contains two hotels, an
extensive flouring mill, four dry goods stores, three blacksmith shops, two
tailor shops, one wagon maker, one saddler, post office, &c. Thee are, also,
two church edifices in the village, a Methodist Episcopal, and a neat structure
has been erected the past year by the Congregational Society of that place.
Cascade also contains a flourishing Temperance Society, embracing more than 100
members. The country around is highly picturesque, and rapidly settling by a
virtuous, intelligent population from many of the eastern States.
The History of Dubuque County,
Iowa...Chicago: Western Hist. Co., 1880
This is the
southwestern township in Dubuque county, and was settled at an early date.
Probably one third of the area is woodland, and it is traversed, in a
southeasterly direction, by the North Branch of the Maquoketa. The water power,
or the cascade, was the attraction for the early settler or speculator. The
surface is uneven, the soil a sandy loam, and, as a township, it is fairly
adapted to agriculture.
EARLY SETTLEMENT- The Delongs were the first settlers
at Cascade. The father came in 1834 and broke ground and planted corn, and, in
1835, came again and sowed wheat on his claim near the falls. In 1836, he, with
his wife and five sons, William, John, Parley, Jacob and Perry, and a daughter
named Susan, located in Cascade. One of his cabins was built nearly on the site
of G.G. Banghart's store. He soon sold the water-power and a narrow strip of
land adjoining to John Sherman, who, in partnership with Arthur Thomas, in 1837,
built the first flouring mill. In same year they built the first hotel and first
store. In 1838, the first saw-mill was built two miles above Cascade, by the
Delong brothers. The mill was afterward known as Dillon's, and later was a paper
mill, and, still later, was converted into a flouring-mill and known as Myer's.
The original Delong was a miner, and is still living in Dubuque, Caleb Bucknam,
father-in-law to G.G. Banghart, bought out the Delongs, in 1841 and the next
year platted the village of Cascade. The United States survey of land, in this
vicinity, was made in 1836-37; Albin Burt, a civil engineer, located the
meridian lines for Iowa, was attracted by this place and brought his family soon
afterward, and was prominent in local improvements. He died in 1846. Peter
Summers has been a continuous resident since 1839. Egbert McComber, Elan
Rafferty, C.O. Freeman, J.S. Hamilton, are veteran pioneers and worthy citizens.
So also were John Rafferty, Mahlon Lupton, Asa Leek and Lyman Dillon, all
deceased, who settled near the falls as early as 1840. The first birth within
city limits was that of Chauncey Thomas, in 1838, and the first marriage was in
1839; the parties were Jeremiah Reed and Susan Delong, the bride being a
blushing maiden of thirteen summers. The first school was taught by L.A. Styles,
in a dwelling-house, about 1840. In January, 1842, the first postoffice was
established in Cascade,and L.A. Styles was the first Postmaster. J.B. Heniors,
in 1840, was the first dispenser of pills and potions. The first lawyer was the
talented and cultured Scotchman, W.W. Hamilton, who located here in 1842. He
was, for some time, editor of the Dubuque Times; was a member of the State
Senate several years, and served as general adjustor for the Illinois Central
Railroad. The first temperance meeting was held at the house of Arthur Thomas,
on the 19th of February, 1842, at which twenty persons were present. Upon
organizing, William Collins was chosen President, Asa leek, Vice President, and
William Hutton, Secretary. The first merchant was G.G. Banghart, who still
retains a leading prominence. Judge Taylor, who resides just over the
line, in Richland, Jones County, hold a larger place in in the public confidence
and affection. Many of the early settlers still live in the vicinity. In 1849,
there was a large exodus of Americans to California, since which date the
foreign element has largely controlled the destiny of Cascade.
CHURCHES- Catholic and Protestants are liberally
supplied with houses of worship.
The Methodist Episcopal was the pioneer church. It was
completed in the summer of 1844, but services were held in it before it was
sided up or the floor laid. The society have had a continuous itinerant
pastorate from 1841 to the present time.
The Congregational Church was built in 1845. Rev. E.B.
Turner was the first Pastor. The Baptist Church was built in 1854; the present
efficient Pastor is Rev. John Bodenham. The Presbyterians have a neat church
edifice, a prosperous society and an acceptable Pastor, Rev. W. Donaldson. In
1871, an Episcopal church was erected, but has no resident Pastor.
The St. Mary's German Catholic Church was built in
1859; it is of stone, and will seat 200; the congregation numbers 100 families.
They have a parochial school in the basement of the church. The Pastor is the
Rev. John Beauman, who resides at Worthington. The St. Martin's Catholic Church
(Irish) was dedicated November 9, 1867. It is a substantial stone edifice and
will seat fully 600. Congregation consists of 200 families. The building
Committee were Daniel Seely, John seely, Nicholas Shaffer, Hugh Devlin, Gregg
Seely, P. Mullally, James Kinsella, and Thomas Drysdell.
St. Martin's Parochial School was established in June, 1869.
The building is of brick, two-story, and 40x60 feet. School is taught by six
Sisters of the B.V.M. Present popular Pastor is Rev. J.P. Hennessey.
SOCIETIES- The Cascade Lodge, No. 127, of Ancient, Free
and Accepted Masons, was organized April 17, 1858, under a dispensation granted
April 10, 1858. The charter members were W.H. Hogan, W.M.; W.J. Bemis, W.W.; C.
Mulloy, J.W.; S. Hopkins, S.D.; A. Jackson, J.D.; H.D. Crane, Treasurer, and
George Welch, Secretary. The date of the charter is June 2, 1858.
The Ancient Order of United Workmen organized a lodge
in Cascade, on the 20th of October, 1879. The officers are: E. Rafferty, Past
M.W.; I.W. Baldwin, M.W.; J.F. Anson, F.; J. Meinhart, G.; W.H. Huntington, R.;
C.H. Huntington, Fin; T. Kingsley, Rec.; G.Wise, G.
THE PRESS- The Cascade Pioneer, founded by C.H. Monger, now
of the Anamosa Journal, is the only newspaper published in Cascade. It is an
eight page quarto, and is nominally neutral or independent. I.W. Baldwin has
been editor and proprietor since June, 1877. He is genial and capable. His
experience as a Democratic manager in Northern Illinois causes his neutrality to
be tinged with a liberal Democracy. The editor is public spirited and popular,
and an excellent moral tone pervades the Pioneer, which is devoted to Cascade
first and the world afterward.
MANUFACTURES- The brewery of Frank May involves more
capital than any other single enterprise in Cascade. It was established in 1856,
in a little log building, which was the first house built in Cascade, in 1836,
by William DeLong. It is now a four-story stone structure, 116x24 feet, with a
wing, same height, 22x30. The malt cellar is 20x50 feet, and the fermenting-room
also 20x50. The ice cellar is 18x30 feet, and stores 200 tons of ice.
Beneath this is the cooling cellar, and still deeper, hewn out of the solid
rock, is the lager-beer vault, 88x18x12 1/2 feet, and twenty feet below surface
of ground. A seven-horse power engine is employed. About two thousand five
hundred barrels of beer are manufactured annually. It is one of the most
extensive inland breweries in the united States, and is first-class in all its
The flour-mill is owned by T.J. Chew, Jr., and is
leased to William M. ??? It has four runs of stone, and four twenty-one horse
power turbines wheeling capacity is six barrels of patent flour per day. The
flour has an established reputation. W.L. Baldwin is the miller in charge.
The wagon factory of Charles H. Huntington is a
two-story wooden building, 65x38 feet, with two wings, one 18x30 and the other
18x28 feet. He employs from seven to twenty men, according to the
Heitchew & Murphy also have a furniture factory and
saw-mill, which is doing an extensive business in the line of picture-frames and
John Loes has, since 1850, been in the wagon and
blacksmithing business in Cascade. He has a large establishment and a good
Seven general stores, three drug stores, three milliner
stores, two furniture stores, two boot and shoe stores, four dressmaking
establishments, four carriage and blacksmithing establishments, one hardware
store, four carpenter shops, two clothing stores, two harness-shops, two livery
stables, two merchant tailors, two jewelers, two stove and tinware stores, one
grist-mill, one saw-mill, two butcher shops, three restaurants, two hotels, one
cigar manufactory, four toy stores, three carpet weavers, one printing office,
one malter and brewer, six boarding houses, one cooper-shop, two barber-shops,
one cabinet manufactory, two photograph galleries, one marble works, three
insurance offices, two butter and egg merchants, twelve saloons, two grain
merchants, one sewing machine agent, and one organ salesman, one Notary Public,
five boot and shoe makers, four schools, twelve teachers, one money-order post
office, seven churches, six ministers, four doctors, one lawyer, and one
railroad depot, are now located in Cascade.
History of Dubuque County,
Iowa; Weston A. Goodspeed, ed. by F. T. Oldt and P. J. Quigley; Chicago:
Goodspeed Hist. Assoc. 1911
(township 87 north, range 2 west) was organized as road districts and election
precincts before the township as such had an official existence.
An an election precinct it was Great Maquoketa in 1838
and elections were held at the house of Jacob Hamilton. It was also called White
Water precinct. In August, 1839, elections were held at the house of Joseph
Hewitt. Patrick Flinn, James H. Kirkpatrick and Willis Thompson were judges of
election. The military road was built in 1839 and thereafter Cascade had a
postoffice of its own. Arthur Thomas was postmaster of the "Falls" in
1840. In 1840 the township was in the third county commissioners' district. As
first created, in 1843, the township embraced parts of the present townships of
Cascade, White Water, Taylor and Dodge. It was given its present boundaries in
Nicholas Delong was the first settler of Cascade
township. He first came in 1834, when he plowed a small tract and planted it in
corn. The next spring he returned and sowed a field of wheat. In 1836 he brought
out his family, consisting of a wife, daughter Susan and five sons, William,
John, Parley, Jacob and Perry. His cabin was located on the present townsite.
John Sherman arrived about 1836 and bought a part of the water power and in
partnership with Arthur Thomas about 1837 erected the first flouring mill and
began business. At the same time they established a store and built a hotel. The
next year the Delong brothers built the first saw mill about two miles above.
Previous to his arrival here Nicholas Delong had been a miner, probably at
Dubuque and perhaps at Galena. In about 1841 Caleb Bucknam, whose daughter
married G.G. Banghart, bought the Delong property, and in 1842 laid out the
village. Alvin Burt, Peter Summers, Egbert Macomber, C.O. Freeman, Elan
Rafferty, Lyman Dillon, Mahlon Lupton, John Rafferty and Asa Leek were all early
settlers of this township. L.A. Styles was postmaster-about 1842. W.W. Hamilton
arrived about 1842. G.G. Banghart kept a large general store. Judge Taylor was
Joseph Dean, Caleb Bucknam, Levi A Styles, Peter Knoop,
W.W. Hamilton, Arthur Thomas, Alonzo Meecham, Asa Leek, Nathan W. Dotan, John
Gibson were all useful citizens.
The citizens of the North Fork of Maquoketa, on
February 17, 1838, assembled and organized for the protection of their
pre-emption rights and for the regulation of their claims. They adopted a
constitution and assumed the name "North Fork of Maquoketa
Association" for the mutual protection of settlers' claims on government
lands. No settler could have more than three quarter sections of land. No person
under sixteen years could hold a claim. The following were the officers: Charles
W. Harris, president; Webster M. Dowell, vice-president; Francis M. Hamilton,
secretary; Abraham Daniels, Samuel Groff, John Hanley, Fielden Braden, James
Hoffman, Thomas Owens, E. Richardson, Vincent D. Smith and James B. Powell,
The water power was the origin of Cascade, both of the
name and the village. The military road, after 1839, was extensively traveled
and caused Cascade to grow. Caleb Bucknam bought out the Delongs about 1840 and
laid out the west town. Lyman Dillon owned the saw mill and G.G. Banghart opened
a store. James Cooley was here early; also the Powells, Hamiltons, Smiths and
McGintys. Mr. Bucknam donated land to the Catholic and Protestant churches and
to their cemeteries. In 1842 the place was called West Cascade in the records of
the county. About this time a road was established from Cascade westward to the
county seat of Delaware county. The act of February 16, 1842, declared the Big
Maquoketa a navigable highway. A large temperance meeting at the house of Arthur
Thomas in 1842 organized with twenty persons and with William Collins as
president. The Methodists organized in 1841 and erected a church in 1844. The
Congregationalists built in 1845.
About fifty Irish families, just over from Europe and
now at St. Louis, went one of their number, a young Irishman, to Dubuque to
select a location for all of them. He selected points along the Maquoketa in the
southwestern part of Dubuque county. - (Bloomington Herald, June 10, 1842)
A mass meeting of the citizens of Cascade was held at
the Methodist church in that village on January 29, 1848, to take into
consideration the expediency of making Cascade a point upon the contemplated
Dubuque & Keokuk railroad, according to the charter granted by the last
legislature. William Johnson was chosen president of the meeting; John Dean;
vice-president, and N.P. Cook and W.S. Hall, secretaries. The following
committee to draft resolutions was appointed: Dr. B.F. Dewey, George Banghart,
John McGinty, James S. Hamilton and Joshua Johnson. The meeting was addressed by
George Banghart, C.O. Freeman, Dr. B.F. Dewey and Rev. L.H. Woodford. The
resolutions warmly favored the selection of Cascade as a point on this
contemplated railroad line.
In 1847 William Lawther & Co. conducted a large
store in Cascade. The leading hotel at this date was managed by Henry Miller.
William W. Hamilton, a Scotchman and a lawyer, was here early and became very
At a large railroad meeting in Cascade in December,
1852, G.G. Banghart served as a chairman and Dr. G.W. Trumbull as secretary. W.S.
Hall, T.S. Denson, L. Barnett, Lemuel Litton and Alfred Darling were present.
The inhabitants here were endeavoring to secure the Dubuque & Pacific
railway, or any other. The McGinty-Clark murder and suicide occurred near
Cascade in 1855. By August, 1856, the village had a population of about 450
people, McCann was hotelkeeper. At this date there were seven or eight
merchants, the big flour mill owned by the Chews, saw mill, brick yard, private
schools, the academy, mechanics, blacksmiths, etc. James Hill laid out a large
addition to the village. John Bates resided there.
In an examination before David F. Barr, justice, at
Cascade, in June, 1857, Michael Flanigan was given a preliminary trial for the
murder of James Newell by striking him on the head with an ax handle. Both
resided in Jones county. The defendant was bound over to court in the sum of
$4,000, on the charge of manslaughter. The alleged crime was committed at
Francis M. McNally's grocery. Charles Winchel, a storekeeper, saw the blow
struck. William Bucknam, a shopkeeper, was a witness. At this date Ruthorp owned
a shop, Taylor had a store and Dr. Baker practiced medicine, also Dr. Beman.
Frank May's brewery was there in 1856.
A grand mass meeting to be held at Cascade July 25,
1857, was called to consider the proposed new constitution. The best speakers
from Dubuque were advertised to be present. Resolutions against the proposed new
constitution were passed. In July, 1857, a mob of over 300 men surrounded the
dwelling of Jack Parrot, of Cascade, intent on hanging him on the charge of
horse stealing. At this time Parrot was constable of the township.
Cascade in 1858 had a population of nearly 1,000. Over
seventy-five new buildings, it was claimed, were erected in 1858. They were
built on both sides of the river. The falls in the river gave rise to the name
Cascade and were about nine feet high. There were two large mills at the town-a
flouring mill on one side of the river and a saw mill on the other. There were
four large dry goods stores, one drug store and several grocery stores. There
were four churches already up and two more being erected. A large brick academy
and a brick public school were in flourishing condition. There were five
blacksmith shops, three wagonmaker shops, two cabinet shops, besides carpenters,
shoemakers, tailors, etc.
In 1858 Cascade Academy was under the superintendence
of Mr. and Mrs. H.D. Wilson, A.M. The fourth session of this school began
Monday, September 7, 1858. Instruction in all branches usually taught in
colleges was given. The tuition was from $4 to $8. The trustees were Anthony S.
Chew, G.W. Trumbull and W.W. Hamilton.
In July, 1858,
wheat near Cascade was not over half a crop; oats were injured by rust, but the
corn prospect was good. The Cascade Juvenile Vigilance Committee enforced the
hog law--they penned up about thirty head at one time and asked owners to pay
charges and take them away. The Cascade Philomathean Society held regular
meetings; the Masons had just organized, and despite the hard times and
uncertain currency about twenty new dwellings were erected in 1858. The
Catholics were about to commence on a new church there, the Methodists already
had laid the basement of their large brick church in the eastern part.--(Cascade
cor. E. & H., July 20, 1858.) A tornado swept through the
county about two miles west of Cascade in July, 1858, prostrating crops and
timber. Cyrus Goff was a brick manufacturer; Hastings and Scott were
at work in the "gold mine" near Cascade; the Irish neighborhood near
Cascade was in a prosperous condition.
In 1858 Thomas Palmer was indicted for keeping a
gambling house at Cascade. He kept a saloon there. He was found guilty by a jury
in the District court before Judge T.S. Wilson. In 1858 there were three new
mail routes extending out from Cascade: from Cascade to Iowa City, from Cascade
to Tipton, from Cascade to Wyoming. In August there were eight mail routes
coming into or passing through the village.
The academy at Cascade was conducted by Professor
Wilson in 1858. During the spring term there were about seventy pupils m
attendance. While out hunting with a party of men a Mr. Connelly, of
Cascade, accidentally shot a young man named Banghart with a full charge, but
did not kill him.
On July 4, 1862, Cascade turned out to celebrate. The
Declaration was read by Prof. C.W. Von Coelin and speeches were delivered by M.B.
Mulkern, Austin Adams, and J.M. King Washington's farewell address was read by
Doctor Trumbull. Simon Chamberlain was postmaster in 1863.
The following citizens of Cascade, in August, 1864,
notified the public that the new Cascade Academy, with the ablest and most
experienced teachers, would be open for the reception of students September
15:G.W. Trumbull, John Taylor, G.G. Banghart, W.S. Hall, T.J. Chew, T. Litton,
and L. and L. Benham. Prof. J. Nolan, A.M., was principal. Sixty students were
enrolled by November 1.
In 1864 the paper
mill two miles from Cascade was established by Mullally, Hutchins & Co. They
first made wrapping paper, mainly from rye and oat straw, but later advanced to
printing paper. The main building was 30x40 feet and two stories high. McNulty
was connected with the company. He seems to have secured Hutchins'
interest. Their paper was on the market in Dubuque in November and was exhibited
at the county fair. In October, 1869, the mill was destroyed by fire caused by
the explosion of a kerosene lamp. The loss was estimated at $30,000.
The Spring Valley
mills on section 26 were built in about 1870 by F. Gilliger and had three run of
In December, 1866, there was published in the Dubuque Herald
the following description of Cascade abridged: Cascade is on the Maquoketa
river, where there were falls about ten feet high, with power sufficient for
forty or fifty pairs of buhrs. The town was in a heavily timbered section and
was surrounded with a well settled and prosperous farming community. The Cascade
flouring mill, owned by T. Chew, but leased by Crane Brothers, had four run of
stone. T. Chew ran a saw mill; Thomas Crawford & Co. ran a cabinet factory;
there were several stores and shops; German Catholic church, Rev. M. Lynch;
Irish Catholic church, same pastor; a new Catholic church just finished, 100x50
feet, built of stone; new Methodist church, Rev. Wortz; Baptist church, Rev.
Reas; New Presbyterian church, Rev. Sawhill; Second Advent church, Rev. Huff;
Cascade Academy, R.G. Gislon, principal, and two district schools.
In November, 1867, Cascade had a population of about
1,000, seven dry goods stores, seven groceries, three drug stores, three hotels,
three schoolhouses, six churches, a large grist mill, a saw mill, two cabinet
and other shops, three wagon and carriage makers, four blacksmiths, four shoe
shops, a distillery, doctors, lawyers, etc. In 1868 one span of the Cascade
mill, then under construction, fell into the river, carrying down eight men. No
lives were lost, but the property loss was about $2,500. The Cascade Pioneer
was established early by C. H. Monger and did a great deal to build up the town
and improve the community under J. W. Baldwin.
1878, was a great day for Cascade. The first ground was turned on the narrow
gauge railroad which extended from Bellevue to that town. About 2,500 people
were present when John W. Tripp threw the first shovelful of earth. A large
procession, under Chief Marshal R. R. Creston, paraded the streets and
marched out to the grove, where the speaking took place. Fred O'Donnell was
orator of the day, but speeches were also made by Gen. L. A. Wright, Dennis A.
Mahony, Dennis O'Brien, Mr. Tripp and others. The first locomotive arrived at
Cascade in December, 1879.
The stock fair
held at Cascade in 1880 was well attended and a success. Many excellent animals
were exhibited. At this date, December, 1880, the village was incorporated as a
town. There were 161 votes, of whom 128 favored incorporation and 32 opposed it.
In 1881 a squad of people at Cascade tarred and feathered a man, whereupon he
commenced suit against them for damages. In 1886 a new bank was established,
with B. B. Richards, of Dubuque, as president.
The fair at Cascade in 1891 was attended by 5,000
people on the best day. It had already given fame to this little town. "No
man's land," at Cascade, began to be famous about this time. The five
hundred yard law concerning liquor selling was the cause in this town, situated
in two townships, in two counties and on the two sides of the river. There was
almost open war between the Jones county officials and the saloonkeepers of
Cascade. The Cascade opera house was built in the early nineties. The Cascade
bank and the Farmers 'and Merchants' bank gave much needed accommodation to
business men. In 1894 the Cascade water works were put in for $10,792 by the
Smedley Manufacturing Company. Two hose carts and about 1,000 feet of hose were
secured. The corporation tax in 1895 was $1,082.45. The Cascade Light &
Power Company was established in 1895 with D. M. Finley president. It began with
a capital of $7,000 and with about twenty-five to thirty lights.
In December, 1895, thirty-six of the heaviest shippers
of Cascade--merchants, live stock dealers, foundrymen, mill owners, lumbermen,
liquor dealers and other shippers--petitioned the State Board of Railroad
Commissioners, asking that the railway service be improved. Twenty-six carloads
of corn for Cascade were not forwarded for want of cars. A short crop
necessitated the importation of this grain.
In 1896 the Cascade Courier was established by
Bruce Baldwin. The county joined Cascade in 1897 and both held a joint fair that
was a signal success. This was the sixth successful fair held at Cascade. There
was a good track and a number of fast horses A baseball tournament was
scheduled, with prizes of $100, $60 and $40. Five thousand people attended. The
fairs of 1898 and 1899 were successful, though interest began to wane.
Cascade in 1904
had a water system, electric light plant, two newspapers--Pioneer and Katholischer--Cascade
mills, two banks, two creameries, one railroad and German Catholic, Irish
Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches.
Cascade in 1910
had five churches, public and parochial schools, two banks, two weekly
newspapers, many general stores, grocery, hardware, drug, clothing, boot and
shoe stores, hotels, restaurants, mills, saw and flour, physicians, lawyers,
milliners, shops of various kinds, saloons, builders, band, creamery, electric
light plant which cost $7,000, an insurance institution, lumber dealers, city
water works, opera house, telephones, live stock dealers, livery, undertaker,
jewelers, marble yards, barbers, real estate dealers, photographers, etc. It is
one of the best towns of its size in the state.
Anderson, Elanine J. Old World Iowans; Mason
City: Klipto, 1949.
who are born here, stay," one of the older settlers who has spent his
entire life in
Cascade observed; and from other citizens of the town come hundreds of tales to
bear out this
statement. Though the young people may venture off to the City for a while, or
attend schools of higher education, an exceptionally high percentage hurry back
to Cascade after a short time. The Rooneys, Sullivans, McDonalds, O'Connells,
Calahans, and the like make up over 50 percent of Cascade's thriving population;
thus continuing to keep the upper hand in the town's number despite the lapse of
over 100 years since their arrival, and the fact that Germans (who have so often
crowded out other nationalities in Iowa communities) have been in Cascade almost
as long as its Irish founders.
There is a record of exploration (with intent to
settle) in this region as early as 1829. It was
not until 1834, however, that the first permanent settler, Nicholas Delong,
here, and owned and occupied three log cabins. Two years later, in 1836, the
government sent out a party to survey the land and locate the meridian lines for
Iowa. Alvin Burt, the civil engineer in charge of the task, completed his duties
and turned in his report; but meanwhile, he had been so pleased with this new
territory that he hurried back and established a permanent residence in Cascade.
Realizing that with a little effort and civic pull
Cascade could become one of the most
progressive towns in Eastern Iowa, the Irish have, from the beginning, worked
hard to help their town along. Because of their efforts, the comparatively small
prize of Cascade, and its lack of extensive industrialism is a sad subject for
its citizens to reflect upon—but so the fates had decreed. The dam which they
built in the first years of settlement proved to be much too small for
industrial purposes, and consequently, farming and private enterprise commerce
grew up instead. Nevertheless, small industries developed to the extent that
Cascade could easily and completely be self-sufficient.
Lyman Dillion, whose grandchildren still live in
Cascade, was the man who plowed the
furrow of ground to mark the route of the first road through Cascade. This was
Military Road from Dubuque to Iowa City; and its passing through here gave the
encouraged outlook. The transportation problem, however, became stagnant in the
several years following. Stage coaches made regular runs through town, but when
trains became the mode of travel, Cascade was not the new route. Streets were
laid out along the Military Road, meanwhile, which accounts for Cascade’s
Agitation for a railroad started in 1847, and kept up
until 1880, when the people of Cascade had one of the biggest days of
celebration in the town's history upon the arrival of the first narrow gauge
locomotive, sent through by Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul line.
One of the main reasons for the establishment of The
Cascade Pioneer, a weekly newspaper,
was to campaign for the railroad; and it has served as a successful medium of
projects as well as an adequate source of the news, local, national and
international. The Pioneer got off to a flying start, for three days after it
was founded (June 23,1876) the big story cracked open that General Custer had
been wiped out by Indians under Sitting Bull on the Little Big Horn in Montana.
Since several groups of settlers traveling farther West (one group, to
California in the Gold Rush, as early as 1849) who had stopped temporarily at
Cascade, had been massacred by the Indians in a similar ruthless manner, the
General Custer affair found a ready and sympathetic newspaper audience. Tilden
and Hayes ran for president that year, this too helped to further still more
The Pioneer was started by Isaac W. Baldwin, and
up until the last few years (for over 60
years), it had always been in the hands of his descendants-Charles D. Baldwin,
his son; and
Howard C. Baldwin, his grandson.
Because of his invaluable help in the railroad
campaign, and his native ability in civic affairs, Isaac Baldwin became the
first mayor of Cascade when it was incorporated on January 18, 1881. The Pioneer
today published by another good Irishman, Leo J. Sullivan, and includes a
section devoted to the news of a nearby town, The Farley Advertiser. With its
many personals and farm advertisements, the Pioneer is a typical
small-town newspaper. In one advertisement, for example, the top section of the
lay-out was devoted to an excerpt from the poem "Winken, Blinked, and
Nod" advertising the advantages of the beautiful Lullaby bed for baby; the
bottom of the ad carried (in bold-face letters) a reference to the proprietor's other
occupation, "Licensed embalmer, Hearse, Ambulance service."
During Cascade's Centennial celebration, the Pioneer
published a 24-page edition, in
commemoration of the town's progress. At this time, too, the Cascade Commercial
all stores during a large part of the centennial celebrations—which were from
June 28 to July 4, 1934. Sending 50 planes to various cities throughout Iowa to
advertise the celebration, the
Booster club met with marvelous success's by being received with hospitality
later visited in their celebration by hundreds of Iowans from these towns.
Perhaps upwards to
half the state’s legislature and high officials were on hand; and the town
surprised outsiders by bringing in notable entertainers from all over the United
States. In their historical pageant alone, over 300 people participated as
members of the performing cast. The Pioneer was doubtlessly responsible
for a large share of the centennial's success.
Peculiar as it may seem, the first church in the Irish
community was a Congregational church built in 1846. The same year, the second,
a Methodist church, was constructed. In the town's history, there have been at
least three other denominations of Protestants represented by churches, yet
today two Catholic churches account for nearly the entire population of the
A French missionary, Father Peradine, built the first
Catholic church in Cascade in 1848— where St. Martin’s (Irish) now stands,
and his church was destroyed by a group of "Know Nothings" in their
march North. Not until 1851, however, did a resident pastor come, and thereafter
one of the two Catholic churches was frequently without a priest. St. Martin's,
with a seating capacity of 1,000, generally well attended today. There are more
Germans in this Irish congregation all of the time, too, as more intermarriages
occur in Cascade. Although there are special services in the church on St.
Patrick’s Day and often parties—there no strong racial feeling here at other
times of the year. and the inhabitants try to keep everything "strictly
Connected with St. Martin's church a fully-accredited
high school (one of the two parochial
high schools in Cascade) to which the majority of Irish children are sent. A
nearby convent of the Sister of Charity—eight sisters here —furnishes
teachers for the school. The convent, too, is over 100 years old.
Up until three years ago, a public school was also
maintained, but the parochial schools
forced it out of existence. The public school building—built in the 1830's—was
the building in
which a Southern spy was captured during the Civil War.
During the Civil War, there was a decided difference of
opinion between two groups in
Cascade. Thomas Chew, an early settler, belonged to the Southern sympathizers,
and for a long time he harbored John Y. Beall, a wounded confederate spy, and
brought him to safety later. On the other aide of the question, were those who
volunteered to serve in the Northern troops, and who helped round up Southern
spies and deserters (as in the schoolhouse incident). The first Iowa Volunteer
Cavalry which made a name for itself in the war, had several Cascade members in
its regiments. Many others fought with the infantry. Since most of the settlers
came from Limerick County in Ireland with its reputation as being the
"Fighting Irish" —this participation could be expected.
When the first World War broke out, because of the
number of Germans who were coming
into Cascade, and the usual attitude toward England which the Irish take, there
was considerable opposition and bitter feeling over the war; but when America
entered the fight, Cascade was remarkably cooperative in all war activities, and
in supplying men. The same thing was true in World War II; and St. Martin's
parish alone had 139 men in service with five, killed in action. Cascade has a
voluntary fire department, which practices occasionally, and fights fires
successfully. Behind the fire station, is a small jail, which generally has only
drunks as visitors. One public official termed this as a "very useful
Both the municipal building and the fire station are
housed in a very attractive building—built by the jobless unskilled workers of
Cascade during the depression. In this building, the City Council holds its
meeting; and during the winter, high school basketball is played in the
auditorium. The entire two-section building was dedicated to the American
Knights of Columbus are the strongest men’s
organization in Cascade. Women here have
several clubs of diversified interests, among which are the Cascade Women’s
bridge clubs,and the Women's County Farm Bureau. The latter organization holds
meetings to learn how to refinish furniture, make time-saving meals, and make
kitchens "handy", etc.
To combat periodic floods, Cascade has tried different
methods of protection. Finally, steel
bridges were installed and the drainage system was revamped in order that the
seemed always to prevail—might not be so destructive, at least. One of the
worst floods in
Cascade's history, in 1896, resulted in two peoples deaths, three seriously
injured, and $600,000 worth of damage.
Cascade has several celebrities of which it justly
proud —Urban C. "Red" Faber, being the
most famous. With an outstanding career in baseball, "Red" won three
games in the World Series of 1917—a record that has been tied but never
beaten. "Red" came home to Cascade for the Centennial in 1984. Another
Cascade boy, James Crusinberry, was sports writer for the Chicago Tribune, and
in the course of his career wrote up many of the stories about "Red"
Tommy Grogan, lightweight boxer of national prominence several years back, was
also from Cascade. One interesting story in the town’s history how the Irish
helped the Ringling Brothers circus become an entity. When the circus (for
numerous and varied reasons—most pressing of which was financial backing) was
about to fold up, Al Ringling, the publicity man in the five-brother outfit,
made friends with Isaac W. Baldwin (then mayor and newspaper editor) and R. J.
McVey, a private banker. Helping and encouraging the brothers, the Irish of
Cascade turned out almost 100 percent to welcome the circus to Cascade; and so
highly was the event publicized that many for miles around came to join the
festivities. With the money they made in Cascade, Al Ringling bought the first
elephants to appear with his circus, and soon switched from trucks to trains for
When the Ringling Brothers circus was playing in a
nearby town many years later, Al
recognized two men in the crowd as friends from Cascade, and announced to the
circus crowds that the two men would be at the gate to admit and identify
everyone from Cascade free of charge. "Anyone from Cascade has the run of
the grounds wherever we are," Al said, and then he added the
highlights of the story about the boost to success which Cascade citizens had
given the circus.
The Irish at Cascade are mostly farmers or small
businessmen. All of the territory to the
South and East of the town is farmed by Irishmen—and very successfully; though
the Germans have taken over same other good farming sections.
Cascade cannot be fairly described without including a
little about Garryowen, a small "all Irish" community started by the
Catholics nearby. Garryowen, like the little brother of Cascade, and there
exists a state of mutual admiration and cooperation between the two towns.
In 1840, the first log church was built in Garryowen;
later replaced by a magnificent atone
structure, St. Patrick's church, and the town became St. Patrick’s Garryowen.
(The church over 90 years old. Located in the middle of an area of farmland,
Garryowen is rather isolated from all except Cascade itself. To this church,
however, hundreds from surrounding farms come regularly; and it is related how
on Christmas Eve the families of the pariah would leave in the early evening, by
ox-cart, to attend the midnight mass. After mass, the frozen lunches were eaten,
and the trip home-seven or eight miles—was begun again.
Father P. F. Malone is the present priest at Garryowen.
Besides himself, a small convent of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin
Mary are at Garryowen to staff the large, brick parish school. This branch of
sisters have been represented here since September of 1853.
Garryowen not an original name; but rather the
community was named for a settlement in Ireland from which many of the
district's farm people came. As one Irish citizen of Cascade
stated concerning the situation at Garryowen, "There is no other race in
there. That is a beautiful feature of the town!" But, to see the little gem
cut out of the agricultural region around it, is to realize that it is beautiful
in other aspects, too.
Although there are large groups of Irish people in
several larger cities, because of the vast
expanse of Irish farmland and small communities around it, and the "all
Irish" citizens which comprise the town, Cascade is truly the hub of the
genial Irish people in Iowa.