Drawing of fireman titled “American Fireman, Always Ready.”

Dollar-a-Call Boys Get New Truck: Iowa History

“Fire! Fire!”

Arlo Everling, a guest at the Saylor Hotel in Harlan, Iowa, staggered from his second floor room at 1:30 a.m. on February 21, 1949. Nearly overcome with smoke, he raised the alarm. Twenty other guests were routed from their beds as smoke filled the rooms.

Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager.

Typical travel trunks

Matilda Fletcher Defies Baggage-Smashers: Iowa History

“Baggage, Baggage-smashing, and Baggage-Smashers”

A Kansas newspaper ran a lengthy story about the disastrous experiences of train passengers entrusting their bags to railroad baggage handlers in the late 1800s. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager. She is the author of four non-fiction books for young people. Double Victory was featured on C-SPAN’s “Book TV” and The Industrial Revolution for Kids was selected for “Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.” Her most recent book, Women in Blue traces the evolution of women in policing.

Grilling in Sweatbox Yields Confession

Grilling in Sweatbox Yields Confession In This Tale From Iowa History

When a passenger train crashed near Knoxville, Iowa, on Monday, May 24, 1909, J.M. Harrison, a detective with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, was baffled. Some clues led him to believe it was caused by a band of robbers who intended to steal valuables from passengers. Yet no robbery had taken place. It was an unsolved mystery for several days. But by Thursday Harrison and Knoxville’s deputy sheriff had two little rascals in custody.

Hospital in Philippine Islands during Spanish-American War.

A War Hero in Skirts: Iowa History

When the students of Mrs. Jennie Huegle’s classroom in Des Moines contributed the money they collected at their spring program to the Della Weeks Fund in June 1898, they were part of a city-wide effort to make sure she joined the soldiers of the 51st Regiment. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager. She is the author of four non-fiction books for young people. Double Victory was featured on C-SPAN’s “Book TV” and The Industrial Revolution for Kids was selected for “Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.” Her most recent book, Women in Blue traces the evolution of women in policing.

American troops at Manila, Philippines, at the turn of the 19th century.

Dogs’ Journey From Iowa to the Philippines: A War Story

“Nearly a thousand men were falling over each other in their efforts to reach the rail and ‘feed the fish’.” Pvt. Joseph Ignacious Markey, wrote in 1900 about the 51st Infantry Volunteers, Company M, from Red Oak, Iowa. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays.

Marquis of Lorne was governor general of Ottawa, Canada

When Cattle Derailed A Queen’s Son-In-Law In Iowa

“Is there danger?” Marquis of Lorne demanded of his servants.

“We’re slaughtered!” he predicted.

The Marquis of Lorne believed he was being attacked by Irish Republican anti-British government agitators as he rode the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad in October 1881.

In the early 1900s a man could make a living as a rat catcher.

Iowa’s Most Wanted List In 1911

The rat, mice, and ground squirrel populations of Iowa were about to be drastically reduced if the state department of health commissioner had his way. In December 1911 Dr. Guilford Sumner issued a statement that was circulated throughout the state. He wanted to exterminate every rodent that potentially carried the bubonic plague, cholera or leprosy.

Wright County, Iowa, map from 1885

Iowa History: A Real Western Suffragette

In August 1910 the St. Louis Dispatch newspaper devoted a full page to a “Real Western Suffragette.” The reporter was writing about Carrie Vaughn Anderson, a former school teacher who was running for county recorder in Wright County, Iowa.