You are on page 1of 5

The first in depth history of Imogene was compiled in 1968 by Mae Maher, Geraldine

Laughlin and Mary Dempsey.
Due to the keen minds and memories of Albert and Matilda Addy,
they were able to get a long account of the history of Imogene.
Imogene was platted on November 5, 1879. J. A. Rose built the first house the same year and
moved a store from Solomon taking Mr. Shick into partnership with him. Together they operated a
mercantile store.
In 1875, several families came from Zwingle, IA. Among these were George Kammerer, Aaron
Bussard, Fred Prangue, Noah Saner, Johnathan Allshouse, Edgar Faust and D. S. Bussard. Others
followed soon after. Many of these belonged to the German Reformed Church and held their first
meetings in the Pangborn School which later was Spring Valley school near Mike Delehant’s farm.
They soon changed to Centennial School (NW corner 110 th St & 390th Ave) because it was nearer and
more central to their homes.
On May 2, 1876 the Pleasant Valley Reformed Church was organized. By 1880, it had a
membership of 19. A frame church was built west of Imogene at a cost of $1,500 and membership
grew to 63. The first pastor, in 1888, was Daniel P. LaFever. The following pastors were Rev. J. F. Butler,
Rev. S. P. Harrington (1898-1900), J. C. Beade (1900-1903), Walter M. Gaddis (1903), Rev. J. H.
Lautzenhiser (died before being installed), T. C. Joset (1908-1910), C. Edward Holyoke (to 1911).
James C. Bruder served from 1960-1963 at St. Paul United Church of Christ. Rev. Bruder was born in
Chicago on April 12, 1931. He answered his country’s call and served four years in the Navy during
the Korean War. He answered his final summons on May 8, 1963 at the hospital in Granite City, IL.
The members of St. Paul United Church of Christ when organized were D. S. Bussard, Annie
Bussard, George Kammerer, Susan Kammerer, John Kammerer. Salome Kammerer, Leah Kammerer,
Sarah A. Kammerer, Susana H. Kammerer,
Aaron Bussard, Daniel Bussard, Mary C. Bussard, Edgar Faust, Mary Faust, John Eastman, Emaline
Eastman, Johnathan Allshouse, S. S. Resh, and Delia Resh.
Several donations were made to the church over the years. Maggie Lewis donated a big Bible,
Mrs. James Bruder donated the lectern and the beautiful velvet panel on the front wall and the
candlesticks as a memorial to her husband who had been pastor. The lovely Conn organ was a
memorial to Maurice and Eileen Addy by their parents, Mr. & Mrs. Albert Addy. A cabinet used as a
desk and a library was donated by the Willing Workers Club.
The small white frame church was moved into Imogene in 1895. Eventually the name was
changed from the Pleasant Valley Reformed Church to St. Paul United Church of Christ. Rev. Gatch
was the minister in 1968.
About 1880 the Methodist Church was established and services were held in the waiting room of
the depot. The ministers at first were from Essex, but later the circuit included Climax, so the
Imogene church was served by ministers who also served Climax, but lived away from Imogene. Peter
Jacobs was the minister about 1915. All records were lost so it is impossible to give an accurate
account of the church. Rev. Orville Howard was the last pastor. In 1946 the members joined with St.
Paul Church and their church building was sold to Bernie Laughlin.
A frame church was built across the street from St. Patrick Catholic Church. At first it was used
as a Presbyterian church, but soon changed to Lutheran. In just a few years the entire congregation
moved to Madison, NE. The church building was sold to the Catholic parish about 1913 to be used as
a primary school.
Across the street to the south from the Methodist Church, a Free Methodist Church was built. It
was built by Mr. Tom Honn with lumber he ordered from Chicago. The lumber was white pine and
without a knot. The congregation soon all moved to Kansas and they sold the building to the
Hibernians in 1905. About 1927 an orchestra came from Red Oak to play for a dance. It was called the
Monte Carlo Dance Band and Lawrence Welk was one of the band members. The building burned in
1934.
In 1869 there were only two Catholic families. Mike Mahoney and family were first followed
soon by the Tom Gilmore family. As there were no Catholic services they had to go to Nebraska City
which was a two day trip. In May of 1873 services were held in this area in the railroad section house
in Shenandoah with Mass being offered by Rev. P. B. McMenomy. Four years later in 1877,
arrangements were made for holding services in Honey Creek schoolhouse. At times Mass was
celebrated in the homes of people in the area. Masses were held twice a month at the school house
and continued for two years. In 1879 the place of meeting for Mass was changed to Monroe Center

schoolhouse because this was a more central location. Fr. Pape was the first regular pastor in
southwest Iowa for Hamburg, Shenandoah and Imogene. Fr. Tierney was the next pastor and Mass
was celebrated in Shenandoah. Rev. Gerald Stack was assigned to Hamburg with Imogene as an out
mission. Father James Ryan was the next to take charge and when he came a frame church costing
$1,800 was being built in Imogene. In February 1884, Father Ryan was heading from Shenandoah to
Imogene on a sick call. While crossing the Nishnabotna the ice gave way and he was drenched in the
icy water. He finished his sick call, but in a few days died of pneumonia. Father Hayes later erected a
monument over Father Ryan’s grave. It is of Barry granite from Vermont and is in the Gothic style.
Rev. Schiffmacher, then pastor at Shenandoah, took charge of the mission and during this time
raised the money with which he bought the altar and seats for the church, which up to that time, had
been temporary. Father Clark followed him and had charge of the mission for over a year. He was
followed by Father John Cook, who lived in Shenandoah, but continued to celebrate Mass in the
Imogene church until 1888.
When Imogene was detached from Hamburg and Shenandoah and raised to the dignity of a
parish, Rev. Edmund Hayes was named the first resident pastor. He began immediately to collect
money for a parish house and grounds. In a short time he collected about $3,000 with which he
bought the half block adjoining the church property, built the parish house and furnished it quite
comfortably. The parish continued to grow and Fr. Hayes recognized the needs of the increasing
congregation and he was determined to build a new church. The frame church was then to be used
as a parish hall. It had been built at the NW corner of the property, so the new church was built on top
of the hill. Father Hayes collected $14,000, and needless to say, he was the largest contributor to the
building fund. The cornerstone of the new brick church was laid in 1892 by Rt. Rev. Bishop Cosgrove
of Davenport. The growth of the congregation soon demanded a school. St. Patrick Academy opened
in 1907 and was staffed by Mercy sisters from Mt. Loretto in Council Bluffs. They left in 1918 and the
Dominican Sisters from Sinsinawa, WI came in 1921. The convent was built in 1922.
Father Hayes passed away in February, 1928. Father F. W. Doyle came to Imogene in 1926
during the last illness of Father Hayes. He passed away in September 1966. Father John Cunningham
was pastor in 1968.
One half mile north of Imogene is the Monroe Township Cemetery. The first burial there was in
1875-a Hayes child. The lots at the time sold for $1 and were 16 feet square.
Mount Calvary Cemetery is about one half mile south of Imogene. It is comprised of 8 acres.
Four acres were donated by Ed McGargill and four were purchased by Father Hayes. The grave of
Mary Lawless is marked 1879. She was originally buried in the township cemetery until Calvary
Cemetery was laid out. Her body was then moved to its present resting place.
R. B. Allen was the first depot agent. He and Miss Ella Crosswaite were the first couple married
in the village. Rev. Connor, a minister of the Methodist Church, performed the ceremony.
Sexton and Alden opened the first bank. Charles Kinney was the first grain buyer. Dr. Stone
was the first physician. Captain Hutton was the first mayor and Mr. Grubb was the first schoolmaster.
There was the Burris Restaurant and the Rucker Restaurant. Bart Cavendar had the first drug store.
Tom Malloy had a hotel where Maher’s Store was located in 1968. (south of the Emerald Isle-2014) C.
H. Lund had agricultural equipment and buggies. Mr. Koschnick had a general store. All of these were
on Railroad Street.
Rodes Addy bought the store from Mr. Koschnick in 1889. It was a small frame building about
where Clyde Addy had his shop in 1968. Next door north was a livery stable and in a year or so Mr.
Addy bought the stable and tore it down. He didn’t rebuild anything right away, but left the space
empty. Soon he outgrew the small store so he rented the Crosswaite store on the corner where Mr.
Billy Reeves had operated a general store before moving away. In a few months all the stores on
Railroad Street burned to the space left by the livery stable.
In 1896, Mr. Addy built the brick building which was still standing in 1968. In 1898 he added the
upper floor which served as a dance hall, an opera house, and a roller skating rink. E. P. Laughlin was
one of the star skaters and he had his own skates, but he left them at the rink. Some company with a
play came to Imogene and after the show the company was at the depot waiting for the train, but
their trunks were still upstairs at Addy’s store. Albert became suspicious and looked for E. P.’s skates.
They were gone so he went to the depot and asked about them. They knew nothing about them until
they were told their trunks would not be delivered, so they produced them. They got away with
Charlie Hambsch’s hat, though.
Often people would come from Shenandoah on the early train, skate for the evening and return to
Shenandoah on the late train.

There were four rooms on the upper floor besides the large room. One room was the office of
Dr. Lewis and later Dr. White, both dentists. Another room was the office of Charlie Deppe Insurance
Company. A third room was the telephone office and the fourth served as a printing office. Two men
came from Nebraska with printing equipment and rented the office to set up a printing press. They
sold subscriptions to the “Imogene Index” but took the money and left. Albert began to publish the
paper and continued for three months, then the two men came back, packed up the equipment and
left before anyone knew it.
After the fire on Railroad Street, the Head drug store and the Printy and Sturgeon General Store
were built. In the months that followed more stores were built. In the block north of Addy’s store on
the corner, Marcus Addy had a meat shop. The Piper Hotel was next north and further north was the
Germar Shoe Shop. Just east of Marcus Addy’s Meat Shop, up the hill, was William Trenholm’s General
Store on the corner, with Charlie Deppe’s Harness Shop between them. In later years the Deppe
Harness Shop became Fred Borene’s Meat Market, then it was moved to the corner south of Maher’s
Store and was used as a postoffice.
Mr. William Foskett had the first lumber yard and it was across the tracks from the depot. He
sold it to Mr. Palmer and about 1903 Hunter’s Branch, the town creek, flooded and the water came up
to the lumber yard and destroyed it. Mr. Palmer then built where the lumber yard was in 1968. He
later sold the business to Mr. Crone who operated it for some time before selling it to the Greenwood
Lumber Company who owned it in 1968.
The railroad went through Imogene in 1879 and at that time a large stockyards was built. It
was still operating in the 1940’s.
Main Street is the next street east of Railroad Street. On the west side of Main Street a few
years later from the south was a livery stable, Bullett & Schultz Hardware Store, Dr. Baker’s home and
office, Maggie Laughlin’s millinery shop with helpers Mae Laughlin & Mae Scheibeler. She also had
helpers as designers from St. Joseph to help her keep up with the latest
Styles. There was a photograph shop with Mr. Poock and later Mr. Hugh Darrah. Charlie Gee had a
grocery store with the post office in the same building. Mr. Deppe had moved his harness shop in the
next building and Mr. H. J. Smith had a meat market. The east side of Main Street from the south
contained Noah Green’s livery stable that later became a blacksmith shop, Adam Long’s barber shop,
later Charlie Hayes’ furniture store and undertaking parlor-later owned by Mike Dempsey. Where the
St. Paul Church stood in 1968, earlier was the site of Rogers Implement Store with an opera house on
the second floor. They had such heartwarming plays as Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This building burned. Dr.
O’Connor had an office further north on the corner. Dr. Allen had an office north of the Piper Hotel.
In 1900 a tornado hit the Sturgeon home on the corner across the town bridge west of Imogene.
It took the whole house, but left the floor and rocking chair where Mrs. Sturgeon was holding a baby
girl. Neither was hurt. Strange enough that same girl wrote the people in Imogene in 1967 looking for
records that would establish her age.
About 1901 a tornado hit Tom Clark’s home and turned it around on its foundation. Jim & Olive
Nebel lived there in 1968. (2014-Gary & Peggy Smiley place)
August Werner was a German Polish emigrant. He made a model of an air machine and it
worked enough to raise itself off the table several inches by means of propellers or screws that were
put into motion by a hand crank. He then made a full-sized machine based on the model. It was
finally completed in the summer of 1886. He was so enthused about it that he invited the public to a
July 4th celebration. The flying machine was carried to the corner in front of the H. J. Smith Meat
Market where a large crowd had gathered. While the audience waited expectantly, Werner made a
speech in which he boasted that he would have dinner with President Cleveland in Washington, D. C.
and supper with the Kaiser in Berlin. He and Mr. John Barker mounted the contraption and to crank
furiously. Four strong arms began to revolve by means of the series of screws. Suddenly the wooden
cogs and gears snapped and with them Werner’s dream.
Our first postmaster was Mr. Boyd with Miss Ella Crosswsaite as deputy. Charlie Abbott received
his appointment as postmaster on December 1, 1897. The salary was $400 per year. The postmaster
carried the mail to the train from the postoffice and back at train time. When McKinley was elected,
the first rural mail route was established January 1, 1900 and it was 25 miles long. The first carrier
was James Carr. He resigned in 1902 because of ill health just when the salary had been raised to
$500 per year. At the end of 1904 Imogene had four rural routes. The carriers have been James Carr,
Doc Hiatt, Dick Gilbert, Bayard Flick, John Ness, Ed Ness, Mike Dempsey, Floyd Gee, Harry Comstock,
John Dempsey, Steve Lytel, Everett Whitsler and Joe Ryan. Our postmasters have been Mr. Boyd, Mr.

Eastman, George Kammerer, Charlie Abbott, Fred Wiman, Ed Collins, Carmelita Collins Saner, Delbert
Kamman, Bill Jones and Tom Conners.
Ice houses were built along Main Street a little later. They were deep and ice was stored in
them during the cold weather for use in the summer. It was cut from a pond north of Imogene at the
corner where Jim Laughlin’s field was crossed by the town creek. It would be dammed and quite a
large pond would form, then when it froze during the winter people would skate on it before it was cut.
If it wasn’t cut before January 10 it would thaw and then be too rough and not fit for use. It was cut
by ice saws into blocks about 2 feet square and 2 feet long. It was put into the ice houses in layers
which were covered by sawdust or straw. The ice was sold to customers during the hot weather since
it was the only means of cooling food.
Grocery store owners and operators were Mr. Crosswaite, Mr. Koschnick, Mr. Billie Reeves, Rodes
Addy, William Trenholm, Printy & Sturgeon, Mr. Billie Hayes, Ed Sweeney, Abe Greenberg, Mr.
Huntsman, Albert Addy, Joe McGargill, Jerry Brannen, Frank Miller, Joe Harville, Emmett Moles, Melvin
Larson, Jim Skahill, Monica O’Connor, Hank Ditmars and Frank Maher.
The drug store owners have been Bard Cavendar, Bill Head, M. M. Halbert, the Brammer girls
and Ned Collins.
We have had three elevator owners-J. L. Gwynn-owner operated by Henry Leonard, Tom
Conners, Bill Ely & Bartlett Grain Co.
Telephone operators have been Rose Bartlett, Lavera Nye, Eva Bussard, Sim Utterback, Mrs.
Murray, Mrs. Niday, Pauline Dorsey, Jack Waugh. Now we have underground lines and the dial system
owned by Mrs. Blank of Emerson.
Barbers have been Adam Long, George Scheibeler, Joe McGargill, Frank Foutch and Frank
Snyder.
Meat market owners have been Marcus Addy, Fred Ginther, H. J. Smith, Mr. Pickerel, Denny Ryan
and Fred Borene.
The hotels have been operated by: Piper, Cummins, Maggie Lewis and Nickersons who tore the
building down. The hotel on the south corner was run by Tom Malloy and Mrs. Billy Hayes. That
building burned.
Mame and Lizzie Lyons had a restaurant as did Bill Kenward. Jim Skahill had a restaurant and
pool hall. Mr. Burris and Mr. Rucker each had a restaurant.
Hardware and furniture stores were Bullett &Schultz, August Werner, Addy & Hilliary, Hilliary,
Moles, Larson and Jim Skahill.
Beer parlors were owned by Coon Androy, Frank Foutch, Jim Skahill, Tom Skahill, Wes Hayes,
Glen Hayes, Pete Dempsey, John Saner, Rose Head and John Jacobs.
We had dray services-John Delehant, Sr., John Delehant, Jr., Robert Ness, Claude Ness, Bill
Kenward, Tom Horrigan and Ed Horrigan.
The rooming houses were operated by George Kammerer, Sade Perry and Leo Guerin.
Bank operators were Sexton & Alden, Ed McGargill-operated by Bill McGargill, J. L. Gwynnoperated by L. S. McCracken, Anna McGargill, John Bowman; Reeds operated by Mr. Gleason, Ruth
Howard, Wayne Drake; Malvern Bank and Cahill Bank.
The doctors have been Drs. Stone, Brockett, Parker, Baker, Allen, O’Connor, Weed, Weber &
Coogan.
Two visiting dentists from Shenandoah have been Dr. Lewis and Dr. White.
Livery stables were operated by Noah Green, Hiatt brothers and John Kammerer.
Depot agents have been R. B. Allen, George Morse, Ed Farriter, Jim Farriter, Roy H. Miller, Bill
Kenward, John Minnick, M. G. Clark, Lloyd Shilling, David Davis, George Lawrence and Paul Sturm.
Blacksmith shops were run by Mart Mills, Mr. Wittwer, Tom Clark, Jim McGarry, Lou Beeson and
E. A. Jobe.
Undertakers were William Smalley, Charlie Hayes, Mike Dempsey, Hilliary & Buntz, Addy &
Perryman.
Garages were Prestons, Butchers and Saners.
Oil station operators were Bill Kammerer, Carl Maher, Clyde Addy, Lou Saner, Art Leahy, Vince
Saner, Joe Laughlin, Ide Findley, Ronnie Martin, Tom Woods, Doc Regan and Jim Skahill.
Pump and windmill men were George Brooks & Ira labor. They built a frame building on the
south corner of Railroad Street where Maher’s Store was built after the fire.
One day four young men from north of Shenandoah came to Imogene with a team and wagon.
They were driving their horses as fast as they would go up and down Railroad Street and beating on
the sides of the wagon with the endgate iron rod. They were yelling and having a ball when they were

arrested. They paid the fine with a bad check, but redeemed the check before any action could be
taken.
The first court case in Imogene...Be it remembered that on the 21 st day of July A. D. 1881 John
Baxter filed herein on information on oath against Philly Sullivan the defendant charging him that on
the 20th day of July A. D. 1881 the said Philly Sullivan did violate the laws and ordinances of the town
of Imogene by using profane language and getting drunk and for disturbing the peace, thereupon I
issued a warrant for the arrest of said Philly Sullivan and gave the same to J. J. Richart, Marshall, for
service. July 23, 1881-The Marshall appeared with the said Philip Sullivan in custody to whom I made
known the charge against him. Now to wit on the day last above mentioned trial was had and charge
read and defendant was asked the question by the court-guilty or not guilty-defendant answered
“guilty.” It is therefore ordered and adjudged by the court that Philip Sullivan, defendant, be fined in
the amount of five dollars and costs of suits-costs assessed to three dollars and twenty-five cents as
appears in the margin. Having paid said fine and costs into court defendant was ordered discharged.
S. K. Hutton, Mayor
About 1905 a bandstand was built just south of where the flagpole now stands. The U. T. D. (Up
To Date) Band played concerts there every Wednesday evening for nearly four years.
One of our early senior citizens was Eftie Gaitor. He had been a farmer and had retired to a
small home on the west bank of Hunter’s Branch about where the old ball diamond was. He didn’t
come into town one day and someone found him dead on the front porch.
Joe Allshouse was a handyman and did odd jobs for people.
Alex Labor was a well digger and brick layer. When silent movies first came out George Adams
and Albert Addy showed some at the Foutch Garage building on Railroad Street. The first silent movie
to be shown was “Across the Dead Line” about 1919. Colonel Fred Geise who had been a railroad
section hand before he retired was hired to operate the player piano for the show’s music. He
couldn’t read the titles so he would pick up any roll and put it on the player piano and pump away. If
her were walking as hard and fast as he was pumping he would have been twenty miles out of town
before the show started.