Important Milestones

  • April 13, 1869: Des Moines Valley Railroad enters Dallas County.
  • June 1869: Shirley (a.k.a. Waukee) is laid out about 6 1/2 miles from Adel.
  • July 25, 1869: The Waukee Depot is finished.
  • 1869: Coal is discovered in Waukee.
  • 1869: Daily mail service begins. William S. Johnson was the first Postmaster.
  • April 1870: The First Presbyterian Church is Waukee’s first organized church.
  • December 28, 1878: Waukee is incorporated as a city.
  • 1879: A.C. Phillips is named the first school Superintendent.
  • 1890: Population of Waukee Census: 240

1868 - 1899 Blog Posts

JH Carter Hardware Store

Late 1800 Businesses in Waukee – Part 2

In reading old records of this era, the last 1800’s, this was by far the best growth period for the town of Waukee. Here is an interesting account of a tour of Waukee written by a reporter, taken from a newspaper of April 15, 1891. “First, I dropped into J. R. Morrison’s Grain...
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JH Carter

Late 1800 Businesses in Waukee – Part 1

The following is a list of the businesses in Waukee in the late 1800’s (1870’s, 1880’s and 1890’s). As you will observe from the large number of business houses, it was considered a “boom town” exhibiting great promise for further growth and expansion. General Stores: A.T....
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1879 County Map

The History of Waukee: From Shirley to Waukee

The Des Moines Valley Railroad completed building into Des Moines on Aug. 29, 1866.  The railroad started from Keokuk in 1856 but because of the Civil War, progress was slowed.  Headquarters were in Keokuk with D.W. Kilbourne serving as president, and General Reid and Colonel...
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Crispin & Duncan General Store

County Seat War

Over the years, Dallas Center, Waukee and Perry tried to promote their towns as the most logical place for the county seat. In February 1893, Waukee made a very serious effort to get the county seat away from Adel.  M. J. Wragg visited around the county to promote Waukee.  It was...
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Railroads – Part 2

In March, 1880 it was reported the narrow gauge railroad has built an elevated track to improve handling of grain transfers. In November, 1880 it was reported that work on an engine house was progressing nicely. The bricks coming from Adel, the lumber from Minneapolis. Mr....
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Waukee, 1878 – An Eventful Year

The Methodists dedicated their church in April, having purchased it from the Episcopalians in 1876. The Episcopal Church was maintained here for very few years. Due to emigration and death it was disbanded. The Waukee Cheese Factory as initiated in May, 1878 under the management...
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Incorporation

From the Dallas Center Globe, we found that in June, 1878, Judge Callvert appointed M. Sines, B.T. Halstead, C.C. Tyler, C.F.M. Clarke and G.S. Wharton as commissioners to hold an election for incorporation. They designated July 2nd as the big day. The election was a success with...
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Adel Ave, Waukee

The Progression of Waukee

The new towns springing up along the railroads all wrote letters to the editor of the Iowa Daily State Register and Waukee was not exception. All of these towns needed people to come and settle, so their letters were very flowery and enticing. This paper probably sent their...
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