Preserve America Community:
Coon Rapids, Iowa
Coon Rapids, Iowa, (population 1,305) began with the construction of a mill on the banks of the Middle Raccoon River. Soon, the riverside settlement also had a blacksmith shop and small store and, before long, the residents applied for their own post office. After debating names such as Ribbleton and Tuttle’s Grove for their town, the postmaster’s suggestion of “Coon Rapids” eventually won out.
In 1864, county funds allowed for the construction of a larger log and earthen dam to support a saw and grist mill. The widened river also inspired the creation of a 75-foot steamboat, the “Belle of Coon Rapids,” which on Sundays and holidays made pleasure runs to local picnic grounds.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1882, homesteaders spread across the region to farm the fertile land, with the population jumping from 54 to 600 in just three years. With such a growing population, Coon Rapids began to plan a downtown area. When laying out Main Street, city planners had a team and hay rack make a complete turn in the middle of the street and then set the street to that ample width.
For more information
Coon Rapids History: www.coonrapidsiowa.info/html/history.html
Posted March 4, 2009