Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


June 1, 2006

The railroad comes to Mystic

In the last several weeks I have told you about the Milwaukee Railroad coming from Moravia through, Darby, Rathbun and Clarkdale in 1886. The next town along the route was Mystic. It is located mostly in Sections 16 and 17 of Walnut Twp. The town runs 2.0 miles east and west and 1.5 miles north and south covering an area of almost 3 square miles.

Before the coming of the railroad, the town of Walnut City was the commercial center of the area with a post office established in 1867. However, there was already some sporadic coal mining in the Mystic area where the vein of coal was plentiful and quite near the surface. A large mine was opened at Mystic by Isaac Fuller in 1858, and he furnished most of the coal for Centerville for a number of years.

Then in 1886, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad built their line through the area. They placed the name “Mystic” on their new depot at the wishes of a railroad official who wanted the town named for his home town of Mystic, Conn. The postal department accepted the name, and a post office was established in 1887 with Dennis Van Dyke as the first postmaster. The site was surveyed by S.T. Stratton and the plat accepted on May 28, 1887.

The railroad created an immediate boom in coal mining in Mystic. A large number of mines were opened in Mystic and in all directions from it. The railroad built coal yards, coal chutes, stock yards, a turn table and a water tank south east of the station to handle the growing coal industry. There were at least four railroad spur lines built from the main line to accommodate the many coal mines in the area. One ran north to the northeast part of town. One ran southeast to the north side of Walnut Creek. One ran west to rural area west of Mystic. This spur railroad line had a branch southward to the southwest part of town as well as one to the northwest. Later, after the railroad was dismantled, the roadbed of the west spur became Low Street, leading west.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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