Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


August 17, 2006

Milwaukee Railroad comes to Jerome


When the railroad came through, a depot was added, The railroad called it Rowley, but the townspeople insisted that the name should remain Jerome. Several coal mines; the Big Four, Gladstone No.2 and Harkes Coal Co. provided much employment and caused a booming economy beginning in the late 1800‚s. A lumberyard, hotel, two-story Big-4 store, livery barn, and blacksmith shop were all built in the 1890‚s. They flourished for many years.

In it its heydey, Jerome boasted a population of over 600 residents. There were two hotels, two boarding houses, a bank, a post office, two groceries, white elephant store, hardware store, clothing store, blacksmith shop, barber shop, shoe repair shop, a pool hall, a miners‚ hall, livery stable, lumber yard and stockyards. There was a public square with hitching posts and bandstand just north of Grand Street. There were several medical doctors.

The third school building was built in 1894 due to the need for a larger school. Jerome‚s population had increased because of all the coal mining activity. It burned in 1920. The fourth school was a new brick building. It was also destroyed by fire in 1931. A fifth building was built. It was a large two-story building just east of the cemetery. A modern water system was installed and it was wired for electricity in 1936.

The coal mining era ended in Jerome in about 1923 and the town‚s commercial life gradually deteriorated until all stores are now gone. The high school was closed about 1943 and the elementary grades soon after that. The building stood for a long time, neglected and lonely, but with fond memories. Only the Church and a small number of houses maintain the semblance of a town.

The Jerome Methodist Church, which had been organized in 1855, carried on for over 100 years and held periodic re-unions through the years so that former members could fondly re-visit their old home town.

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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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