Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Correspondents

October 26, 2006

The Rock Island comes to Numa

(Continued)



In the first years of the 1870’s, Numa experienced the boom that naturally follows the building of a railway. The Post Office was moved from Bellair to Numa with John Wynn serving as postmaster, as well as the first railway depot agent. The old high school of Bellair was moved to Numa and used for the first hotel. Businesses developed around a public square, which was at the south end of Main St. and just north of the depot. Blacksmith shops and a drug store were quickly established.

Numa was incorporated in 1909 with 1000 residents. Dr. Dukes was a practicing physician. There was a 2-story general store on the N.W. corner of the square. James Hibbs eventually transferred his merchandising operation from Hibbsville to Numa and he became mayor for a time. In 1923, and new school was built on the north side of the highway leading into town from the east. This became the pride of the town. There were three churches, Methodist, Catholic and Christian.

The first coal used in the area was from the Joe Hall mine slope. The first mine was the Huston Mine, N.W. of Bellair. The first railway mine was sunk by Al Jones and B.F. Bradley near the west edge of Numa. Two large mnes dominated the Numa scene the Diamond mine on the west edge of town from 1893 to 1928 and the Numa Block mine just east of town from 1908 tp 1915.

After the decline of the coal mining and the increasing ease of transportation by automobile, Numa gradually went into a decline and many of the prosperous businesses began to leave. The school was used for only about 35 years before consolidation into Centerville. Later it was used for various purposes such as a wholesale outlet and an archery range. Eventually the top story was removed. The Rock Island Railroad discontinued passenger service and then removed its tracks in 1978.

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