Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


December 28, 2006

Enterprises served by the interurban


Glen Hagan  Park was the pleasure resort for Centerville and much surrounding territory.  It was named for J. Mace Hagan who came from Oskaloosa to operate it.  There was a big roofed pavilion with a dance hall, roller skating rink and a ball diamond.  There were two refreshment stands.  Picnic and playground equipment were provided.

Baseball attracted a great deal of interest in those days, especially when Centerville and Mystic faced off.  There were baseball games, circuses and shows.  The Mystic Interurban was the only transportation to the park, and the 48-passenger open air cars would be loaded down with people.  Sometimes the crowds were so large, especially on Sundays, that cars were crowded to the limit and people had to stand in line to get them.  The fare was a nickel.

Sunday dancing at Glen Hagan Park became something of an issue in June, 1914.  After considerable opposition, it was announced it would be dropped.   Encouraged by this, the ministerial association passed a resolution at its next meeting condemning Sunday baseball playing.

The Hadite Plant produced a light-weight block, similar in size and shape to the concrete building block.used for foundations.  Part of the raw material was a particular clay found in Appanoose County.  The plant had a good business for a time, but was phased out when the railroad was discontinued in 1958.  The area is now being re-designed as a housing area, complete with pond and access to the golf course via the old railroad right of way.

In 1916 the Centerville Light and Traction Co. name was changed to Iowa Southern Utilities Co. the name by which we all knew this prestigious electric and gas utility for so many years to come.  The company continued to operate the interurban passenger service to Mystic and Moravia during all the heavy coal production years with great success.

Eventually there were enough people that owned automobiles to make the venture unprofitable.  Everyone loved the convenience and flexibility of driving their own car rather and going where they pleased rather than being tied to the rigorous schedule of taking the train.  So it was the end of an era and the electric railroad, having served its purpose, finally came to an unheralded but dignified end.

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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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