Friday, July 02, 2010

Russell "A Town of Pride and Progress" (continued)

This is a continuation of the stories about Russell from last month.  These articles appeared in the Russell Union-Tribune (unknown date).

Businesses in Russell

Russell has come a long way in business since that general store in the depot way back in 1866.

The first store building in Russell was by H.W. Elliott in 1869, and stood across the street south from where the depot now stands.  The second business establishment in Russell was to the east of this building, and was a small saloon operated by Holman and Young.  The taverns in Russell did not prosper and changed hands several times before they were completely eliminated in 1884.  Russell now boasts that it is the largest town in the state of Iowa that does not have a tavern or a liquor store.

It would take a whole book to name all the people who have operated businesses  which have existed in Russell.  Some of these businesses which no longer exist include:  clothing stores, a harness shop, movie theater, jeweler and repair shop, meat market, millinery shop, paint shop, livery stable, hotel, co-op creamery, and bakery.

The oldest business presently operating in Russell is the Woodman Hardware and Appliance Store.  It was founded by Alfred J. Woodman, who came to Iowa from Maine in 1873.  Mr. Woodman erected a hardware store on the north side of the tracks, east of where the hotel stood.  The business was moved in 1879, and later in 1895 to J.H. Woodman who is now successfully engaged in its operation.

At present there are many business firms engaged in operation in Russell to fill the needs of its citizens.
Recreation and Organizations
Since the early days of Russell, there have been a great number of organizations and recreations established for the pleasure and entertainment of the town's citizens.

In 1870, the Irving Literary Society was organized with regular meetings held on Saturday evenings.  At these regular meetings a literary programme, debate and newspaper reading session was enjoyed.  The society later disbanded.

In 1874, the Russell Music Assocation was organized.   They met on Saturday evenings to study music and sing.  In 1875, they held a week's convention, climaxed by a concert at the Methodist Church, after which the organization was disbanded.

In 1870, the Russell Union Agricultural Society was born.  Elijah Allen was the president of this very successful society.  They operated somewhat similar to the county fair, but having no good grounds upon which to conduct meetings, they were allowed to disband (1879).

In 1886, the Frank Nolan Post No. 208, G.A.R. was organized with twenty charter members.  In 1890, the Frank Nolan Relief Corps, No. 222 was organized with twenty-one members.  In 1920, the Charley Clark Post No. 308, of the American Legion was organized.  The Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion was organized in 1924.

Russell also has an organized Sportsman's Club, and Commercial Club which sponsors many community suppers, banquets and fund raising projects.

For the youth of the community the Legion sponsors softball and baseball games, teen age dances and other activities.  There are also boys and girls scout organizations in the community whcih provide excellent training for the youth.  A municipal band holds concerts on Saturday evenings during the summer months, in which many of the town's young participate.

There were and are numerous social clubs in this community which contribute the pleasant and friendly conditions in Russell.  These societies not only welcome new people to the community and make them feel at home, but they contribute financial aid to worthy charities and make calls on the shut-ins, and elderly of the town.

The first celebration held in Russell was the 4th of July celebration held in 1868, and was recorded a success.  The annual celebration which has remained a tradition with Russell and has gained fame in Southern Iowa in the Farm Festival or Homecoming.  The first Homecoming was held in 1904.  This celebration includes a parade which has always been a success, displays of various kinds, and some special added attraction such as a barbecue, circus or carnival.

We have tried to make a list of mayors which have served Russell through the years, and the Town Clerk, Mrs. Mona Coop provided us with a list, compiled from city records which we think is accurate.  It dates back to 1900, and we have added two names from our records which take the year back to 1892.  We sincerely hope we have not omitted any names.

Starting from the present and working back through the years, they are as follows;  James Brunt, Neal Pierce, Guy Smith, Gover Milleson,  Guy Smith, James Brunt, Walter Greenlee, John Woodman, P.F. Sprague, A.B. Clinton, W.L. Werts, H.A. Turbot, W.L. Werts, Harry Keller, Al.L. Latham, Alfred Goodwin, A.F. Jenkins, J.W. Eastes.  J.A. Hepenstall, J.W. Cook, Thos. W. Woods and J.H. Cook.

(This story will continue next month)

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