The History of North English
Iowa County, Iowa
Dan Strohman - Mayor
The North English Record - Since 1891 - Des Moines Register and Gannett Corp. Publisher: Martin Bunge, News Editor: Jeni Lewis. Office Manager: Debbie Tippie, Phone 319-664-3237. Address: North English Record - Post Office Box 160 - North English, IA 52316
Photographs below: courtesy of Alan Kline
Approximately 32 miles southwest of Iowa City is the town of North English, Iowa. It has it's name on Exit #216 on Interstate 80. It's the same exit as the county seat.Traveling south from I-80 on Highway 149, about ten miles south, you'll see a sign, "North English - Next Four Exits."
North English boasts three different names in its early history. The first settlement at the site was "Soaptown", applied from the occupation of a Mr. Michael B. Vincent, who according to an early account "was a very conspicuous character in laying out the town. Mr.Vincent has some very good qualities, one of which he is a very good republican; but most of his good qualities are so covered up by repulsive manners that the community fails to see them."
Nevada was the official designation of the town laid out on June 8, 1855, by Thomas G. Watters and Jacob Yeager, and one year later occured the laying out of the "Watters Addition to Nevada." The confusion over the same name applied to a town in Story County, Iowa resulted in the third name of North English around 1884, a name that bore the proximity to the north branch of the English River.
A history was published in the North English Record on August 14, 1930, by Mrs. E. B. Warner, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the town: "By 1881 the business interests of the town included general stores, a drug store, a furniture store, a saw mill, a harness shop, a wagon shop, two hotels, two shoemakers, two blacksmiths, and three physicians, besides a post office and a school sufficiently advanced to have a principal."
"The projected coming of the Marion-Ottumwa division of the Milwaukee railroad in the early eighties caused a great stir in community life. The actual laying of the rails in 1884 left the "Old Town" a half mile away. Businessmen were indignantly resentful, but with two exceptions they moved to the new site. The new town of North English was platted June 6, 1884. The town was incorporated in 1892 with E.D. Baird, then president and cashier of the North English Savings Bank, its first mayor."
Early view of brick yard at North English
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North English Sesquicentennial - 2004
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