Flag Pole on Main Stree, Modale, Iowa

Modale Centennial Book

Information contained on these Web Pages came from the Modale Centennial Book. I have tried to provide as much information as space will allow. People looking for ancestors in Harrison County will be able to obtain a little information on life in an earlier time.

Missouri Dale becomes Modale

In 1870, Benjamin Martin platted a village site at this point and named it Martinsville. In March 1874, Alonzo Beebe platted land adjoining this plat and named it for the post office he had secured for ten years. Its name came through an accident, which turned out right in the end. In sending it to the department at Washington, the petitioner desired it to be named Missouri Dale, but as they abbreviated it thus, Mo. Dale, the clerks at the national capitol took it to mean “Modale”.

Hence the name. The post office was established in 1858 through the efforts of Thomas A. Dennis. Prior to that, someone would go to Kanesville (Council Bluffs) and bring back letters and newspapers.

City on the Move

Modale became an incorporated town in April 1881 by a vote of twenty-six to sixteen. Many of the early business people did not lack ambition. for some reason or other when they erected a building, they decided it wasn’t a suitable location, so moved it to another site.

The school was built on the southeast corner of Anderson and Main, so when Ross Addition was annexed, the school was moved to where the present school is located. When they decided to erect a new brick building, the old one was moved again, two doors north and became the Masonic Temple.
The Commercial house was no longer used as a hotel. so it was divided
and made into two homes, one for “Doc” Wiltse, and the remaining portion was remodeled and used by J. L. McQueen and his family. The Odd Fellow Hall was built, first where the present Legion building stands but after the school was moved, it was moved to its present site on the southeast corner of Anderson and Main.
After living in Modale and seeing the size of some of these buildings, I was always surprised when told they had moved that building to it’s final resting place.

Main Street

In 1874, F. H. Ludwig was the first to engage in business in the town, opening a warehouse. In the fall of the same year McAllister and Ludwig put in a stock of merchandise. Ludwig was the first to deal in grain, lumber and agricultural goods.

J. J. Anderson was the first hotel proprietor of the Ogden; Morgan & West druggists; Samuel Brownrigg, livery barn; George Stebbins, harness shop; H. B. Broughton, blacksmith; Ruben Martin, merchant.

The 1952 Flood

The great flood of 1952 is an experience the residents will long remember. Before dams were constructed, the Missouri River would overflow its banks. Due to record snowfall in the mountains and a rapid thaw, there was water from bluff to bluff and the entire Missouri River Valley was inundated. Modale did not escape. Fortunately there was no loss of life. Only boiled water and typhoid shots for everyone. In the early days of Harrison County flooding was a threat to the residents each spring.

2 thoughts on “Modale Centennial Book”

  1. Pauline Schorsch

    I am looking for family names that were living on RFD Modale, Iowa in July 23, 1939. I have the birth certificate of a girl born on that date at 1:50 a m. Her mother was from Little Sioux Iowa who put her up for adoption. I would like to locate her. Thank you.

  2. My mother’s family is from Modale. Names include Hester, Wilkinson, Kerns, Straight etc. Looking for any new info I might find and also have photos I could share. Not sure how to proceed.

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