Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa City Government

Goverment officials in 1882

  • Mayor, W.R. Smith
  • Treasurer, G.R. Gilbert
  • City Solicitor, J.M. Cleland
  • Clerk, F. Barth
  • Marshal, J.R. Thompson
  • Deputy Marshal, John Colvin
  • Street Commissioner, James Scollard
  • Night Police, Thomas Budworth and Mike Ahern
  • Engineer, G.W. Oberholtzer
  • Engineer of Steamer, H.A. Lyon
  • Chief of Fire Department, Jas. P. Wall
  • Health Officer, Dr. J.W. Frazey
  • Weighmaster, James Shanley
  • Librarian, Miss Helen Smith

Fire Department

The fire department of the city is a volunteer organization, composed of ninety members, fifty-five of whom are active, and thirty-five exempt. The organization was first effected in 1874, with E.R. Kirk, Chief of the Department. The fire apparatus belonging to the city consists of one steamer, three hose carts, 2,500 feet of hose, and a hook and ladder truck, fully equipped. The engine house is a substantial two-story building, located in the central part of the city. The members of the company, with the exception of the Chief and Engineer, render their services gratuitously. James P. Wall is the present Chief, and the department is an able and efficient one.

The Telephone Exchange

The Sioux City Telephone Exchange was incorporated August 7th, 1880, and the construction of lines was soon after commenced. December 10th, of the same year, the first telephone connection was made, but only a few instruments were put in. The practicability of this new and novel means of communication was soon demonstrated, and the telephone rapidly grew in public favor, the success of the Exchange being thereby assured. Lines were soon extended all over the city, and communication established between nearly every business house, as well as with many private residences. Over one hundred telephones are now in use in the city, and new ones are constantly being put in. In December, 1881, a line was extended to Sergeant’s Bluffs, eight miles distant, and as it is found to be entirely practicable, it more than probable that a few years will see Sioux City connected by telephone with all the towns within a radius of twenty-five miles, thus bringing them all into closer commercial relations with Sioux City as the head center.
The St. Paul Shops

The year following the completion of the Sioux City & St. Paul road, the city voted a tax of $20,000 to secure the location of the company’s repair shops at this city, and work was immediately begun on the extensive buildings now occupied by the company’s machine shops. These shops have been enlarged from time to time, and during the summer of 1881, had been increased to a capacity of 200 men, whose monthly pay roll amounted to more than $10,000. In these shops a specialty is made of repair work. All the most improved machinery has been put in for this line. Besides the repair work, a great number of new freight cars have been built. But the point, in which the shops excel, is the rebuilding of passenger cars, and the best trains now run by the company are of cars that have been practically rebuilt in the shops at Sioux City. The increased mileage of the road has, and will, make necessary further enlargements of the shops, and this will keep the St. Paul Railroad Machine Shops, what they have ever been, one of the leading industrial establishments in the West.

Sioux City Water Company

The need of an adequate supply of water for the city for fire, domestic and manufacturing purposes has long been apparent, and various organizations have been started to give the city a water supply; but it was not until the Spring of 1881 that anything tangible was done. Then the Sioux City Water Company was organized, with David Magee as President. The plan of the company was to secure a supply of water from an artesian well. Work on this well was begun in October following, and by New Year’s a depth of 1,290 feet was reached, where the drill entered a rotten sand-rock that promise, when it is curbed, to give a sufficient supply of water. The company, soon after the formation, secured a fair franchise from the city for furnishing water for fire purposes. Lots have been bought on Prospect Hill, a bluff rising 183 feet above the level of the principal street, on which to build a reservoir, and the purpose of the company is to pump water from the Missouri River, which flows at the foot of this bluff, to supply the reservoir in case the artesian well should fail to give a sufficient supply.

Source: Woodbury County Iowa, History of Western Iowa, 1882

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