Ghost Towns

Batch Grove – Sometimes spelled Bach Grove – The settlement got its name from three bachelor trappers who lived in cabins here. A post office was established in a log house in 1858.

Callanan – Was a post office from 1878 until 1881. The town had a violent history because it became a popular spot for rowdy folk from Des Moines to go for a happy weekend trip. The Callanan Hotel was busy; the many taverns made the liquor flow freely at all times. When sober residents objected, they were told that the business was good for Callanan.

Challe’s Grove  – Is marked on a hand-drawn map in the 1985 edition of the History of Hamilton
County Iowa, Vol. 1
. No other description or mention
of this settlement was found.

Christy Town – As many as twelve families lived here at one time. Today, the site is the home of
the Riverside Bible Camp.

Dakota – Is not marked on the Ghost Town Tour Map because its exact location is unknown. It was
mentioned in an 1853 state road survey.

Druid Siding Was the name given to a railroad siding (a loading area for farmers) on the
llinois Central Railroad. It was located about a mile east of present day Stonega Elevator. The name
was changed to Reinicker.

Flugstad Had a post office from 1890 until 1913. Today all that remains of this site is an elevator consisting of several buildings, which is operated today by United Cooperative at Highview.

Hawley – Was a stagecoach stop established in 1855 between Alden and Newcastle
(now Webster City) on the Maria McNabb farm.

High Town – Was named for a family named High, who owned the land on which the siding was
built. It was changed to Highview in 1892.

Highview – The settlement of High Town had a post office established in 1892. By this time the High family had moved from the area. Some of the residents thought that Highview sounded better.
So the name of the town was changed.

Homer – Was, at one time, the largest town in all of Webster and Hamilton Counties combined. The town was laid out in 1852 just after Risley and Yell Counties were combined. This put Homer in the center of the large new Webster County. The original plat showed 42 blocks. Today all that remains of Homer is the Homer Methodist Church, the Lamb Small Engine business, a house and a mobile home.

Hook’s Point – Originated when Isaac and James Hook came to the area in 1851. An old plat map of Hook’s Point showed a brickyard, sawmill, wagon shop, cheese factory, drugstore, two saloons, three general stores, and a hotel. It was here that the first murder in Hamilton County was committed.

Hope Hollow – Was the first stopping place for Wilson Brewer and his family as they moved up
the Boone River in 1850. They wintered here and named the area Hope Hollow.

Kentucky Grove – Is not marked on the Ghost Town Tour map because its exact location is unknown. It was the earliest Hamilton County settlement in the U. S. Postal Service records, and dates back to the time our county was called Risley. The post office operated from 1851 until 1852.

Lake Center – Is listed in the postal records as having a post office from 1851 until 1884. It has never appeared on any U. S. maps, but did appear on a state map dated 1860.

Lakin’s Grove – had a post office from 1857 until 1878. This village served for a time as a stage coach stop for the line from Newton to Nevada to Skunk Grove.

Little Chicago – Consisted of a creamery and a general store. The place was jokingly named Little Chicago after the major city of Illinois.

Marion City – Is not marked on the Ghost Town Tour map because its exact location is unknown. It
appears on early maps from 1856 to 1863 on the stage route between Ridgeport and Homer. It was located several miles southwest of Hook’s Point.

Mettamora – Was a very large paper town platted in 1857. The town was never settled, and no buildings were ever built here.

Mulberry Center – Mr. and Mrs. Phil Morris homesteaded and planted mulberry trees around
their farm. These trees gave the name to the small nearby settlement.

New Saratoga – Never became more than a paper town. This settlement was located near the
Red Cedar Post Office.

North Skunk Grove – Was never more than a stagecoach stop which operated from 1865 to 1869.

Oak Glen – James and Elizabeth McLaughlin built a house on the west side of the Boone River at a stage coach crossing. Their house became a way stop for the travelers who followed the stage route. A church, cemetery, and school house were located nearby and became a community gathering place until the 1940’s.

Paris – Was laid out in June,1853 and has almost the exact location of where Hook’s Point was located. The town appeared on maps from 1856 until 1868. It was only a paper town.

Plow – Was a hamlet post office that served the area in the 1860’s. Nothing more has been found  about this settlement.

Poland’s Grove – Had a post office, but the records are incomplete as to when the post office was started or discontinued. Poland’s Grove appears on many maps dated from 1866 to 1875.

Poplar Grove – Was a busy place, located around a creamery, a school, a store, and a post office. The settlement appears on maps from about 1896 to 1900.

Prairie Queen – didn’t have a post office, but the Prairie Queen Creamery, a blacksmith shop, the Royal Neighbor Hall, a house, and a barn were located here.

Red Cedar was a post office from 1876 until 1881. It was located in a blacksmith shop that served as a center of an active community. It eventually took on the name Saratoga.

Reinicker Was never a real settlement, nor  had a post office. It did appear on maps dated 1890 and in a 1910 atlas. It was originally named Druid Siding.

Rose Grove – was originally called Skunk Grove. The post office, called Rose Grove, ran from 1865 until 1869, with Mr. Rose as postmaster. It reopened in 1870 to 1883 with Mary E. Rose as postmistress.

Rosendale – Had a post office from 1888 until 1902. At one time it had two implement stores, dry goods store, hardware store, grocery store, the Rosendale Creamery, blacksmith shop, a general store, and the Peterson Produce House, where he bought and sold eggs, ducks, and chickens. Taig’s store, with a gas pump out front closed in 1966.

Russell’s Grove –  Was a stagecoach stop at the farm home of the Russell family from 1855 until 1869. A post office was also there from June 1872 until April 1873.

Saratoga – Was also known as New Saratoga and Red Cedar.

Skunk Grove – Was located on the Skunk River. The river was named by the Native Americans for the wild skunk onions, which grew along its banks. When the Rose family moved the stagecoach stop to the top of the hill east of the first location, the name was changed to Rose Grove. The move was only about an eighth of a mile.

Stonega – Was a stop on the Illinois Central Railroad, where stock and grain could be loaded on the train. It still stands today as a complex of elevator buildings.

Stringtown Consisted of nine homes. The families living there became a tight community and assisted each other. Today, three of the houses are occupied by members of the Nibe family, who have named their farming enterprise “Stringtown, Inc.”

Tremaine – Was a small settlement in the approximate location of Hope Hollow. It had a post office from 1888 until 1899, two houses, the dam, the Bone’s Mill, a shop, and a store.

Tunnel Had a post office, Tunnel Mill, and a store which sold, among other items, maple syrup and fish from the Native Americans. The Perry home accommodated farmers overnight while they waited for the grinding of their grain. There were many coal mines along the banks of the river and local farmers brought in bags of coal which were sold at the store.

All Descriptions were taken from the 1985 edition of the History of Hamilton County, Iowa and
The History of Hamilton County, Iowa  by J.W. Lee, 1912.
Used with permission of the Kendall Young Library, Webster City, Iowa