Ely Becomes a Town


Begins Municipal Existence With a Strong List of Officials
Some Things of Interest Concerning the Village - Good Business Field.

Source: Microfilm of The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Thursday, September 3, 1903, Page 6, column 3

George L. Kent, mayor
Joseph Lorenc, recorder
Joseph Holets, treasurer
Frank Janko, marshal
J.C. Dvorak, N.J. Jordan, Joseph Novotny, John Asenbrener, M.D. Vanourny and Godfrey Truhlar, members of the council.

Having concluded to enter upon corporate municipal existence these are the men wisely selected by the people of Ely to give shape to their first official acts and to order their first improvements - to lay the foundation for the town, the city or the other form of government that progress and increasing size may bring into existence.

All these men are well known in the southern half of the county and the most of them have an acquaintance larger than the county, and the wisdom of the voters will not be called in question in making the selection.

Potential Strength
As potential strength, Ely has a population of 200, among whom are forty-seven voters, and there are fifty-one dwellings within the territory of 200 acres that has been incorporated.

Various lines of business are well represented, and Ely has been, since its foundation, a good trading point for the farmers, the merchants having practically the advantages of city existence in their location and the ease with which they communicate with the whole-sale trade of Cedar Rapids.

The people of the village and the farmers who trade at that point supply the force that has made Ely what it is and that will be responsible for advancement.

The lines represented at this time are -
Three general stores
One drug store
Two harness shops
One hardware
Two agricultural implement stores
One bank
One church
Two school buildings
One grain elevator
One creamery
One lumber yard
Two blacksmith shops
Two butcher shops
One shoemaker
One carpet weaver
One saloon
One hotel
One undertaker and furniture

These lines of business would alone stamp the place as a typical "center" of a western farming section, and it may be said that personally and socially the merchants of Ely have a hospitable manner that is calculated to win friends in any of the affairs of life.  

To the east, northeast and north, the territory of Ely is cut off by the Cedar river, at a distance of from five to ten miles, but the natural obstruction also confines the territory of the towns north of the river, giving to each a sort of protection in the form of running water that is not frequently bridged nor conveniently forded.

By the diagonal wagon road, Ely is about eight miles from the business section of Cedar Rapids, about the same distance by rail - the Rock Island. The one time flourishing trade and educational center, Western College, is three miles to the west, while Fairfax is about thirteen miles distant. The trade territory of Ely therefore embraces practically Putnam township, southwest Franklin, southeastern College and a considerable scope of country in the northern part of Johnson county.

The farm land is of the most excellent character as a rule and has been brought to a high and profitable state of cultivation by the residents, who as the majority of the officers of Ely would indicate, are of Bohemian origin, a sufficient indication of thrift, stability and industry.

The Municipal Family
The municipal family of Linn County is becoming large and important and there are none of the indications of race suicide that have alarmed the president of these United States. In fact there are fine prospects for additions to the list. The corporations of the county with their population according to the last census are as follows:

Springville .............599
Lisbon ..................956
Mt. Vernon .........1,629
Walker ..................505
Coggon .................498
Central City ...........623
Marion ................4,102
Cedar Rapids .....25,656
Kenwood Park ........283
Center Point ...........674
Ely ........................200

This would show Linn county to be one of the most fruitful of Iowa parents in the line of incorporated towns, and the other possibilities are such that there is no temptation to throw away the high chair and discard the perambulator.

There are Fairfax, Troy Mills, Prairieburg, Bertram, Waubeek, Viola, Whittier, Palo, Covington that may bethink themselves of incorporation at almost any time and a village is almost certain to be created on the Prairie creek flats, near Beverly. Here is wishing long life and rapid growth to Ely and a kind inquiry as to "what would the little lady have."

Will Make Improvements
One of the first questions, in fact the first question, of the new town will concern improvements. A general clean up of the corporation has been determined upon and it will be made to wear a village aspect instead of the appearance of a rather populous farm. Cleanliness will be the motto. No elaborate outlines have been made as to what will be done, but it has been determined to build a sidewalk around four blocks in the business part, an improvement that will be appreciated by the people as well as by the numerous customers of the business men of that place.