The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 12, 2013

Workin' on the railroad

ELDON — Many southeast Iowans have a connection to the railroad. They may have retired from the railroad industry, worked railway mail or had family members who did.

Sunday afternoon’s Humanities Iowa program “Trains Across Iowa” provided an opportunity to share their memories and learn some more background about the fascinating history of railroads in Iowa.

With the historic Eldon Depot as the backdrop of the day’s presentation, Dr. Rudolph Daniels, assistant dean and department chair of Railroad Operations Technology at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, took the audience on a trip down memory lane.

Before saying a word, Daniels gave the train call you would have heard in Eldon many decades ago. “Iowa’s Super Conductor Rudy,” as many around the state know him, then opened up the floor for personal storytelling. Those in attendance spoke of their days working railway mail and were able to say mail sent from anywhere in Iowa could make it anywhere else in the state overnight thanks to the railroad mail service. Others remembered traveling on the Rock Island Railroad to visit family or to take special trips.

Only one person in the room had never ridden on a train. Stories were told of growing up in a railroad family, riding the passenger trains and seeing other parts of the state through the windows of the train car.

This rich history is precious to those around southeast Iowa, and it goes back to the state’s beginnings.

“Just prior to it becoming a state, farmers could only move to Iowa and live along the rivers that were navigable,” Daniels explained. “Farmers needed to get their products to market, and before the railroad, they had to use the rivers. In the interior of the state, it was much harder to get their products to market.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Attorney withdraws after client disappears OTTUMWA — Authorities are still looking for an Ottumwa man who didn’t show up for court proceedings. When they find him, he’ll need a new attorney. Jacob Nordyke faces charges of interference with official acts and possession of drug paraphernalia. H

    April 16, 2014

  • Waste Management wants to stay in Keosauqua KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management told the city of Keosauqua that it was not interested in ending the contract it has for solid waste and recycling services it provides to the city. A representative told the city mayor that it intends to fulfill the contr

    April 16, 2014

  • Road transfer under consideration KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors are considering an agreement to transfer the public road known as Iowa 98 from the state to the county. The route is approximately 1.81 miles, and the county will receive $2,310,000, according to the proposed

    April 16, 2014

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416 OTT Ron Oswalt mug -T School board member resigns

    OTTUMWA — As this week's school board meeting came to a close, the president read a letter from one of the members. Board President Carol Mitchell read that fellow board member Ron Oswalt was announcing his resignation from the Ottumwa Board of Educa

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chronic wasting disease found in wild deer OTTUMWA — Since 2002, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has collected more than 50,000 samples of captive and wild deer in Iowa in an effort to look for cases of chronic wasting disease. On April 9, they confirmed an infected wild deer had bee

    April 15, 2014

  • Good Shepherd Food Pantry making a difference BLAKESBURG — Good Shepherd Food Pantry in Blakesburg began its third full year of operation this month. Start-up funds included the South Central United Methodist Conference grant of $1,200 and a large cash donation from Hope Well Church in response

    April 15, 2014

  • Council approves sale to Historical Preservation Society BLAKESBURG — Blakesburg City Council on Monday approved sale of the museum property to Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society. The $4,000 bid submitted by BHPS was the only bid received. Terms of the bid include a clause that if at sometime the p

    April 15, 2014

  • County signs law enforcement agreement with Eddyville OTTUMWA — A law enforcement service contract between Wapello County and the city of Eddyville received supervisors' approval on Tuesday. Beginning July 1, Eddyville will pay the Wapello County Sheriff’s office $3,833 per month or $45,996 for law enfo

    April 15, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition