Aurelia Our Own

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The History of Aurelia - As the railroad line was built from Iowa Falls to Sioux City, the government guaranteed compensation for the number of miles of railroad built. Naturally, this led the railroad to veer northwest toward LeMars before turning south to Sioux City. More than 80 town sites sprung up along the railroad, and railroad builder Railroad executive John I. Blair named the town of Aurelia after one of his daughters. The new town was positioned halfway between Sioux City and Fort Dodge, which gave the town a marketing advantage in grain, cattle and hog buying in the early days of the town. Aurelia built its first school in 1872, the building only lasted until 1878, when the increasing population made the construction of a two-story, four room school house a necessity. That building, located in the City Park, served the town until 1922, when the current building on Ash Street was erected In 1878, the first of Aurelia's three churches, the Methodist Church, was organized. The Congregational Church followed shortly, in 1883, and St. Paul Lutheran Church organized in Aurelia in 1925. In the early days of the town, there was also a German Evangelical Lutheran Church. The first library in the town was established in 1917 by a group of citizens. The first library committee voted to pay $1 dues during the first years of the establishment. Besides donations, the library has gained funding through food sales, chicken pie suppers, social teas, and numerous special events and celebrations. The present library building on Main Street held its open house in September of 1965. In the early days of the town, Aurelia was also home to a furniture store, jewelry store, tile factory, bowling alley and roller skating rink. Businesses of the past also included a cream station, creamery, harness shops, blacksmith shops, stock yards, livestock buying stations, and livery stables. One important business in the beginning of the town was the hotel. The business provided rooms and living apartments, and it also served as the center of fancy and formal social events for the Aurelia population. The hotel, located at the south end of Main Street, ceased operation in the 1960s ...