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History Of West Bend

The Town of West Bend was established in 1856 and incorporated on January 31, 1884. It may be interesting to know that West Bend, the first town in Palo Alto County, was at one time named “Ives,” being named after the president of the old B. C. R. & N. Railroad. This however, was before any buildings were erected on the present site. The people of West Bend Township voted a special tax of five cents for the building of the railroad on the condition that the Railway Company would locate a station within the border of the township, which they did, just inside the county line.

The township derived its name from the sharp turn the Des Moines river makes toward the west at a point southwest of the present town-site. The township being named West Bend, and also because the very first post office was at the Carter Cabin on the bend, the people wanted their new station named West Bend. It was through the efforts of Mr. A.B. Carter that the officials of the railroad consented to the change. A.B. CARTER pictured at right.

A. B. Carter
A. B. Carter
West Bend Train Depot
West Bend Train Depot

The building of the railroad brought with it the construction of shanties and later more permanent buildings. Progressing steadily, what was at first a modest and perhaps adventurous beginning of a town by the early public-spirited folk, soon grew and flourished.

WEST BEND TRAIN DEPOT. The first passenger train that came through West Bend on the railroad (in 1881) brought the first doctor to town – Dr. E.W. Bachman.

With business increasing and buildings being constructed, the townsmen felt the need for the establishment of a bank. Two banks were organized within a few years. The Union State Bank was organized in 1892 with a capital of $45,000. The West Savings Bank was organized in 1899, with a $15,000 capital.

At one time the town of West Bend had two newspapers, the Advance and the West Bend Journal. The latter, which is still in business, was first entered as 2nd class matter in July 1888. The Editor of the paper was D.H. Williamson. WEST BEND JOURNAL office pictured at right.

West Bend Journal
West Bend Journal
West Bend Creamery
West Bend Creamery

In 1892 the Farmers Creamery began in a frame building in the northwest section of town. Tom Clark was the creamery manager. When the creamery building burnt down in 1928, a new creamery was built. WEST BEND CREAMERY pictured at left.

As the mode of travel advanced, livery stables gave way to motor garages. Irvin Comer operated the first garage, then called the West Bend Auto Company. FIRST HORSELESS CARRIAGE IN WEST BEND. The first horseless carriage in West Bend was owned by Dentist, Dr Kulp, pictured at right.

First Horseless Carriage
First Horseless Carriage

The Garfield Center School was built around 1875. The country school was located just east of West Bend on B63. In later years the building was used as the Garfield Township Hall. In 1993, Joe Schmidt purchased the building and had it moved to his farm place near West Bend.

School Bus Driver Charlie Schmidt
School Bus Driver Charlie Schmidt
Garfield Center School Classroom
Garfield Center School Classroom
Garfield Center School 1912
Garfield Center School 1912
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