Appendix 2: Lorimor, Pleasantville and Colfax, Iowa
Lorimor is a city in Union County, Iowa, United States. The population was 360 at the 2010 census. Lorimor was founded by J.S. Lorimor who was given the honor of renaming the city, when the town grew after he gave land to the railroads as they traveled through town, in return for the railroad placing a water stop in the town. With the business from the Railroads, and his 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) farm of bluegrass seed, the town was quite successful in its early years.
Lorimor’s population in 1940 was 614, but by 1950 had declined to 505.
Pleasantville was surveyed and established as a town on August 1, 1849 on land then owned by William Wesley Jordan. Previous to the ownership of Mr. Jordan, the land comprising the original town plot of Pleasantville changed hands for one horse and $30.
A petition for incorporation was filed in District Court on June 11, 1872 with an election subsequently held in which there were 46 votes in favor and 16 votes against.
The completion of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Line through Pleasantville in 1879 caused an increase in development and Pleasantville became one of the active business centers in Marion County and the principal shipping point between Knoxville and Des Moines.
The earliest population figures available begin in 1900 with 738 residents.
The first school was built in the fall of 1847, and in 1868, the school district joined with the Masonic Lodge in building a three story brick building that remained a school facility until 1992. Today, the Pleasantville School district consists of three buildings, an elementary, a middle school, and a high school.
Pleasantville’s population in 1950 was 893.
In its heyday, the city of Colfax had two main industries that drew thousands to the area: the mining of coal, and the use of the mineral springs discovered near the city. The first large scale coal mine in Jasper County was the Watson No. 1 Mine, 5 miles southeast of town, connected to the Rock Island by a long railroad spur. From 1881 to 1900, the Jasper County Coal and Railway Company operated a number of mines north of Colfax. The Colfax Consolidated Coal Company formed in 1902, bringing the mines of Colfax under a common operator. They opened mine No. 8 in 1905; this was one of the best equipped mines in the state. The coal camp of Severs was run by this company.
United Mine Workers local 56 was organized in Colfax in 1899; by 1907, it had 352 members. Mine wages varied from $2.36 to $2.56 per day. In 1912, the UMW union had two locals based in Colfax, Local 56, with 350 members, and Local 671, with 230 members.
In the process of drilling for coal in 1875, a well containing high mineral content was discovered near Colfax. The city flourished with this new discovery, and over the next four decades, thousands of people visited the town to partake in the healing powers of the fourteen mineral springs there. Nine hotels offering mineral baths and spa treatments opened to house guests, and four bottling companies opened to produce bottled mineral water for the masses. In 1912–1913, the city received funding to build a Carnegie library. The library is still in use today. The booming business of the city's mineral springs industry declined and died out as the Great Depression swept the country.
The population of Colfax was 2,331.