The last of the Cincinnati town square - 1
Shown are the Masonic building, which will be coming down, and the smaller building that serves as the Post Office. This would have been on the east side of the square.
Cincinnati, in southern Iowa, was once a mining town. Seven mines operated here, along with some in the surrounding countryside. Coal once was the life-blood of this community. The first mine was sunk in 1882 and the 54 years of mining here ended in 1936 when “Big Tom” of the Armstrong Coal Company shut down.
On this spot stood a nice town square, with stores and businesses around all four sides. In the early days the main road turned here, rather than cutting straight across as Iowa Highway 5 does now. In the center of the square was a park, with an ornate bandstand. Here the townsfolk enjoyed band concerts, ice cream socials, 4th of July and Labor Day celebrations. The park was surrounded by a heavy chain called the hitch rack, where the horses were tied. It was a busy place in those days, especially on Saturdays when the country people would come to town to bring their produce, shop and socialize.
The Chicago, Burlington and Kansas City Railroad (later CB&Q) completed their line across Appanoose County in 1847. The railroad was another key to the town’s prosperity. Passengers were served, goods brought in for the businesses, and mail came in and was dispatched several times a day. Thousands of tons of coal shipped out of here, as well as cattle and hogs heading for distant markets. The railroad line was abandoned in 1952. The tracks and the depot are long gone.
Cincinnati has changed a great deal, but one thing they still have here is friendly people. I met two of them, who went out of their way to help me learn about the town’s past – even to the point of running home to get the Centennial history book. I had a great time here! There are so many stories out there, just waiting for someone to listen and care. I sure enjoy being a history geek (or is it nerd - I'm never sure!!) :o)