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Soon after the farmers in German, Ell, Avery and Twin Lake townships got a side track built on Harmon J. Klemme's farm in the spring of 1889, Mr. Klemme contacted the officers of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad.  He convinced them they should build a depot at the location of the side track, and he would survey the site for a town.  During the first part of August 1889 the railroad officials decided to look at the location where Mr. Klemme wanted to start a town.  The railroad officials who looked over the proposed site were: C. J. Ives, President; G. A. Goodell, Assistant Superintendent; C. D. Ives, General Freight Agent; J. E. Hannegan, General Passenger Agent; M. M. Knapp, Travel Freight and Passenger Agent; and H. J. White, Chief Engineer.

The proposed site for the new railroad station and town was approved by the railroad officials.  During the first week of September they signed an agreement with Harmon Klemme to purchase about eight acres adjoining the railroad tracks for the construction of a depot and additional side tracks, if Harmon J. Klemme would proceed with his plans to survey a town site at that location.

On October 4, 1889 Harmon J. Klemme hired C. S. Hall from Garner to survey the northwest forty acres of the northeast corner of his farm located in Section 31 in Ell Township.  From this forty acres Harmon J. Klemme set aside twelve acres for a new town to be called KLEMME.  It is said that August Barz and Henry Wille helped with the survey and drove the stakes.  Henry Wille had farmed the Klemme land four years prior to the survey.  It is said that Herman R. Stromer hauled the first loads of gravel for the streets into the newly platted town.  The plat for the new town of Klemme was filed in the Hancock County Court House October 18, 1889.  A report in the GARNER DEMOCRAT newspaper dated December 5, 1889 reported: - "Last week Joel C. Forrest sent a few cars of lumber to a new town of Clemme" (yes - the editor of the newspaper did spell Klemme with a C).

In November, Henry Lau opened a grain buying and shipping station.  He also had wood and coal available for the residents in the Klemme area.

An article in the GARNER DEMOCRAT newspaper dated January 9, 1890 reported: - "A new town of Klemme 7 miles south of Garner is doing a large business, having shipped over 100 car loads of grain in the past few weeks.  The new town consists of two grain and coal dealers, a lumber yard, a grocery store and a restaurant is being built.  The town well is almost completed.  Abdon B. Shafer was appointed postmaster with 100 farmers signifying their intentions of getting their mail at Klemme.  All this for a town two months old".

As the months went by, Klemme progressed rapidly.  During February 1890, a new general store was being built by Mr. Knapp and Mr. Bastian.  Mr. Dow went into partnership with Mr. Shafer to operate the KLEMME PIONEER STORE.  A notice was published for the organizing of a co-operative creamery.

In March 1890 the officials for the creamery were elected and the Creamery Association built and filled their ice house.  Mr. Erickson and Mr. Jackson sold their grain and livestock buying business to Mr. Bloom.  Mr. Buettner built a blacksmith shop.  Hall & Ducy Lumber Company commissioned Mr. Shafer as their agent.  On March 13, 1890, Thomas Fotheringham from Garner moved the Harmon J. Klemme farm house from the east end of the 160 acre farm toward the center of the town plot.  This was the first house to be located in the new town of Klemme. 

The month of April saw the coming of civic events other than those sponsored by the churches and schools.  The Klemme String Band gave free concerts on Monday and Friday evenings.  The first woman to live in the new town of Klemme was Mrs. Alexander Kirkwood.  She arrived about six weeks before any other women arrived.  The Gruetzmacher brothers were building a general store.  It was announced that there would be a depot built in the near future.  The creamery was completed and started operating.  The railroad company built a stockyard and loading area.  The first newspaper ad from Klemme was published April 17, 1890 in the GARNER DEMOCRAT, advertising the Klemme Pioneer Store.  Also during the month of April a larger town well was dug and a pump installed so a fresh water supply would be available for the residents of Klemme.

During the month of May, Mr. Tuttle built a hay storage barn and installed a hay press.  The creamery sent its first shipment of butter to market.  The first new house to be built in Klemme was completed by Henry Peitzke. 

On June 6, 1890 the first baby born in Klemme arrived; her named was Hazel Peitzke.  The second baby born in Klemme was Helen Ruth Bloom.  The first boy born in Klemme was Clarence Kluckhohn on December 31, 1891.

There were many farmers moving into the area south and west of Klemme and a road was being surveyed to help the farmers get their products to market easier.

During October 1890 the Stille brothers were constructing a building for their general store business.

In December the depot was completed and Mr. Smith from Belmond was the first agent.  Mr. Kirkwood was engaged in the poultry buying business.  Mr. Duesenberg was in business as a shoemaker.  The grain dealers were doing a brisk business with nine carloads of grain and hay shipped out in one day.  Five additional new homes had been built.

Klemme was one year old and a thriving business center for the surrounding community.  Klemme also had many fine residential homes.  Plans were being made by individuals to continue building more businesses and private homes with the coming of the spring of 1891.


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2010 LaVern D. Velau
Klemme Iowa  1889-1989 1989