The history of the town of Kellogg dates back to 1865 when the Central Rock Island and Pacific Railroad reached Grinnell. The Kellogg town site was already familiar to stagecoach travelers as Manning's Station, so named for the long, narrow, barracks with rough board roofs which constituted a sort of depot and hotel combined and was operated by Dan Manning.
When the railroad made public their intention of proceeding west from Grinnell, designating this as a station, Dr. A.W. Adair (a young medical student from Ohio) and one Enos Blair laid out the town and on September 12, 1865, had it duly recorded in the court house in Newton as Jasper City.
Later the post office was established in the name of Kimball, as a compliment to A. Kimball, Esq., the efficient superintendent of the Iowa Division of the C.R.I. & P.R.R. Mr. Kimball protested against this, insisting that the name be Kellogg after Judge Abel Avery Kellogg. Thus the town had four names since it's beginning.¹
The track of the railroad reached Kellogg in the spring of 1866 and the round table was located southwest of the depot. Passenger trains began to run soon after.¹
The dray business, in those early days of the railroad, was a means for income for several of the local citizens. These men usually owned their own team and wagons. They would meet the train (usually six or seven a day) with their wagons ready to be loaded with all kinds of express and freight. This would be delivered by them to all the businesses and shops around town. They would pick up any freight the businesses would have and take it to the depot to be shipped out. In later years the dray business was taken over by trucks.²
The town of Kellogg made rapid and substantial growth in the first thirteen years of it's existence and being surrounded by a magnificent farming region, enjoyed a very large trade. It was incorporated in 1873 and made a municipality in 1874 with the first council meeting in March of that year. At this first council meeting two ordinances were passed, one to restrain swine from running at large and the other to regulate auction sales.¹
The view from the station depot at this time was far from inviting as all the passing traveler could see was the unsightly shanties and stables, standing in no order at all, around the barracks which served as the depot. There really was a splendid town site north from the station on the hillside, and it was on the very top of this hill, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country, that it was decided to erect the schoolhouse.¹
The Independent School district of Kellogg was organized May 25, 1868, with a special election being held to erect a school house. The first building was a two story, frame structure of two rooms. It faced the south and stood where the present building stands.¹
At that time the school year was divided into two periods of three months each, the first December through February and the second, April through June. There were no restrictions as to the age of pupils and going to school became immensely popular. Every available seating was taken and it is said that there were so many large pupils on the playground during recess that it was dangerous for the primary group to even attempt to play outside. These two rooms being inadequate, the smaller children were moved to the Congregational Church.¹
Meanwhile the railroad continued it's westward way, with the first train passing through Kellogg on July 1, 1867. The constant increase in population necessitated more room at the school, so a two room wing and a belfry were added in 1874.¹
A census of 1877 showed 124 boys and 140 girls enrolled in school. By 1881 Kellogg ranked as the second largest town in the county in population and an addition of two more rooms was built onto the existing structure. The school year was extended to nine months and by 1884, the Kellogg school offered a four year high school course.¹
The first class to graduate from Kellogg High School was in 1885 and included three seniors, Winona Bleakney, Albert Braley, and Walter Orebaugh. The population attended this exercise "en masse" for it was the outstanding event of the time. Flower girls were selected and gathered up bouquets of flowers brought by admiring friends and relatives, and deposited them at the feet of the graduating senior. It was a great honor to be chosen as a flower girl and it was a beautiful custom, but in time was discontinued because some graduates having few friends, consequently were given few flowers, thus causing embarrassment and hard feelings.¹
A fire of unknown origin destroyed the building December 19, 1901. Practically all records, books and furnishings were consumed. After much debate, it was decided to build a brick schoolhouse. It had six huge rooms, was three floors high, and was finished and dedicated on February 6, 1903. In 1923, a brick High School was built leaving the former building to the use of the elementary grades.¹
The "Kellogg Enterprise" began its career in April 1880, with J.W. Burke and W.P. Coutts as editors and supplied the news of this part of the county until it ceased publication in 1934.¹
The Kellogg Opera House was established in the late 1880's when Dr. J.R. Smith and H.M. Cox converted three buildings into an Opera House. The building had a capacity of 250 persons and on it's stages were presented dramatic productions, home talent, plays and numerous Kellogg graduation exercises. Like so many of the buildings of that era, it was swept away by flames in 1910. It was located on the north-west corner of High and Front Streets, site of the present City Hall. The Craven building was used for movies, stage productions and other community activities, after the Opera House burned.¹
The grain elevator was privately owned by I.L. Patton when it was purchased by a group of farmers in 1909 to form the first grain elevator co-operative. It was known as The Farmers Elevator Company.¹
The Gould Balance Valve Factory started in 1905.¹
Kellogg's Telephone Service dates back to 1900 when the system consisted of two lines and a switch in Henry Bobzin's General Store. The first company, the North Kellogg Telephone Company, had J.E. Craven as its first president, Since this time several re-organizations of the company have taken place. In later years, 23 rural lines gave service as well serving 475 town people. In 1959, the merger of these services formed the Kellogg Co-operative Telephone Association. Following this, the same year, the Association switched to the dial system, eliminating the need for telephone operators. and in 1971 Direct Distance Dialing was installed. At the present time, 800 telephones are in service in Kellogg.¹
Byrne's Jewelry Store. Mr. Harrison Byrne (pronounced Byron) came from Indiana in a covered wagon to establish Kellogg's first jewelry store. One of Kellogg's first residences, he had his store above what was most recently Rice's Plumbing. He was noted for carrying an umbrella every day of the year and also a big market basket. Every evening he would load up the jewelry in this market basket and take it home with him, for fear someone would rob the store. Mr. Byrne built the house where the Harley Coomers now live.²
Kellogg Post Office. This was a very large two-story building. Located on the west side of the business district, it set where the Kellogg Cafe now is. On the first floor was the Post Office. Upstairs housed the printing office. John Bourke had his law office in the building also. Around 1913, Bill Milligan decided to move it. At the time all streets in Kellogg were dirt. As the two horses pulled the huge building with a capstand, it began to rain. The building bogged down in the mud and set in the middle of the intersection for two weeks until it was dry enough to continue. The building finally reached its destination and is now the home of Mrs. Rose Edwards.²
The Kellogg House (or Brown Hotel) was owned by A.W. Brown and located directly north of the depot. After Mr. Brown died, Flora Fiser and her parents Martha and Cyrus Sloan lived and managed the hotel. Around 1920, Bill Milligan bought the hotel, tore it down and built a mechanic shop on the site.²
Early Mill. In 1878, a large and costly mill was erected only to be destroyed by fire three years later. In the early 1880's, two men by the name of Conard and Setser ran a mill on the river between Skunk River bridge and the railroad. The finished products were White Lily Flour and Silver Leaf Flour. Area residents would take corn to the mill to have it ground, and the miller would get a percentage of it for grinding and the farmer would get the rest.²
Melcher's Meat Market. John Q. Melcher had a slaughter house and ice house south of the Skunk River bridge leading into Kellogg. The animals were killed there and brought to the store on Main Street. He was known for his delicious bologna. It was a treat to buy it while it was still hot. Besides selling meat, Mr. Melcher also sold pickles from barrels and sauerkraut. He moved one door north and carried a full line of groceries. Mr. Melcher had a wooden leg and being the mischievous man that he was, he would play tricks on salesmen. He would pretend he was mad, throw a temper fit, take a tack and hammer it into his leg. Not knowing the leg was wooden, the innocent salesmen would blink in astonishment.²
The Ogden House. The Ogden House was a hotel located at the corner of Main and High Streets. It was owned by G.W. Brong. The building was four stories high. It was destroyed by a fire. It was a very prosperous hotel during the construction of the railroad.²
The Craven Broom Factory was in operation around the 1930's on the corner of Front and Depot Streets. The finished product was shipped out by rail.²
In the late 1800's, Andy Dunn operated a blacksmith shop. It was located on Front Street between the alley and the hotel. The shop was built by J.B. Burton. Directly behind the blacksmith shop was the city plumbing plant.²
James Edwin Craven (better known as Ed) built the Craven Building on the east side of Main Street. The building was divided into two parts. The north part was used by Dr. R.W. Woods. The south part housed the Craven's Crystal Theater. The movie theater was a family ran business. Mrs. Craven sold the tickets, John ran the projector, and Ed was the manager. Films came to town by train. After John went to college, Nat Johnson ran the projector. Mr. Craven used the proceeds from the movies to send his children to college. The stage was often used for high school plays and road shows that came through town. When Mr. Craven died in 1945, the building was sold to Art Holmdahl.²
Banking in Kellogg
In the enterprising town of Kellogg, banking was first established by J.B. Burton - a private banking house - in 1881. This continued to serve all demands in the community until 1900, when it became organized into a state bank under the name of the Burton & Company State Bank. In September 1908, the whole square upon which the bank stood was destroyed by a sweeping fire and the bank was destroyed. The same year the present bank was rebuilt, still housing the Burton & Co. State Bank. It's capitol in 1912 was $80,000.00 and the officers were J.B. Burton, President; C.J. Irish, Cashier and R.C. Burton, Assistant Cashier. In 1925, the Burton & Co. State Bank was dissolved.³
The Kellogg Savings Bank was organized on February 22, 1913 with A.B. Craven as President; E.J. Birchard, Vice-President; F.V. Morgan as Cashier. The Board of Directors were H. Willemsen, Henry Wulf, F.V. Morgan, A.B. Craven and E.J. Birchard. The bank opened for business in the C.R. Moberly Store, but in the spring of that same year, they erected a new building to the north of the Moberly Store (where the Kellogg Cafe now is). In May of 1920, right after graduating from high school, Jim Roth started with the bank. He started out as a cashier and assumed other general duties. Jim worked his way up through the offices, becoming President of the bank in 1962. He retired in 1975. The Kellogg Savings Bank moved across the street in 1926 and took up business in the former Burton & Co. State Bank building where they are still transacting business today.³
Medical Doctors of Kellogg
Dr. A.W. Adair (1828-1907) was one of the first doctors in our town. He was an Army doctor in the Civil War. He came here from Ohio. A man by the name of Blair, who was a surveyor and Dr. Adair laid out the east part of town in the late 1860's, and this part of town is known as Blair and Adair Addition. This was about the time the Rock Island Railroad came this far. Dr. Adair built the house north across from Nelson's Market. He insulated the house with sawdust.
Dr. Beck was dentist as well as being a doctor. He was the official health officer. He was a partner of Dr. Adair until they dissolved partnership in 1890. He then moved to Des Moines.
Dr. J.R. Smith served as the town's druggist. He was a noted land owner of this area.
Dr. Francis Hackett was in town briefly.
Dr. W.S. Adair was a son of the first Dr. Adair. He lived in the house his father built. He married a local girl, Edith Burroughs. He served as the band leader. They were the parents of four sons and all were very good musicians. He passed away in 1926.
Dr. Bismark Liesman was here for 40 years. He married a local girl, a Miss McQuire. They had three daughters and two sons. He rode a white mule for transportation. He also had a mail order business, selling goitees, besides being a farmer and carpenter. A very busy man, Dr. Liesman lived where Flora Fiser now lives. He had an office behind his home and that office is now the home of Mrs. Hazel Doud. He passed away in 1937.
Dr. R.W.Woods was a medic in World War I. He married Anne Gunn. He stayed five or six years, then moved to Newton where he became an ear, eye and nose specialist. He was a very good doctor.
Dr. J.T. Hannah was a very large man. He married Clara Reichelt, (Hugo's sister). He was drafted into the Army in 1918.
Dr. Gould first had his office across from the hardware store, then in the Craven Building and then in the large house behind the city market. He left here to become a doctor at the Veterans Hospital in Des Moines. He came back to Kellogg only to leave again to become a doctor in the atomic plant there, He died during World War II.
Dr. Jacobs had an office on the west side of the business district. He was an osteopath, but he didn't stay very long.
After Dr. Gould left the second time, we had several doctors for short periods of time. There was a Dr. Gillespie, Dr. Phendt, and Dr. Dennison.
Dr. Dunseth was here for around three years and was a very popular doctor. He was called into the Armed Services as a medic. He had six children. After he got out of the Armed Services, he continued his education and became a specialist in surgery.
After Dr. Dunseth came Dr. Warner and Dr. Ingis, and then a Dr. Barnes. These three doctors weren't in Kellogg very long.²
There were five religious denominations in the early years of Kellogg: Methodist Church, Christian Church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Congregational Church, and a Catholic Church.¹
The Kellogg Methodist Church had its beginnings in a Rock Island Railroad Coach. Organized in 1866, the church used the school house for its meetings until the present building was constructed in 1870 while Rev. R.J. Kenyon was paster. Over the years extensive remodeling has been done; with as addition for Sunday School rooms added to the west.¹
The Kellogg Christian Church was organized with 15 charter members June 26, 1870 at the Saum schoolhouse in Buena Vista Township. It moved to Kellogg in 1875, meeting for two years in the Opera House. The Church was constructed in 1876-1877 and the first minister of the church was Elder T.F. Bron. A Sunday School wing and new entry way have been added to the church in recent years.¹
The St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Kellogg was organized in 1870 and was mothered by St. Clement's Church of Mokema, Illinois. The church was constructed under the supervision of Charles Bobzin and Mr. Pentico and in later years remodeling and enlarging was accomplished.¹
The Congregational Church was located on the corner of Lyman Avenue and Main Street (where the Sam Hyatts now live). Mrs. Ellen Redding played the organ. The late Ruth Schultz's grandfather, Mr. William S. Pringle, was caretaker and general overseer of the church. Two very prominent families of the congregation were the Day and Timm families. It was a flourishing church at one time; but due to deaths and other circumstances, the membership dwindled to three people. So the church was sold. It was moved out in the country west of town and now serves as the Amboy Grange.²
The Quaker Church was in Kellogg beginning around the 1850's. It was moved into town from between the Jim Young and Clarence Day farms southwest of Kellogg. There is still a Friends Cemetery there to mark the spot. In recent years, when the trustee discovered there was a cemetery there, it cleaned and restored, Cattle had previously grazed over the tombstones. The Quaker Church was located on the southeast corner of West and Third Streets (across from Rose Edwards). After years of existence, it was torn down and the lumber was used to build the house where the Dale Ebert family now lives.²
¹ Kellogg Historical Booklet Vol. I - 1974
² Kellogg Historical Booklet Vol. II - 1975
³ Kellogg Historical Booklet Vol. III - 1983