History of Wall Lake Township, Sac County, IA
From: History of Sac County, Iowa
By: William H. Hart
B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914


Wall Lake township should not be misunderstood as being the civil township in which Wall Lake town is situated, but rather as the one in which Lake View, another town, is located. A greater portion of the beautiful water sheet, Wall Lake, is within Wall Lake township, while a small part is in the township south, Viola. Wall Lake township is congressional township No. 37, range 36 west. It is second from the east and second from the south line of Sac county. It was organized in 1871 and in 1880 had a population of only 462. In 1910 it had 1,209 with Lake View.

The Coon river touches sections 1, 12 and 13 of this township, and is increased by the waters of Indian creek which flow in a semi circular direction through the central portion of the territory.

The township has much excellent land and no small amount of lower, swampy land which, Gunder the touch of modem methods of drainage, is fast becoming a garden spot.

The Chicago & Northwestern railroad runs through the western central part of the township, from Lake View to Sac City.

Some of the early settlements in the county were effected here, but not nearly so early as in Sac and Jackson. The village history of Lake View gives much concerning the first to effect settlement. Other general chapters will treat on the schools. lodges and churches of Wall Lake township, hence will be omitted in this connection.


What is know as Wall lake (originally called on the early maps "Walled lake") was written up by Hon. H. C. Rippey, of Jefferson, Iowa, in the early seventies in language, largely of imagination, that sounds odd to the reader of today, who is convinced that the "wall" is nothing other than a pile of prairie boulders that have been heaved up by the frosts of many winters, and that there is no evidence, whatsoever, that man's hand had anything to do with the line of stones that may resemble a laid up wall. The item referred to is as follows:

"At the north end of the lake there commences a beautiful gravel bank, gradually sloping into the water and continues around on the north side for about a fourth of a mile. The wall then commences, the bank being steep and avenges from three to six feet in height. The lake gets wider, and as it widens the wall gets very thick, containing great boulders. One and a fourth miles from the northeast end of the lake there is a levee from two to five feet high, across low land, resembling, very much, the levees of the lower Mississippi river country, with the exception that next to the water is stone. The wall commences on the east side of the Boyer slough and continues around the south side of the lake to the northeast corner and levees are thrown up at the low places. This levee is so complete that a person may walk entirely around the lake. At several places on the south side, on high ground, embankments are thrown up to form breastworks. It is in fact a great curiosity, and the more one looks at it the more is the wonder who did it. How came these great stones, two or more tons in weight, on the banks, in many places lying on top of smaller ones."

The reader should understand that modern writers and sane thinkers know that such a description is a mere fancy of some writer who wanted to believe, and perhaps thought, he had struck a natural curiosity.


The following reminiscence was written by Platt Armstrong, one of the pioneers and founders of the town of Lake View, this county: "In 1875 I came from Lost Nation, Clinton county, Iowa, to Sac county and bought section 13. Clinton township. I sent my eldest son, Alden, and Oren Haskins, with teams and breaking plows, to break up the land. They broke out about a hundred and sixty acres. That autumn I helped the improvements along by shipping one load of lumber to Vail, it being the nearest railroad station. My son started to haul it. The first load he left in a slough six miles from home. The next load he was obliged to sleep with out on the prairie eight miles from home under his wagon, it taking him four days to get the first two loads of lumber, after which he succeeded in making a load each day. Then there was not a road or any bridges within the twenty mile journey. I built a house and a stable that fall, and my son got married and the following spring another one of my sons came on and helped put in a crop, which in August was destroyed by grasshoppers; the corn and oats were all gone, but some wheat was left. That season the mosquito and green headed horse flies were extremely thick in this part of the country and really made life a burden to both man and beast. These pests, together with the grasshoppers, caused us to be much discouraged with our newly located home. I then came to the conclusion that this county was not a suitable place in which to settle my sons in permanent homes, which I had intended doing for them. Hence, I started. south, homeseeking, and went to Texas and rode some four hundred miles on horseback, going in west of Fort Worth, but saw nothing that enticed me to locate there. I then returned to Clinton county and brooded over my misfortunes and unlucky selection of lands here, seeing nothing cheering ahead of me for my family. In February, the following season, one morning I awoke and upon looking over the situation I was possessed of an inspiration, which was to rent my farm and move my family to Sac county. By noon that day, I had my land rented and two weeks later I had moved here bag and baggage. * * *

"February 22, 1888, I arrived of Wall Lake again, and when settled down I found that I had fourteen head of horses and four boys large enough to handle a team, so we went to tearing up the prairie sod and in 1890 we raised three thousand bushels of wheat and five thousand bushels of Corn, besides oats and barley. I then left this placed and bought a quarter section of land in the west part of the present town of Lake View and commenced to plan for a railroad station, hut found that the Northwestern Railroad Company was prohibited from platting another town, as parties in Sac City and Wall Lake had started the first railroad and did the grading. with the understanding that there was not to be a station between these two points. One day I met an officer of the Northwestern road and asked him about it and he said that while this was true, that it did not prevent anyone else from platting a station and putting in a side track. He said if I would go ahead and build a small station house and do the grading for a short side track, that the company would recognize it as a station. I knew nothing about platting a town, but I took James Fletcher into my confidence. I also found that I could get the eighty acres of land that the railroad ran through for twenty dollars per acre, but Mr. Fletcher seemed to think he wanted it all, so he purchased the land and proceeded to raise the money to build a depot building and pay for side track grounds. In this way Lake View had its origin, but it was known then as "Fletcher." November 28, 1887, it was changed to that of Lake View.

"The same fall I built a large barn and finished off one of the stables to live in, while I was building my house. In order to do this I had to put up some stove pipe in length about thirty feet, and seven joints extended out beyond the building. Being rusted together, the united joints of pipe made a very good lightning conductor, so, thinking to be on the safe side, I would make a connection with the earth, which.I did by boring holes at each hind leg of the stove through the barn floor, and then placed wires around the legs and on down to the ground. This was probably an original idea, but I never patented it! However, it worked well, for on one occasion a bad thunder storm came up and lightning struck the stove pipe and the seven joints outside the building were entirely ruined, but the charge went on direct to the damp earth and harmed nothing else about the place. From this incident originated the great Dodd & Strothers lightning rod.

"In regard to the description of the lake, it should be stated that when the land was surveyed by the government, they meandered twelve hundred and eighty acres out for the water, which makes it two and a half miles in length from east to west, by about one mile in width in the widest place. There are two islands, one having a hundred and twenty acres. while the other is but a small tract of but a few acres, generally known by hunters as "Gun shot Hill." The fractional parts of forties adjoining the lake are called government lots. Armstrong's Second Addition is government lot No. 5; Hugo Westerman's is lot No. 6 and Denison Beach, a part of which is now a summer resort. Lakewood is Lot No. 7, which is the principal one, having some fifty cottages, a large hotel, a skating rink, bowling alley, a dance hall, toboggan slide, with many pleasure boats, bath houses, etc. This resort was started by J. H. Graves. and by him conducted a few years; he then sold the farm, the resort and grounds to Mr. Trinket, for about nineteen dollars per acre. He sold to Hugo Westerman the resort grounds for nine thousand dollars and he, in turn, sold to Chris Larson for twenty thousand dollars and only recently he has sold it for fifty thousand dollars to A. B. Weiland and Brothers, who took possession last spring (1913) and they have since conducted it.

"John Provost has also been selling lots and building cottages on the larger of the two islands for a number of years. About twenty of these buildings are now occupied during the summer and autumn months. Louis Larson, as he is known, has two gasoline boats for carrying passengers, and there are also a half dozen smaller craft, with a small sail boat line, all of which afford great pleasure to the summer visitors."


The first settlement was made here by Robert Throssel and son in the spring of 1867. They were followed by Joseph Parkinson, Noah Borah, William Johnston, Thomas Wa4dicor and George Trainer, who settled at the east and south of the lake. In 1869 came in W. A. Robinson, locating on a farm three miles from the present town site. The town was laid out by J. C. Fletcher in 1880. The town was named for him, but later changed to Lake View. The first house on the town site was removed from Wall Lake by W. H. Robinson, in the autumn of 1880. J. C. Fletcher and Harry Seeders opened the first store at Fletcher. Then followed C. E. Gard and A. J. Thompson. The first elevator was erected by W. H. Robinson in 1881. The first hardware store was opened by J. P. Therkelson in 1881. The railroad (the Northwestern) was completed to this point in the fall of 1880.

The first hotel, the Lake House, was opened by W. H. Robinson in 1880. H. L. Briggs started the first lumber yard here. The first postmaster and those who succeeded him to date were W. H. Robinson, in December, 1880: William H. Mang, September 3. 1886 (name changed to Lake View November 28, 1887); William H. Mang, November 28, 1887; William M. Hamilton, August 8, 1889; William H. Along, July 19, 1893; F. H. Clark, June 15, 1897, and who is still serving.

The first society to hold religious services was the Baptist denomination, with Rev. W. N. McKendrick as pastor. The first school was held in 1881 with Miss Anna Searle as teacher. There was no school building at that date, but private rooms were secured.

The business interests in Lake View in the month of January, 1914, were as follows:
General Stores - J. P. Wells, People's Store and the Miesel store.
Lumber - Lake View Lumber Company.
Blacksmithing - Hans Olson.
Barbers - Ellis Bros. and E. Mason.
Drugs - Mr. Duerr.
Photographer - E. L. Maxwell.
Newspaper - The Resort, by Edwin McSheehy.
Dray Line - F. N. Dunham.
Livery - Charles Mohn.
Grain and Seeds - Updike Grain Company.
Dentist - Molsberry Bros.
Physicians and Surgeons - Dr. E. E. Speaker.
Painter - Milton Olson.
Lake View Creamery.
Tailor and Cleaner - J. B. Lohr.
Automobile garages - Armstrong & Dean and Spencer & Son, and the Lake View Auto Company.

The population is about seven hundred. The school house consists of an eight room, well equipped structure. The town is supplied with an excellent water works system and has a high steel tower and tank. There are numerous large ice houses here where immense amounts of the finest lake ice in the state are stored and shipped far and near. In the season of 1910, five hundred cars were shipped. Much is used by the railroad company for drinking and refrigerating purposes along the extensive system. At one time large quantities of gravel and sand were removed from the earth at this point by steam shovels and the road bed of the railroad far to the west was made first class by its use, but the holes left make an unsightly place today, in the very heart of the town.

The town of Fletcher was incorporated in September, 1887, and soon changed to the name of Lake View. At the election of that year to decide the matter of incorporation, there were forty votes cast for incorporation and none against it. Among the earlier mayors may be recalled the names of Messrs. L. F. Davis; R. Hiersche, 1890; R. M. Paine, 1891; James Park, 1892; E. C. F. Mohr, 1893; Platt Armstrong, 1894. Since its incorporation the place has had, for the most part, a good municipal government and today the improvements are in keeping with the towns of western Iowa in general.

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