SPRING VALLEY CITY AND TOWNSHIP
God touched the earth in kindness, and lo, it dimpled where
It felt His mighty finger, and a valley nestled there;
And He told the angel artist to paint a sky more blue
Than ever dainty violet or airy bluebell knew,
And to stretch it o'er that valley, as a promise from its God,
That peace and plenty there should spring like flowers from the sod.
"Flowers bloom best midst environment of sunshine and intelligent cultivation, and cities live longest and
happiest where conditions conduce to the loftiest development of moral, financial and physical culture." This
was written by a common sense philosopher long before this city had its beginning, but it is so pertinent to the
subject in hand that it requires no stretch of distinguishing ability to cite Spring Valley as an exemplification
of the quotation.
To those who have an intimate acquaintance with Spring Valley, the story of its general status will furnish pleasure
rather than interest, while to the many who may get their first or more intimate impressions of its advantages
through this work, brief details may prove a valuable index to possibilities which will result in future profits
to both town and reader.
Spring Valley, a city of nearly 2,000 inhabitants, is located in the western part of Fillmore county, on the southern
Minnesota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, and also on the Chicago & Great Western
Road. Since the city was founded its growth has been slow, but substantial, and with unfaltering progress along
the line of permanent development, until today it has a commercial, social and artistic standing excelled by none
of its neighbors, and equalled by few of them. And the important factors of this development are the unexcelled
advantages of location, natural resources, pure water, good health and the productiveness of the farms tributary
to Spring Valley. With its two lines of transportation and easy accessibility to market, this city has long held
the record as the banner stock shipping point in southern Minnesota, it being no unusual sight to see a solid train
load of hogs shipped from this city to the Chicago market at one time, while eggs and poultry are shipped East
by the carload. The Spring Valley Creamery, one of the largest and best co-operative creameries in this famous
dairy section, has long held its supremacy, while the Spring Valley Flour Mills are known far and wide from the
excellence of their product. A line of elevators operated by independent buyers and also by the large grain companies,
keeps the grain and cereal market at the top notch, while the Farmers' Co-operative Buyers and Shippers' Association,
a strong organization of farmers, is a potent factor in giving the farmer the largest possible returns for the
products of the soil, the dairy, the flocks and herds. Two substantial banking houses, with deposits aggregating
nearly a million dollars and each with a surplus which equals their capital stock, makes this city a financial
center for a large territory. Three fine school houses, with all the modern and up to date methods, including an
agricultural school, affords the best of instruction for the youth of city and country. A fine public library,
with thousands of volumes, adds its potent influence to the intellectual uplift of the community, while seven churches
minister to the moral welfare of large congregations.
Spring Valley has one hotel, two banks, three garages, one bakery, one laundry, two theaters, two dentists, four
lawyers, one orchestra, one flour mill, two nurseries, seven churches, two shoe shops, three physicians, three
art stores, one public park, one junk dealer, two newspapers, two drug stores, one music store, four paint shops,
three restaurants, one tailor shop, one cigar factory, one billiard hall, one rental agency, two lumber yards,
one broom factory, a sewerage system, four stock buyers, five grocery stores, two bicycle shops, four wagon shops,
one livery stable, two meat markets, two jewelry stores, two harness shops, four machine shops, two plumbing shops,
two baseball clubs, two furniture stores, five blacksmith shops, four hardware stores, three millinery stores,
two resident opticians, two veterinary surgeons, four dry goods stores, six dressmaking shops, four grain warehouses,
one electric light plant, several boarding houses, four real estate dealers, four job printing offices, two photograph
galleries, six boot and shoe stores, three insurance agencies, two coal and wood yards, 2,000 inhabitants, one
steel neckyoke factory, one local telephone exchange, three breeders of race horses, three three chair barber shops,
an up to date fire department, marble and monumental works, four rural free delivery routes, five contractors and
builders, two undertaking establishments, one ladies' furnishing goods store, one wide awake commercial club, three
cement sidewalk manufacturers, three agricultural implement dealers, one architect (state wide reputation), best
brass band in southern Minnesota, one public library and free reading room, the healthiest climate in the United
States, splendid trout fishing in nearby streams, municipal judge and two justices of the peace, three clothing
and gentlemen's furnishing stores, two railroads with eight passenger trains daily, all of the principal benevolent
and fraternal orders, three fine school buildings employing twenty teachers, two long distance telephone systems
(rural telephone lines), one creamery (best in the state, annual product exceeds $150,000), one wholesale poultry
and egg house (annual business $125,000), a municipal waterworks system which furnishes the purest of water.
Business Men of the Day. The business men of Spring Valley who have their hands on the pulse of commercial life
are a wide awake, progressive and liberal body. Yet with their progression and liberality is blended a conservatism
which insures success. Their occupations and necessities keep them in touch with the popular requirements in their
particular lines of business. Among those noted in this history will be recognized many excellent specimens of
their calling, a great majority of whom have won their laurels in the avenues of trade. They represent to a great
extent the brains and intelligence of its commercial leaders, and the successes they have already achieved are
proof that they know how to keep abreast of the times in all that goes to make up business conquest. The pre-eminently
successful merchant of today has discarded the slow methods of his predecessors. He is alert and enterprising to
a high degree, and with his progressive spirit surmounts almost overwhelming obstacles and strikes out in new directions,
working along the highway which ultimately leads to great success. Those mentioned in this history are known as
"hard workers" At their places of business early and late, with honest endeavor to succeed and an eye
to the future, they are as representative a body as could be found in any city - men of fearless integrity, whose
word is as good as their bond. They are not distinguished for their great wealth, but their bank accounts are the
results of their own industry. Their careers make an interesting chapter in the history of this city.
Early History. In 1853 Zara Warner took a claim in sections twenty seven and twenty eight. In the same year T.
F. Huntley took a claim in sections thirty three and thirty four. They erected claim shanties, brought their families,
started to break the land, and were the original inhabitants of what afterward became the village of Spring Valley.
Nothing was done toward establishing a village in 1853 and 1854.
In 1855 there arrived a group of men who were the real founders of the village. The company consisted of Joseph
B. Thayer, Nelson Burdick, I. N. Cummings, H. A. Billings and J. M. Strong. They came from Pennsylvania and arrived
in Fillmore county May 14, 1855, taking dinner at Elliota, and reaching the home of Gilbert Bassett, at Forestville,
for the night. They arrived in Spring Valley May 15, and took dinner with Zara Warner. After looking over the land
the men organized the Spring Valley Association and purchased twenty acres from Mr. Warner and 160 from Mr. Huntley,
paying $200 in gold. The next day they started back to Iowa. The land of Mr. Warner lay north of Jefferson street
and the land of Mr. Huntley south of it.
June 16, 1855, a quarter section in sections thirty three and thirty four was pre-empted by J. B. Thayer, this
being the land on a part of which the original village was platted.
In 1855 the site selected began to assume the aspects of a pioneer village.
The first store was put up in 1855 by I. N. Cummings, occupying the present site of the Commercial Hotel. Mr. Cummings
and his family occupied the second story of the store. It is said that when Mr. Cummings located here he brought
about $300 worth of goods, which he first displayed for sale in a rail pen covered with boards, using this primitive
place of trade until the store was completed.
The first hotel was put up in 1855, and was opened by Myron Conklin. The hotel was of logs, and stood a little
south of the river on the west side of what is now Broadway.
Two frame residences were erected on the village site in 1855. One was that of H. A. Billings, the building being
located near where the Burgess Brothers Lumber Yard is now operated. The other was the residence of Cordello Wilkins.
This house contained three rooms, and was in those days regarded as a model of convenience and luxury.
These houses, one store, one hotel and two residences, were all that occupied the village site when W. L. Kellogg
arrived in the spring of 1856.
In the meantime, in 1855 Thomas C. Watson had settled east of the village, on what is now the Kellogg farm, and
John M. Smith had opened a small store there, a school also being taught that year by Ann Kingsley, a sister of
Mrs. John M. Smith.
In the spring of 1856 two different villages, each known as Spring Valley, were platted and recorded. March 21,
1856, Thomas C. Watson platted a village called Spring Valley, on what is now the Kellogg farm, east of the present
village. April 7, 1856, J. B. Thayer platted what is now known as the original plat of Spring Valley, lying south
of Jefferson street and west of Section street.
In the race for existence the town platted by Thayer survived, and Watson's town became a farm, John M. Smith soon
moving to Thayer 's village and opening his store here.
Spring Valley in 1858. A pamphlet issued in 1858 has the following to say of Spring Valley: "The village was
laid out in the spring of 1856, and now contains some thirty or more houses. In approaching the town the eye is
first attracted by the handsome white school house which crowns an eminence overlooking the village, and was built
before the village was two years old, at a cost of over $1,500. A church will soon be built. In the meantime services
are being held in the school house. Descending the gentle slope from the school house, we come to the steam flouring
and sawmills of Stevens & Son. The grist mill is driven by an engine of fifteen horse power, and cuts 2,000
feet of lumber in twelve hours. A lath saw and shingle machine are also connected with the mill, and now in operation.
The Spring Valley Hotel, kept by Farmer, is a well arranged and comfortable house. Here are two stores and several
mechanics. A lyceum has been in operation for several months, and its weekly sessions are attended by old and young."
The advertisements which appear are those of H. M. Steele, attorney; J. M. Strong & Co., general store; Spring
Valley Steam Flouring & Saw Mills, Stevens & Son; H. Gilbert, M. D., drugs and medicines. The other store
was that of Thomas C. Watson. B. F. Farmer, in the meantime, had opened a blacksmith shop. The hotel mentioned
was kept by Hiram and George W. Farmer.
Prominent Pioneers. Among the prominent men in or near Spring Valley in the days of the earliest settlement, there
should he mentioned, in addition to those given space elsewhere, the following: Eleazer Root, Jessie Cartlich and
sons, Charles, Joseph and D. C., George Fesler, Orlan Root, William S. Hill, Charles A. Cady, Dr. W. P. Belden,
John Kleckler, Joseph R. and S. C. Kellogg, Henry Low, Henry Prosser, John Sample, W. T. Wilkins, N. B. Smith,
Thomas Scott, James Scott, ____ Peabody, E. McMurtrie, T. M. Chapman, Joseph Watson.
Municipal History. A village government was authorized for Spring Valley in the winter of 1872, by a special act
of the legislature. The following named persons were elected the first officers: President, C. E. Evans; chairman,
S. A. Hunt, I. N. Cummings, J. F. Stevens and L. Griswold; treasurer, A. J. Alley; recorder, J. S. Lee; justice
of the peace, W. P. Carroll; marshal, D. Twohey.
1873 - President, C. E. Evans; council, C. G. Edwards, Israel Taylor, T. W. Tower, J. S. Lee; recorder, W. L. Kellogg;
treasurer, A. J. Alley; marshal, H. B. Thayer; attorney, W. P. Carroll; justice, C. D. Farnsworth; assessor, G.
W. Gregory; overseers, J. E. Whiteman, A. D. Preston; surveyor, J. C. Stevens.
1874 - President, C. E. Evans; council, N. B. Smith, J. B. Thayer, M. P. Lower, I. Thayer; recorder, W. L. Kellogg;
treasurer, A. J. Alley; marshal, E. W. Thayer; attorney, John T. Carey: justice, G. AV. Gregory; assessor, G. W.
1875 - President, S. A. Hunt; council, M. P. Lower, G. M. Warren, D. A. Sullivan, A. P. Flower; recorder, W. L.
Kellogg; treasurer, A. J. Alley; marshal, E. W. Thayer; attorney, J. D. Farmer; justice, R. D. Smith; overseer,
A. J. Hilts.
1876 - President, C. W. Demmon; council, A. B. Flower, M. P. Lower, D. A. Sullivan, W. W. Bonticou; recorder, C.
S. McLean; treasurer, A. J. Alley; marshal, T. Wilkins; attorney, J. D. Farmer; justice, G. W. Gregory; overseer,
W. H. Lloyd. C. W. Demmon, elected mayor, refused to serve, and E. S. Bumstead was elected.
1877 - President, John King; council, J. F. Stevens, H. F. Miller, E. Steffens, E. S. Bumstead; recorder, W. L.
Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, T. Wilkins; attorney, J. D. Farmer; justice, G. W. Gregory; overseer,
C. D. Farnsworth.
1878 - President, C. M. Clark; council, E. Steffens, N. Erass, W. F. Jerome, H. A. Billings; recorder, W. L. Kellogg;
treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, T. Wilkins; attorney, J. D. Farmer; justice, G. W. Gregory; overseer, C. D. Farnsworth.
1879 - President, C. M. Clark; council, E. Steffens, J. Q. Farmer, S. A. Hunt, E. W. Allard; recorder, W. L. Kellogg;
treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, T. Wilkins; attorney, Burdett Thayer; justice, A. R. Holman; assessor, N. R.
Booth; surveyor. M. F. Varney; overseer, A. Gould.
1880 - Chairman, C. M. Clark; council, S. A. Hunt, E. S. Steffens, E. M. Brown, D. A. Sullivan; recorder, W. L.
Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, E. W. Thayer; attorney, Burdett Thayer; justice, George C. Weed; surveyor
M. Varney; overseer, C. E. Huntley.
1881 - Chairman, D. A. Sullivan; council, A. F. Whiteman, E. W. Thayer, L. Bar, H. J. Anderson; recorder; W. L.
Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, T. A. Wilkins; attorney, Burdett Thayer; justice, George C. Weed; overseer,
C. E. Huntley; surveyor, M. F. Varney.
1882 - Chairman, E. W. Thayer; council, D. A. Sullivan, J. N. Graling, George Hibner, W. A. Potter; recorder, W.
L. Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, P. Cusick; attorney, George E. Hibner; justice, A. R. Holman; surveyor,
A. F. Whitman; overseer, T. A. Douglass.
1883 - Chairman, S. C. Lobdill; council, J. W. Hoxsie, C. F. Kumm, F. N. Miller, G. M. Warren; recorder, W. L.
Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, D. C. Hendershott; attorney, George E. Hibner; justice, A. R. Holman;
overseer, C. E. Huntley; surveyor, W. M. Mason.
1884 - Chairman, J. N. Graling; council, F. V. Edwards, E. W. Thayer, W. A. Potter, E. C. Gale; recorder, W. L.
Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, P. Cusick; attorney, George E. Hibner; justice, N. T. Tolmie; surveyor,
W. M. Mason; overseer, B. F. Holman.
1885 - Chairman, W. H. Strong; council, W. Bonticou, D. A. Sullivan, J. W. Hoxsie, M. E. Molstad; recorder, W.
L. Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, T. Wilkins; attorney, George E. Hibner; justice, A. R. Holman; surveyor,
W. M. Mason; overseer, C. E. Huntley.
1886 - Chairman, I. N. Cummings; council, C. G. King, J. N. Graling, E. C. Gale, L. C. Payne; recorder, W. L. Kellogg;
treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, Thomas Reid; attorney, Burdett Thayer; justice, H. T. Tolmie; surveyor, W. M.
Mason; overseer, H. K. Bateman.
1887 - Chairman, J. N. Graling; council, E. W. Thayer, F. V. Edwards, E. C. Gale, W. G. Rundell; recorder, W. L.
Kellogg; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, P. Cusick; attorney, A. R. Burleson; justice, George Weed; surveyor,
W. N. Mason; overseer, C. E. Huntley.
1888 - Chairman, J. N. Graling; council, E. W. Thayer, F. V. Edwards, George Payne, W. G. Rundell; recorder, A.
R. Burleson; treasurer, N. W. Williams; marshal, P. Cusick; attorney, Burdett Thayer; justice, A. R. Holman; surveyor,
W. M. Mason; overseer, Henry Goldberry.
1889 - Chairman, C. M. Clark; council, E. W. Thayer, W. H. Arnold, J. R. Johnson, B. H. Holmes; recorder, J. C.
Halbkat; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, George Schell; attorney, C. D. Allen; justice, A. R. Holman; surveyor,
W. M. Mason; overseer, Henry Goldberry. March 18, 1889, the trustees of the village met at 2 in the afternoon.
Ballot was taken for chairman. At 5 forty one ballots had been taken with no decision. The board adjourned to meet
at 8 o'clock in the evening. March 18, 1889. the board met pursuant to adjournment and again proceeded to ballot
for chairman. No decision was reached until a ballot had been taken one hundred and six times. At the one hundred
and sixth ballot C. M. Clark received a majority of the votes and was elected chairman of village council.
1890 - Chairman, J. R. Johnson; council, W. H. Strong, W. W. Bonticou, D. A. Sullivan, B. H. Holmes; recorder,
J. C. Halbkat; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, M. M. Cowles; attorney, C. D. Allen; justice, A. R. Holman; surveyor,
L. H. Osterud.
1891 - Chairman, F. W. Thornhill; council, S. M. Wilder, M. E. Molstad, W. G. Rundell, E. Steffens; recorder, J.
C. Halbkat; treasurer, A. P. Flower; marshal, H. O. Shaw; attorney, Burdett Thayer; justice, E. W. Thayer; surveyor,
Joseph Zigmund, F. W. Thornhill was elected chairman on the third ballot.
1892 - Chairman, J. N. Graling; council, W. G. Rundell, E. Steffens, S. M. Wilder, F. V. Edwards; recorder, J.
C. Halbkat; treasurer, C. G. King; marshal, R. C. Livingstone; attorney, R. J. Parker; justice, E. W. Thayer; surveyor,
1893 - Chairman, B. F. Farmer; council, E. W. Thayer, L. H. Ostrude, M. P. Lower, B. R. Holmes; recorder, J. C.
Halbkat; treasurer, Kerry Conley; marshal, R. C. Livingstone; attorney, R. J. Parker; justice, H. E. Leach; surveyor,
1894 - Chairman, M. P. Lower; council, T. A. Sorenson, B. H. Holmes, C. F. Kumm, B. F. Farmer; recorder, J. C.
Halbkat; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; marshal, C. A. Lamson; attorney, R. J. Parker; justice, A. R. Holman; surveyor,
1895 - Chairman, F. W. Thornhill; council, M. E. Molstad, Samuel M. Mason, E. W. Thayer, S. L. Olds; recorder,
J. C. Halbkat; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; marshal, C. A. Lamson; attorney, R. J. Parker; justice, H. T. Tomlie;
surveyor, Joseph Zigmund.
1896 - President, B. F. Farmer; council, W. W. Bonticou, W. W. Washburn, John Leuthold, Frank Rafferty, Jr.; recorder,
Harris E. Leach; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; marshal, C. A. Lamson; attorney, R. J. Parker; justice, H. T. Tolmie.
1897 - President, D. A. Sullivan; council, W. AV. Bonticou, C. J. Rothermel, N T Cummings, Frank Rafferty, Jr.;
recorder, Harris E. Leach; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; marshal, C. A. Lamson; justice, H. T. Tolmie. March 8, 1898,
the electors voted for reincorporation of village under chapter 146, General Laws of 1891.
1898 - President, Frank Rafferty; council, Ward 1, C. C. Sheldon, W. W. Bonticou; ward 2, D. A. Sullivan, G. J.
Schell; recorder, E. G. Washburn; assessor, B. E. Page; municipal judge, R. J. Parker; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg.
1899 - President, Frank Rafferty; council, ward 1, C. C. Sheldon, W. W. Bonticou; ward 2, D. A. Sullivan, G. J.
Schell; recorder, E. G. Washburn; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, B. E. Page.
1900 - President, D. A. Sullivan; council, ward 1, C. C. Sheldon, Edwin Bartlett; ward 2, N. T. Cummings, S. M.
Wilder; recorder, E. G. Washburn; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, B. E. Page; justices, Burdett Thayer, Asa
1901 - President, J. N. Graling; council, ward 1, J. B. Sample, S. H Hale; ward 2, M. E. Molstad, A. C. Barnes;
recorder, George A. Beagle; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, Charles Burkhardt; municipal judge, Burdett Thayer;
justice, H. T. Tolmie.
1902 - President, F. W. Thornhill; council, ward 1, S. H. Hale, John Diffendarfer; ward 2, E. F. Ostrander, J.
E. Wilcox; recorder, E. G. Washburn; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, B. E. Page; justice, Asa It Burleson.
1903 - President, M. P. Lower; council, ward 1, Elwin Bartlett, C. E. Lawrence; ward 2, E. F. Ostrander, G. J.
Schell; recorder, E. G. Washburn; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; municipal judge, Burdett Thayer; assessor, F. H. Viall;
justice, H. T. Tolmie.
1904 - President, M. P. Lower; council, ward 1, C. E. Lawrence, Elwin Bartlett; ward 2, E. F. Ostrander, J. E.
Wilcox; recorder, E. G. Washburn; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, W. Kingsley; justice, Asa R Burleson.
1905 - President, N. T. Cummings; council, ward 1, N. J. Warner, Charles Sattler; ward 2, D. A Sullivan, J. E.
Wilcox; recorder, E. G. Washburn; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, W. N. Kingsley; justice, H. T. Tolmie; municipal
judge, S. C. Pattridge.
1906 - President, N. T. Cummings; council, ward 1, Charles Sattler, N. J. Warner; ward 2, J. E. Wilcox, G. M. Warren;
recorder, E. G. Washburn; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, W. N. Kingsley; justice, Asa R. Burleson.
1907 - President, John C. Keenan; council, ward 1, E. L. Sheldahl, Samuel Gammel; ward 2, N. N. Kendrick, James
E. Scott; recorder, Roy Viall; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessors, W. N. Kingsley; justice, H. T. Tolmie; municipal
judge, S. C. Pattridge.
1908 - President, John C. Keenan; council, ward 1, E. L. Sheldahl, Samuel Gemmel; ward 2, J. E. Wilcox, John Biederbick;
recorder, Roy Viall; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, W. N. Kingsley; justice, Asa R. Burleson.
1909 - President, P. R. Jorris; council, ward 1, E. B. Davis, Edwin Kilburn; ward 2, J. E. Wilcox, Andrew Thompson;
recorder, Roy Viall; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, W. N. Kingsley; municipal judge, S. C. Pattridge; justice,
H. T. Tolmie.
1910 - President, P. R. Jorris; council, ward 1, E. B. Davis, Edwin Kilburn; ward 2, J. E. Wilcox, Andrew Thompson;
recorder, Roy Viall; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, W. N. Kingsley; justice, Asa R. Burleson.
1911 - President, J. C. Keenan; council, ward 1, M. J. Graling, A. G. Kruegel; ward 2, E. W. Thayer, E. A. Leonard;
recorder, E. G. H. Adams; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; assessor, W. N. Kingsley; municipal judge, S. C. Pattridge;
justice, H. T. Tolmie.
1912 - President, John C. Keenan; council, ward 1, M. J. Graling, A. G. Kruegel; ward 2, E. W. Thayer, E. A. Leonard;
recorder, E. G. H. Adams; treasurer, W. L. Kellogg; marshal, J. G. Tobler; municipal judge, S. C. Pattridge; justices,
A. R. Burleson and H. T. Tolmie.
"Politics" do not cut much, if any, figure in the municipal government of this city. The mayor and
other principal municipal officers have ever been chosen from our most progressive and substantial business men
and citizens, who, almost without exception, have labored for the upbuilding and best interests of our city. The
demand exists in the form of a very clearly crystalized and stable public sentiment for a business like administration
of public affairs by practical business men, and this demand has usually been recognized and carried out, thus
giving to our city a succession of municipal administrations whose records in the main have been good, and uniformly
devoid of any taint or any suspicion of municipal scandal.
The present mayor of Spring Valley, John C. Keenan, for example, is a man whose painstaking and unselfish devotion
to the city is beyond all criticism. No man could be more loyal to personal interests than he is to the municipal
interests of Spring Valley, and his sufficient reward, when his official task shall have been done, like the reward
of those who have preceded him, will lie in fact, recognized and appreciated by the people, that in his faithfulness
he has helped on the advancement of Spring Valley. The councilmen composing the municipal board are found loyally
holding up the mayor's hands in every good work on the city's behalf. The members of the board are practical business
men and good citizens, and all their official acts are consequently intelligent and broad gauged, having reference
to the city's business future not less than to its present. Under such supervision of municipal affairs the administration
of the city is in every way efficient.
Spring Valley Fire Department. April 18, 1874, a call was extended to the citizens of the village to meet at the
office of J. T. Casey, April 25, 1874, for the purpose of organizing a hook and ladder company. This was duly organized
and officers elected as follows: President, N. M. Lewis; vice president, E. S. Bumstead; treasurer, E. W. Thayer;
foreman, W. H. Lloyd; first assistant, S. P. Steiner; second assistant, P. W. Carr.
May 12, 1879, the company was organized under a new charter with the following officers: President, A. B. Burleson;
vice president, A. R. Holman; treasurer, C. F. Kumm; secretary, L. A. Kinsbury; foreman, A. E. Dickinson; first
assistant, L. W. Rossman; second assistant, E. W. Thayer.
April 25, 1885, a village ordinance was passed organizing the fire department.
A reorganization was effected November 19, 1898, with S. M. Wilder as fire marshal and H B. Turner as secretary,
and at the annual meeting May 8, 1899, the following officers were elected: Fire marshal, Ira Judd; secretary,
H. B. Turner; treasurer, Levi Watson; captains, cart 1, Joe Whitley; cart 2, Bert Olds; hook and ladder company,
William D. Ingalls.
The present officers are as follows: Fire marshal and chief, W. N. Kingsley; treasurer, S. M. Wilder; clerk, S.
C. Pattridge; captains, cart 1, K. T. Soland; cart 2, W. H. Kellogg; hook and ladder company, Sam Gammell.
Waterworks and Lights. The waterworks and street lighting system in Spring Valley both date from 1893. The lights
were turned on July 23, 1893. The pumps at the waterworks plant were started September 13, 1893, and the water
was turned into the mains the next day. The contract to build the waterworks had been awarded to James A. Train
for $10,483, on May 26, 1893; and the franchise to the Spring Valley Electric Light and Investment Company had
been granted May 6, 1893, to extend for a period of thirty years. The electric light company furnished power for
the waterworks under contract until 1912, when the city arranged to furnish its own power. An abundance of pure
water is a question of vital importance to a growing city, and in this respect Spring Valley is indeed fortunate.
The supply is ample for all needs and is pumped from an inexhaustible natural spring of pure, sparkling water.
There are over four miles of mains, forty hydrants and about four hundred private taps. A new steel water tower
and a new pumping station were erected the past year at a cost of $10,000, and the present system is one of the
best and most economical in the state and is being operated at a saving of about $1,500 per annum over the old
system. The 100 foot water tower gives a natural gravity pressure of sixty five pounds, which is ample for all
needs and furnishes the city with its electric fire alarm system - excellent fire protection.
The Spring Valley Commercial Club was organized March 28, 1907, when about twenty business men of the village gathered
for the purpose of perfecting plans for the "boosting" of Spring Valley. J. C. Halbkat explained the
object of the meeting and W. C. Webber, of Rochester, spoke of what had been done along similar lines in other
places. After a discussion of the needs of the village, J. C. Halbkat was elected temporary chairman and W. D.
Hart temporary secretary. W. D. Hart, Archie Jorris and J. H Halbkat were appointed a soliciting committee, and
Frank Rafferty, Al Conklin and E. B. Davis a committee on by laws. April 9 the following officers were elected:
President, Frank Rafferty; vice president, Will D. Hart; secretary, Sidney J. Huntley; treasurer, W. W. Bontecou.
These officers are still serving. A few days later the following committee were appointed: Executive, W. D. Hart,
Roy Viall, John H. Halbkat; general arrangements and business affairs, Dr. W. N. Kendrick, Thomas Frankson, Sidney
J. Huntley; claims and accounts, J. N. Grating, W. W. Bonticou, Edwin Kilburn; manufactories, B. W. Huntley, M.
E. Molstad, C. E. Lawrence; railroads and freights, John Leuthold, S. H. Hale, E. B. Davis; city affairs, P. R.
Jorris, E. L. Sheldahl, E. G. Washburn; insurance and legislation, S. C. Pattridge, Everett Jones, Frank J. Harris;
good roads, Burdett Thayer, John Leuthold, E. W. Thayer.
The club has done everything in its power to boost Spring Valley. It has held street fairs, with premiums, for
the encouragement of every industry possible to the county and with plenty diversion to attract the people from
all directions. It has held numerous market days, pumpkins shows, horse shows, cow shows, exhibits of various kinds,
harvest festivals, free auctions, entertainments and "Booster" days. It encouraged the location of the
agricultural school here. It likewise secured the location of the neckyoke factory. It encouraged the establishment
of the Dan Patch Air Line route through the place, and has projected an electric line to Cresco, Ia. It has worked
for better passenger schedules and better freight rates. It has helped keep up the race track, the Athletic Park
and the band. It has encouraged better roads and worked for better insurance rates and better fire protection in
public buildings. It has given Fourth of July celebrations. It has endeavored to secure just telephone rates. It
has entertained many distinguished men as individuals, as well as such bodies as the Manufacturers' and Jobbers'
Association of Minneapolis, the Old Soldiers, Sailors and Settlers of Fillmore County, and the Fillmore County
Business Men's Association. In fact, in every line possible it has advocated and stood for the best progress in
Spring Valley life.
Spring Valley Driving Park Association. This institution was invoked into existence during the Centennial year,
a lot of ground was leased and improvements made, a half mile track graded, and several races were put on during
the few years of the existence of the society; but the hard times dissuaded the proprietors from investing any
deeper after the $800, which the amusement cost, had been expended. The present society, the Spring Valley Driving
Association, was organized in 1893. The officers: President, Dr. F. W. Thornhill; secretary and treasurer, Charles
Smith; directors, L. B. Henderson, Charles Lawrence and H. R. Lupien.
Spring Valley Public Library. A public library for Spring Valley had long been advocated privately, but during
the summer of 1901 several public meetings were held to discuss the subject. The enthusiasm shown was very gratifying
and it was decided to launch the project at once. The business men agreed to finance the undertaking if provision
was made for a rest room for their patrons. Accordingly the lower part of the Lawrence Building was rented. The
front part was fitted up for a rest room and the back part for a reading room and library. On October 12, 1901,
these rooms were opened to the public. The library part looked very bare, as there were no books. The reading table
was, however, well provided with magazines given by friends. The library board at its first meeting subscribed
for thirty dollars' worth of magazines. The local county and weekly papers were kindly contributed. The first library
board was as follows: B. F. Farmer, president; J. N. Graling, vice president; F. E. Lurton, secretary; Mrs. O.
E. Thayer, collector. Nellie M. Grant was the first librarian. A book shower was given that week, which placed
112 books on the shelves, and $15 in cash was handed to the book committee. The People's Church gave the cause
a big boost by giving their library of 317 volumes. The W. C. T. U. followed with thirty six volumes, and private
individuals gave ninety four volumes. The Congregational Sunday school gave a sixteen volume set of Dickens. The
W. C. T. U., Epworth League, Christian Endeavor Society and nearly every organization in town vied with each other
in giving benefits for the library. The books, coming from all sources, when placed together made quite a showing,
and with the fifty volumes from the state library afforded a pleasing variety. That the public appreciated the
library was evident from the circulation of 7,103 volumes the first year. The rest room patrons increased steadily
from week to week.
After the first year the library was supported by a 1 mill tax until the Carnegie library was built. The library
board, not content to have the library kept in rented buildings, took measures to secure a permanent home. F. E.
Lurton, secretary, was instructed to open correspondence with Andrew Carnegie, and at the request of President
Graling and Secretary Lurton, Governor Van Sant, Senator Clapp and Representative Tawney furnished the library
with recommendations to Mr. Carnegie. In April, 1904, the good news came that Mr. Carnegie would give $8,000 upon
consideration of the usual tax and donation of site. To select a site proved no easy matter, but the council finally
decided upon the present site and transferred the control of the same to the library board in January, 1904. The
Carnegie library was erected during the summer of 1904 and was opened December 1, 1904.
During these early years much gratuitous work was done by the faithful members of the library board, but no one
was so conspicuously generous of his time as J. N. Graling, who, as chairman of the building committee and janitor
of Carnegie library for the first year, served without recompense. Some of the more conspicuous contributions to
the library have been as follows: In the year 1903 an excellent gift was made to the library by Mr. and Mrs. John
Leuthold. This consisted of a thirty two volume set of histories, including Menzel's "Germany," Green's
England, " Prescott 's "Mexico," etc. R. W. Sears, of Chicago, who had formerly lived in Spring
Valley, gave thirty four volumes. The committee were allowed to select these. In this same year the Methodist Episcopal
Sunday school gave ninety one volumes, and the W. C. T. U. gave several volumes. In 1904 the Congregational Sunday
school gave sixty seven volumes, the public school gave 164 volumes, Mrs. S. M. Steffens twenty five volumes, J.
B. Viall nine volumes, and E. G. H. Adams quite a collection. There were many additions from other individuals.
In 1905 the Methodist Episcopal Sunday school gave nine volumes, the Up To Date Club gave four volumes, the Tourist
Club eleven volumes, G. E. Downs eighteen volumes, Rev. E. J. Dunham several volumes. In the succeeding years some
particularly good additions deserving special mention have been made through special sources. The Up To Date Club
has given about twenty volumes of poetical works of the best American and English authors. The Tourist Club has
given an excellent set of commentaries on Shakespeare and an excellent volume of his complete works. Mrs. C. W.
Taylor gave bound volumes of "Harper's Monthly" and the "Outlook." The latter were an excellent
addition to the reference department and are in quite constant use. Nellie Grant gave, among other standard works
of fiction and non fiction, two particularly excellent works, viz., Howell's "Heroines of Fiction" and
a Dickens Dictionary. Mrs. Susan Farmer gave quite a collection of valuable books. E. G. H. Adams gave a thirty
volume set of Collins' works. Lucile Schraut gave fifteen volumes and Alfred Conklin about twenty volumes. In 1907
the high school gave sixty five volumes. In 1911 Burdick Post, G. A. R., of Spring Valley, gave a valuable collection,
consisting principally of the "Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies of the War of the Rebellion."
A rental shelf of recent fiction is maintained by the Up To Date Club and these books are eventually given to the
library and become fourteen day books, free to all.
The library has sustained a severe loss through the death of two very earnest and active supporters, who were also
members of the library board. These were Dunbar Leach, who passed on in December, 1910, and S. M. Wilder, who passed
on in June, 1911.
There have been three librarians. Nellie M. Grant, of Spring Valley, Minn., resigned on account of poor health
in August, 1907. Her successor, Eva G. Stevens, resigned in October, 1909, to become Mrs. Cyrus H. Vanderhoef,
of Baraboo, Wis. Emma M. Hart, a university graduate, is the present librarian.
On the main floor of the library building and adjoining the reading room is a pleasant room which is used for board
meetings. This room is also used by the public, by people waiting between trains, and by people from the country
and is greatly appreciated by them.
The library contains about 2,500 volumes, which it loans. During the year of 1910 there were about 10,000 loans
made and there is an average of about forty readers a day.
The library is fortunate in having a definite annual income, although there are still many needs in the line of
binding of magazines for reference and the like which are still to be met.
The basement of the library building is used as a rest room, also as an assembly room for different organizations.
The Civic League, Commercial Club and others use it. The ladies of the different aid societies of the different
churches use it for their sales.
The library has had five presidents: B. F. Farmer, J. N. Graling, Dunbar Leach, S. M. Wilder and Dr. George McGillvray.
The present library board is as follows: Dr. George McGillvray, president; Mrs. Frances Graling, secretary; Lyle
Hamline, Mrs. Emily Lloyd, L. M. Sturdivant, Mrs. Flora Thayer, Mrs. Orinda Thayer, H. T. Tolmie and Mrs. Nellie
Washburn. - Compiled jointly by Nellie M. Grant and Emma M. Hart.
Spring Valley Public Waiting Room. The basement of the Carnegie library building is used as a ladies' rest room.
There are tables here on which lunches may be eaten. It is largely patronized by people from the country and by
people waiting between trains. The first quarters for this purpose were in the old Lawrence Building, in 1901,
where the Spring Valley public library was also first started. The rest room was at first financed by the business
men of the town. Since 1904 it is supported from the annual fund of $800 raised for the support of the library.
For some time after the Carnegie building was erected the committee room on the main floor and adjoining the reading
room was used for this purpose. Later it was delegated principally to the basement, greatly to the advantage of
the library, as it gave better opportunity for quiet reading and study, while, on the other hand, there is in the
basement freedom for adults to visit together and for children to work off their restlessness with less restraint.
The rest room is well patronized. The committee room on the main floor is, however, still used by many for quiet
waiting and is greatly appreciated. - Compiled jointly by Nellie NI. Grant and Emma M. Hart.
The Spring Valley Cemetery Association was organized in 1860 by E. McCurtrie, Asa Billings, Willard Allen, Cordello
Wilkins, S. A. Hunt and T. B. Johnson, the latter of whom was appointed undertaker and sexton and retained the
place for nineteen years, burying more than 250 people in that time. Four acres were bought for $100, and the plat
was later enlarged. The present officers are: President, S. C. Pattridge; secretary, H. T. Tolmie; treasurer, C.
H. Smith. The cemetery is well cared for and makes a most suitable place of repose for the departed.