Taken from the writings of William Mauer, estimated to have been written in 1949.
By 1900, much of Iowa was still a vast prairie. People had settled on farms, and towns were scattered. The land had been divided into counties and townships. Bremer County has some of Iowa's riches farm lands, and the Maxfield township is a fertile spot in this county.
The Ohlendorfs were a family of German emigrant settlers who had come to the land of opportunity to find happiness. They picked a region about 1.5 miles west of the Wapsipinicon River in northeast Iowa to put up several buildings.
Trains were becoming a common means of transportation in the early twentieth century.Railroads connected many of the prospering towns. Two of Iowa's early towns in these farming districts were Waverly and Oelwien.These two towns were connected by railraod, but a shorter route was desired to give enterprising citizens a closermarket for thier products.
In 1903, a representative of the Townside Company came to the Ohlendorf home.He wanted to buy the Ohlendorf land in order to build a station for the Chicago Great Western railway line that was to connect Waverly and Oelwein. The Ohlendorfs sold their land to the Townside Company, and it was divided into lots.
The first of these lots was sold in March, 1904. All the Ohlendorf buildings were sold and torn down, except the house, which was converted into a hotel used mainly to house the railroad builders. Other businesses were constructed in place of the original Ohlendorf farm buildings, and lots were donated for the park and school yard.
A name was needed to distinguish this little town. Read was the name of the representative from the Townside Company that bought the land from the Ohlendorfs. Appreciating the generous compliance with their wishes, citizens living in the vicinity of Read's Line decided on Readlyn as the name of their town.
The first school building was built about 1905, for first through eighth grades. In 1915, another building was constructed. The grades were divided, and a second teacher was hired. From 1930 to 1936, ninth through twelfth grades were added. In 1935, the plan for a new building passed. It was constructed the same year, and the other buildings were sold.
The first graduation class of Readlyn Public School was in 1937. The following were part of this class: Mildred Pries, Dorothy Rommel, Florine Bruns, Yvonne Warneke, Milton Stumme, Lester Matthias, Arnold Huebner, Arlin Deterding and Clarence Schumacher.
Bremer County is the setting of "Country," the classic film of the farm crisis of the 1980s starring Jessica Lange and Sam Sheppard. Levi Knebel, a boy from a nearby town, had his film debut with his major role as the son of the starring couple."Country" was filmed largely in Readlyn in the summer of 1983, and was released for the public in October, 1984.
The primary farm setting is one mile south of the Bremer County line in Black Hawk County on a farm owned by Kenneth Fettkether. Many scenes were shot in Readlyn at the Farmer's Co-op, Meyer's Welding, Readlyn City Hall, Readlyn Savings Bank, and Center Inn. Many residents of Readlyn and the surrounding area played bit parts and served as extras.
City of Readlyn
128 Main Street
Readlyn, IA 50668
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