By Paul and Marillee
In about the turn of
when the railroad was made,
when the grading was being done
and thetracks were being laid.
It was seen by the people
that they needed a gathering place.
With the horse and the mule,
it was a very slow pace.
So then in about
ninteen hundred and four,
some buildings sprang up
and soon there were more.
So as the storygoes,
a worker Lynn Reid, said then
"We'll reverse my name
and call it Readlyn".
council was formed
and street plans laid.
So horses could be tied,
hitching posts were made.
And as it was then,
each town had a saloon.
And after a hard days work,
evening came none to soon.
A small stockyard was built
to ship cattle to go
to the great stockyard
A building was moved
for a blacksmith shop,
on a small lot.
And then came the bank
for people to borrow or invest,
made strong by the community
to become one of the best.
In the surrounding
much dairying was done.
Cows grazed on wild prairie grass
and enjoyed the warm sun.
The milk was
to the creamery each day.
The horse and buggy
about knew the way.
was also new on the block
for selling their old chickens
and then start a new flock.
More churches were
to conquer the source,
by traveling the road
with a buggy and horse.
For it took a long time
and the distance was far,
for things weren't as convenient
as with a car.
Then a new post
was number one on the list,
so everyone in the settlement
would never be missed.
More business places
soon began to settle down,
now making it a convenient
little country town.
Then the Model T Ford
came in about nineteen hundred and twenty,
bringing in the gas stations
and repair shops a plenty.
Down through the
the town continued to thrive,
now being the size
to which it has arrived.
Now the population of the town
we will put in a large lump,
which is eight hundred and fifty-seven
and ONE OLD GRUMP!
William Mauer's writings, estimated to have
been written in 1949. Includes the founding days
of the Ohlendorf family.
hopping freights, sleigh riding, and more!
Read about the
first school building built in 1905 to the first
Find out how
Readlyn was named.
In 1983, the
movie "Country" was filmed largely in Readlyn.
It is regarded as the classic film of the farm
crisis of the 80's.
Do you Remember...
you could mail two letters and a postcard
for a nickel?
the dresses worn were made from the feed
sacks that feed was
brought home from the
feed mill in? (The women would go along to
the feed store to help pick out which
color and pattern of feed sacks
the town businesses would give away dishes
and pottery with their names on them?
you used to sip cherry cokes at the soda
fountain in Vic Happel's grocery store?
you used to watch movies and go
rollerskating in the community building
that's now the Center Inn?
writings of William Mauer,
estimated to have been
written in 1949.)
By 1900, much of Iowa was
vast prairie. People had settled
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
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
northeast Iowa to put up
Trains were becoming a common means
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.
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
The first of these
was sold in March, 1904. All the Ohlendorf
buildings were sold and torn down, except the
house, which was converted
hotel used mainly
to house the railroad builders. Other businesses were constructed in place of the original
farm buildings, and lots were donated for the park
and school yard.
in a Name?
A name was needed to
distinguish this little town. Read was 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.
important in early Readlyn as it is now. The
Wapsipinicon River was a
favorite picnic ground.
Sometimes the whole
town would get together and spend the day at the river. There was fishing
for the men, swimming and playing games for the
children, and gossiping for the women. A livery
stable near the town's
main street offered a means of transportation
for those who had none.
Some of the
could be found hopping freights
in the summertime
and sleigh riding in the winter. The gunny sack was
always brought to warm cold hands and
A wedding was a great
event in Readlyn.
A designated person rode to all the houses for miles
around to inform all citizens
of the news, and a two or three day
During the summer, there
were medicine shows by people who
came to offer
their remedies for anything from
rheumatism. Later these shows were replaced by
Readlyn picnics, which showcased shows, rides and
Later, movies were shown and dances
were held in the halls.
The first school building
was built about 1905, for first through eighth
another building was constructed.
The grades were divided, and a second teacher was
hired. From 1930 to 1936,
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,
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
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.
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