Our town is located about one hour Northeast of Waterloo, Iowa. (Iowa Map) The area around our town is flat to the South and West while North and East provide rolling hills. We offer one of the most scenic areas in Iowa. Visitors can stand beside the Largest Strawberry In The World and have a friend take their picture. They can visit the Wilder Museum, dine at the historic Franklin Hotel (listed in the National Registry), look over the antiques at Berry Nice Antiques, enjoy a hike in Backbone State Park, or visit the Osborne Nature Center. For refreshment, stop by Strawberry Point Drug and relax with a soda at the soda fountain from the early 1900's, complete with marble-topped bar. Check out Strawberry Floral and pick up some flowers just to celebrate the day. You could stay the night at Aunt B's or the Franklin Hotel or camp at Backbone State Park.
After visiting our town (click for a city map), you may decide to make Strawberry Point your home. Our local businesses are ready to take care of your needs for groceries, medical care, construction, automotives, and more. Our local churches enjoy new people joining in the services. The Starmont School District offers high quality education to our students by mixing tradition with technology, music, sports, and drama.
Learn a little more about us by reading some City History or by reading about The Old Mission Road. To check out city hall hours and more of our government items, click on government.
The name "Strawberry Point" goes back to the days of 1841, when Iowa was still a territory. It was in 1841 that the "Old Mission Road" was laid out from Dubuque to Fort Atkinson in Winneshiek County, in what was called the Neutral Ground. The Neutral Ground had been established on July 30, 1830 as a means of protecting the Winnebago Indians from the hostile Sec and Fox tribes ... Fort Atkinson was established literally to protect Indians from Indians.
In July of 1830 the chiefs of all Indian tribes in this area were called into a conference in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Presiding over the meeting was General William Clark and his advisors, a group of prominent traders who were all knowledgeable in the rigid protocol of Indian etiquette. As a result of this gathering between the Sac and Fox tribes, a strip of land forty miles wide and running from the Red Cedar River to the Mississippi was ceded to the United States government. The government agreed to pay the Indians $3,000.00 annually for ten years; it also agreed to help the Indians promote agriculture, to supply them with blacksmiths and farm implements, and to furnish schools for the Indian children. Joseph Street was appointed Indian agent.
This forty mile-wide strip of land was designated as "Neutral Ground" -- it would serve as a barrier between the Winnebagos and the hostile tribes. This strip included the Northern parts of Clayton and Fayette counties, and the Southern parts of Allamakee and Winneshiek counties. The army established the "Old Mission Road" as a military wagon road when it began moving the Winnebago Indians from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to the safety of Fort Atkinson. One of the commissioners named by the Iowa Territory to lay out this military wagon road was James Hewitt, an Indian trader who came to Clayton County from Dubuque in 1841. He had settled in the St. Sebald area as the first white settler.
As the army moved 2,900 Winnebagos from Wisconsin to their new home in the present Winneshiek County, they made camp near a spring a mile west of the town of Strawberry Point. The spring was located in a point of timber abundant with wild strawberries. Each mile of the "Old Mission Road" was marked with a stake, and the one at this campsite was inscribed "Strawberry Point." Mission Street, which runs East and West through the town today, was part of the Old Mission Road. This point of timber with its spring became a popular stopping place for Eastern emigrants on their way to Northern Iowa and Minnesota to settle claims.
In 1849 the Winnebagos sold their land and were moved to Minnesota. Fort Atkinson, having served its purpose, was abandoned. The land was then opened for settlement and the boundary lines of Clayton, Fayette, Allamakee, and Winneshiek counties were made permanent. During the preceding 11 years there had still been wars between the Indian tribes, and more than forty Winnebagos had been killed by the hostile Sac and Fox tribes. When the Winnebagos were moved to Minnesota they were the last of the Indian tribes to leave the area.
The population of Clayton county in 1840 was 275; by 1850 the number had swelled to 3,875 as settlers from the East started buying claims for $1.25 an acre. Many of the first immigrants were from New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Between 1847 and 1853 about twenty families established claims a long "Old Mission Road" in this area. A post office was established in Strawberry Point in 1851 as well as blacksmith shops and stores. Saw mills were established in the areas where the Three Crosses Ranch/EWALU Stone Center and EWALU Bible Camp are located today.
The town of Strawberry Point was laid out in 1853 by W. H. and D. M. Stearns. The first recorded plot was listed to E. B. Gardner on December 16, 1854 in the area of the lagoon in back of the Lutheran Home. The Steams brothers had chosen the name "Franklin" for the town they had plotted, in remembrance of their former home in New York state, the town of Franklinville. When application for a post office, using the name Franklin, was made it was discovered that a previous application had come for the same name from Lee county. The application was then changed to read Strawberry Point and the name was adopted. For a while, in the 1870's, the town was referred to by some as "Endfield" ... the name given to the station established by the Davenport and St. Paul railroad in 1872. The railroad had named their station Endfield, because they didn't think the name Strawberry Point was "appropriate". In 1875 the State Legislature was prevailed upon to pass a law requiring the name of the railroad station to correspond with the original town, and so the settlement became permanently "Strawberry Point."
The movement to incorporate the town in 1883 failed by a vote of 98 to 63. After a four year period which brought more growth to the town, incorporation was again voted an in December of 1887. This time more positive thinking brought about an affirmative vote of 101 to 78, and incorporation became a fact.
About the time Strawberry Point was plotted, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa was organized in the unfinished parsonage at St. Sebald and a post office established. Four men from Saginaw, Michigan founded the Synod on August 24, 1854. The St. Sebald (Wartburg) Seminary was built and dedicated on October 31, 1857. The Seminary operated here until it moved to Mendota, Illinois, May 18, 1875. In 1899 the Seminary moved again, this time to Dubuque, Iowa, where it is still located. The present St. Sebald church building was erected in 1867, and still serves a regular and active congregation.
Records show that Strawberry Point was known as the "Cream City." In 1887 the town received 10,731,428 gallons of whole milk, making Strawberry Point one at the top locations for processing whole milk in the entire state. That volume of milk would take 536 tank cars, or a solid train three miles long, to hold it. In 1896 butter production was 426, 191 pounds (7,612 tubs), with receipts of over $100,000. The handling of all the whole milk was done by a co-operative creamery formed by the merger of several small creameries operating in the area. Dairying and the processing of whole milk are still leading agricultural industries in this area, with the AMPI (Associated Milk Producers, Inc.) servicing producers with the operation of bulk tanks and milk trucks.
The Old Mission Road played a very important role in developing Strawberry Point, as well as Northeast Iowa and our little corner or the USA. It was the main path for settling Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota from 1841 to 1878. The Old Mission Road started near Dubuque and ran to Fort Atkinson. In our area, it ran a couple miles West of Edgewood, to Strawberry Point (now Main Street) to Arlington (now Main Street). Some of the details are in the paragraphs below or print the information in a pdf file.
Prior to June, 1833, the entire State of Iowa was in the undisputed possession of the Indians—the main tribes were the Sac, Fox, and Sioux Indians. Savage conflicts existed between the tribes. In an effort to secure peace among the Indians, the US Government negotiated a treaty on the 19th of August, 1825, establishing territorial boarders. The Indians did not take long to “forget” about this treaty. The Winnebago Indians, who lived in the Northern portions of Fayette County hunted over Fayette, Clayton, and Delaware counties. The settlers seldom had trouble with the Winnebago's. On July 30, 1830, at Fort Crawford, in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, a 40 mile wide, 200 mile long “neutral ground” as established to separate the Sac and Fox Tribes from the Sioux and Dakota Tribes. Nathan Boone, son of Daniel Boone, headed the party that surveyed this neutral tract of land.
Hunting and fishing was allowed in the “neutral ground”, but no warring. The Old Mission Road ran along the Southern edge of this “neutral ground”. The government agreed to pay the Indians $3,000 annually for ten years and help the Indians promote agriculture. The government would also supply blacksmiths, farm implements, and furnish schools for the Indian children. In 1840, an Indian missio n was established about 3 miles South of Fort Atkinson. The mission was designed as a school to educate the Winnebagos and induce them to adopt the manners and customs of “civilized” life.
On January 13, 1841, an act to establish a territorial road from the town of Dubuque to Camp (Fort) Atkinson, a distance of 100 miles, was approved. The road between these two points was to be the most direct and feasible route (highest ground) regardless of sectional or divisional lines. Calvert Roberts, Samuel L. Clifton, and Joseph Hewett, an Indian trader from near present-day Arlington, were appointed commissioners to locate the road. The men were paid $40.50 each for their services.
Old Mission Road started at Dubuque and ended at Fort Atkinson. Fort Atkinson was the only fort built to protect Indians from other Indians. The fort existed for nine years, and then abandoned, with never a shot fired in anger.
At the time it was established, no settlements existed on the road. At one time this road was the most traveled by settlers in Northern Iowa. It was the first road in Iowa to have a wooden marker at each mile to assist travelers in following the trail.
It is important to note that the “road” was not as we think of one today—it was a wide path where the pioneer travelers and their oxen would select what they decided was the best part of the “road” to follow, taking care to avoid the sloughs and finding the best places to cross streams. Due to weather and the land, sometimes the pioneers had to dodge wagon ruts that were as much as 14 inches deep.
A stagecoach drawn by four horses made the trip from Dubuque to Fort Atkinson every-other week. Since 1854, the Franklin Hotel location in Strawberry Point was an overnight stop on these trips. The last stagecoach ran in the Spring of 1871 because the railroad came through in the spring of 1872.
In this area, the Old Mission Road went through Greeley, Strawberry Point, Arlington, and Fayette. It went from York (about 3 miles Southwest of Edgewood) across Lodomillo Township and Cass Township, to Strawberry Point, keeping its diagonal course along East and West Mission Streets. From Strawberry Point the road crossed the Northeast corner of Putnam Township in Fayette County to Arlington, where today it is also Arlington’s Main Street.
The name of Strawberry Point goes back to 1841, when Iowa was still a territory. As the Army was moving Winnebago Indians to Winneshiek County, they made camp near a spring a mile west of the town of Strawberry Point. The spring was located in a point of timber abundant with wild strawberries. This camp site became a popular stopping place for Eastern emigrants on their way to settle their claims in Northern Iowa and Minnesota.
NOTES OF INTEREST
Old Mission Road also went down in history as the locale of a massacre the winter of 1842-43, which was a most severe winter. On March 25, 1843, in what is now Smithfield township in Fayette County, three Indians had been waiting at the home of Henry Teagardner for a family friend, a Mr. Atwood, to return from Dubuque with a barrel of whiskey. One of the Indians, who had pawned a rifle earlier for whiskey, was there to get his rifle but it had been sold. Teagardner and Atwood thought they could solve their problem by drinking whiskey with the Indians. After a while, the Indians left and the Teagardner’s home and Atwood, Teagardner, and his family went to sleep. The Indians returned to bind and murder the men. Marie Teagardner, a young girl about 7 years old, suffered severe blows but did not cry out, hoping the Indians would think she was dead. When the Indians went outside, Marie found her little brother, about 3 years old, dead and her older brother, about 9 years old, badly hurt. Without dressing, Marie and her older brother escaped from the cabin and started crawling through the snow toward the neighbor’s cabin a mile away. Because
of the dark night and the deep snow, the two children were out in the snow all night. As the children neared the neighbor’s cabin, they yelled out and were rescued. As for the three Indians, one was killed in a fight while in jail, one escaped, and one was acquitted and sent home, only to have his incensed tribe take his life.
In 1842, Rev. Lowry, the superintendent of the Winnebago Mission, called for bids on the delivery of 15,000 pounds of pork with delivery taking place before Christmas. A group of five men started a herd of live hogs from Delaware County 75 miles away. They traveled the road from Hewitt’s trading post near Arlington to the mission near Fort Atkinson. The weather was cold and the snow was knee-deep. The group finally arrived on Christmas Day. The journey took eight days. The butchering took place on the prairie just South of the mission, in bitter cold weather. Indian trader Joseph Hewitt’s trading post was located about 3 miles North of the bridge that crosses the Maquoketa River on Highway 3, West of Strawberry Point. It was a favorite resting place for settlers looking for homes, and the ox-trains hauling supplies to Fort Atkinson.
Taylorsville was located North and a little East of Arlington. It was laid out on land owned by Jacob and Maria Guin. In an election, Jared Taylor received enough votes to have the town named after him. The town had a general store and a blacksmith shop by 1852.
Another store and a sawmill were built in 1854. In 1856, the town was moved to Brush Creek (later known as Arlington). Taylorsville, although prosperous and religious, was sometimes known as the wickedest place in Fayette County with gambling, drinking, public dances, and general carousing, even when religious services were in progress in the log schoolhouse. Only a cemetery is left today to mark the Taylorsville location.