Oelwein, Iowa: Wikis

  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oelwein, Iowa
—  City  —
Location of Oelwein, Iowa
Coordinates: 42°40′37″N 91°54′57″W / 42.67694°N 91.91583°W / 42.67694; -91.91583
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Fayette
Area
 - Total 4.8 sq mi (12.5 km2)
 - Land 4.8 sq mi (12.4 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 1,047 ft (319 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 6,692
 - Density 1,395.8/sq mi (538.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 50662
Area code(s) 319
FIPS code 19-58620
GNIS feature ID 0459805

Oelwein is a city in Fayette County, Iowa, United States. The population was 6,692 at the 2000 census. The largest community in Fayette County, it is located at the junction of State Highways 3 and 150.[1]

Contents

Geography

Oelwein is located at 42°40′37″N 91°54′57″W / 42.67694°N 91.91583°W / 42.67694; -91.91583 (42.676996, -91.915745)[2].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.5 km²), of which, 4.8 square miles (12.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.03%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 6,692 people, 2,808 households, and 1,819 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,395.8 people per square mile (539.4/km²). There were 3,040 housing units at an average density of 634.1/sq mi (245.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.19% White, 0.42% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.29% of the population.

There were 2,808 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 22.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,347, and the median income for a family was $32,279. Males had a median income of $28,075 versus $19,479 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,502. About 11.7% of families and 13.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 13.7% of those age 65 or over.

History

The town of Oelwein was laid out in a corn field purchased from Gustav Oelwein on the coming of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Minnesota Railroad (later called the Rock Island) in 1872. Some years later the two dividing streets of Oelwein were named after his sons, Frederick and Charles.

The town of Oelwein is named after the Oelwein family, but they were not the original settlers of the land. On the contrary, it was entered by a professional man at Dubuque, who made it his business to enter land, add a good fee for his trouble, plus a high rate of interest, and then not turn it over to the man in whose name it was registered until he was able to pay the price. Oelwein's present site was entered in 1852 by J. B. Burch. The hamlet of Oelwein was instituted in 1873, and was incorporated as a town in 1888, with Dr. Pattison becoming its first mayor. The town suffered its chief setback in 1887, when nearly all of the old Main Street business district (now First Avenue SE) was destroyed by fire. In 1890 the census gave the population as 830.

By January 1892, Oelwein was chosen to become the center of the Chicago Great Western Railway; the CGW made the town the site of their locomotive and car repair shop. Clearing the land for the shops began in June 1894. The shops were completed and put into operation in May 1899. Thus, Oelwein became known as the "Shop City" and later the "Hub City" because of the rail lines coming into town and the repair shops located here.

By 1895 the population had increased to 1,928, and in 1897 Oelwein was incorporated as a city. In 1900, Oelwein had 5,142 people within the city limits, of whom 789 were foreign-born. Oelwein was one of few Iowa towns to experience an influx of Italian immigrants who were employed in the railroad industry. In 1910, the population was 6,028, and in 1940, 7,801.

In 1968, the town suffered another setback when a tornado swept through the main business district. 68 homes were destroyed, including some in F5 damage, 132 sustained major damage and 600 sustained less damage. Every business in the district suffered damage including 51 that were destroyed. Two churches, an elementary school, and the middle school were destroyed. Extensive damage was also done in nearby Maynard. Along the path, 5 people died (one in Oelwein), 156 were injured, and $21 million worth of ($18 million in Oelwein) damage was done, inflated to $130.4 million today.

Oelwein remained a "railroad town" until the early 1980s when most of the railroad tracks to the East, North and then West directions were abandoned. TRANSCO Railway Products exists in Oelwein today. That business employs about 70 people repairing railroad cars. TRANSCO Employees donated their time to refurbish a Chicago Great Western EMD FP7 diesel locomotive that is displayed near the Hub City Heritage Museum, 26 2nd Avenue SW, the museum of railroad memorabilia.

Methland Controversy

The 2009 book Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding (Bloomsbury Press) documents the drug culture of Oelwein and how it ties into larger issues of rural flight and small town economic decline placed in the historic context of the drug trade. While Reding's book received positive reviews from the New York Times Sunday Book Review[4] and Washington Post's Book World[5], it was severely criticised by local columnist Laura Behrens, who wrote, "it is so ridden with errors of basic reporting that the credibility of its larger premises is crippled", pointing out several factual errors.[6]

Education

There are eight different schools located in Oelwein. Children from Oelwein, Hazleton, and Stanley attend school there. The schools are listed as follows:

  • Little Husky Learning Center - K-DayCare
  • Parkside Elementary - 1st Grade
  • Harlan Elementary - 2nd Grade
  • Wings Park - 3rd-5th Grade
  • Sacred Heart - Kindergarten-6th Grade
  • Oelwein Middle School - 6th-8th Grade
  • Oelwein High School - 9th-12th Grade
  • Oelwein Alternative School - Grade

In addition to this, students can also take college courses from Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) from a satellite building attached to the high school [1]

Recreation

Some Recreational opportunities include public parks, campgrounds, children's playgrounds, and picnic areas. Canoeing, boating and swimming are available at City Park. A paved hiking/biking trail is being extended to include access to all areas of town. Tennis courts, a skateboard rink, and softball diamonds are at Wings Park. Two beautifully located 9-hole golf courses are available. A new ball field includes lighted fields for school games and will soon include soccer fields. In the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. (also meth)

Notable natives

Points of interest

Williams Center for the Performing Arts

Modern Auditorium with seating for 800. Frequent visits from regional and national performers as well as local talent.

Walter P. Chrysler Park

Size: 2 acres (8,100 m2). Located at North Frederick and 2nd Street, originally two small parks referred to as "Twin Parks" or "Gazebo Park". Dedicated to Walter P. Chrysler, who once resided in Oelwein, the part to the east offers a gazebo with picnic facilities, water fountain, flower gardens, and a planting of Thunderchild Flowering Crabapple Trees, received through an Arbor Day Challenge Grant and Oelwein Trees Forever. The second part holds the Korean and Vietnam Veterans Memorials, donated by the McNamara family in 1998.

Orville Christophel Park

Size: 1-acre (4,000 m2). Located at 1st Avenue and 1st Street SW, this park is known as Orville Christophel Memorial or Log Cabin Park. Most people believe it was Gustav Oelwein who built the cabin in the Orville Christophel Park, but he was not involved with the cabin. J.B Burch built the cabin in 1852 which still stands at the park today. The park offers a historical monument from days of yore, picnic tables, benches, and parking for downtown shopping.

City Park

Size: 69 acres (280,000 m2). Located on South Frederick this park is frontage property to a 55-acre (220,000 m2) artificial lake named Lake Oelwein. Modern playground equipment was installed with the help of the Kids Playground Fund.

The park offers picnic shelters with tables, open play area, tennis court, sand volleyball, horseshoe courts, restroom facilities, modern and primitive camping, and a dump station. The lake offers "no wake" boating.

The campground overlooks Lake Oelwein and provides public boating access. Facilities include 30 modern RV sites, primitive campsites, private shower facilities, and dump station. For more information, call City Hall at 283-5440.

Levin Park

Size: 2 acres (8,100 m2). Located at 4th Avenue and 4 1/2 Street SW, this park offers picnic tables, an open play field, and is bordered by a natural wooded environment. A bike/skateboard/walking trail accesses it on the west.

Platt's Park

Size: 16 acres (65,000 m2). Located at 7th Street and 7th Avenue SE, this park offers 1.25 miles (2.01 km) of foot paths, picnic shelters and tables, playground equipment, horseshoe court, restrooms, and a large playfield. This park is the home of a Gazebo and "Trail of Dreams" created by Oelwein Care Center. New playground equipment was installed with the help of the Kids Playground Fund.

Redgate Park

Size: 24 acres (97,000 m2). Located on West Charles Street, this park offers a large wooded area, as well as picnic facilities, playground equipment, tennis court, horseshoe courts, restrooms and Bocce Ball courts. This park has new playground equipment installed by the Kids Playground Fund.

Reidy Park

Size: 3 acres (12,000 m2). Located at 2nd Street and Hillside Drive SE, this park offers a basketball court, playground equipment, picnic facilities, new and improved tennis courts, and new playground equipment installed by the Kids Playground Fund.

Oelwein Sports Complex

Size: 32 acres (130,000 m2). Located on 20th Street SE, this park offers two soccer fields, two softball/baseball fields, and the home baseball field of the Oelwein Huskies. The complex is restricted in use, for league play only at this time. Modern restrooms, concessions stand, and drinking fountains are available. Completion of this project depends on money and volunteer help.

Wings Park

Size: 24 acres (97,000 m2). Located at 4th Street and 5th Avenue NE, Wings Park is the home of the Oelwein Family Aquatics Center. The park offers picnic shelters and tables, tennis courts, 3 softball fields, basketball court, horseshoe courts, restrooms, and playground equipment installed with the help of the Kids Playground Fund.

Oelwein Family Aquatics Center

Located at 411 4th Street NE, this facility offers a zero-depth entry pool, 150-foot (46 m) water slide, 6 racing lanes, 1 and 3 meter diving boards, sunning deck & grass areas, modern changing facilities, playground facility, concessions facility, and a 9-hole miniature golf course.

Great Western Park

Newest park in town, on northwest side, is a wildlife preserve.

References

  1. ^ Rand McNally. The Road Atlas '08. Chicago: Rand McNally, 2008, p. 39.
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  4. ^ Walter Kirin, Wasted Land, New York Times Sunday Book Review, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/books/review/Kirn-t.html
  5. ^ David Liss, Heartbreak in the Heartland, The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061201403.html
  6. ^ Laura Behrens, Holes in ‘Methland’ unforgivable. p. 4A, Cedar Rapids Gazette July 24, 2009

External links








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message