The Callanan story leads to Ellsworth and Jewell.
This was adapted from the story printed in the South Hamilton
Record News on August 8, 1978.
Ever wonder where and when
Jewell and Ellsworth got their names
and how they came to be? We must go back in time to a place
called Callanan and North Callanan. Callanan was located in
North West Ellsworth Township and North Callanan was located north across
into Lyon township. The two towns adjoined each other and were
considered as one during their brief history. The people in
the area wanted a railroad so badly they voted a 5 percent tax on themselves
to secure one. To secure this tax, they said that any railroad
must pass within one mile of the intersection of all four townships.
James Callanan, president of the Des Moines and Minnesota
Railroad, decided to continue the line north from Ames in hopes that it
would eventually run into Minneapolis.
The town was to be named
after the first settler, but residents decided to name it Callanan in honor
of the president of the railroad. David Schoonmaker was the
first postmaster, starting in 1878. There were two newspapers
printed in the town and one reported that the postmaster was somewhat of
a scoundrel, as he held up mail for Lakin's Grove to hold down the count,
therefore making the Callanan post office look better.
Early reports also indicate
that many parties from Ames and Des Moines came up to the beautiful worked
area to let their hair down. When
many of the locals complained of the roudiness, they were told by
the town founders that this was good for business. This atmosphere
contributed to the fact that two murders were committed in the short life
of the town.
Callanan had 200 people.
The business register showed two surgeons, several contractors, a hotel,
a boarding house, three painters, a hardware store, a drug
store, a dry goods store, a pool hall and a barber shop combined,
a brick yard, a blacksmith shop, a carriage and wagon shop and a meat market.
Charles Lakin was the barber and ran
the pool hall and he was also a dealer in coal, hair, lime, and farm machinery.
The railroad went bankrupt,
however, and the Toledo and Northwestern took over in 1880, and a full
gauge line was laid from Tama City through the county on the roadbed now
owned by the Chicago and Northwestern. When the Chicago and Northwestern
Railroad came through, the county
the east-west branch formed a junction
with the North-South branch and that portion of the line that ran into
Callanan was abandoned.
Residents of Callanan then
began to divide and a town was
built on the junction of the railroad, called Jewell Junction, after
David T. Jewell, who laid out the town and
because of the railroad junction.
At the same time, 1880, Ellsworth
was started by the Western Town Lot Company, an arm of the Chicago
and Northwestern and people that did
not come to Jewell went to form the town of Ellsworth, according to the
Chicago and Northwestern, the town was named to
honor the memory of Colonel
Elmer E. Ellsworth, murdered in Virginia in the War of The Rebellion:
Another source states that the town
was named after a railroad official. In 1900 the population of Ellsworth
was 319 and the population of Jewell was 947, mainly
because both line's of the railroad intersected
there. Thus, the town of Callanan,
which was located about one mile south
and west of Ellsworth was no more.
The post office was closed on October
12, 1881. However, there
was a Junior High School and a Callanan
College in Des Moines named after James
Callanan. This college was one of several that were combined
to become Drake University.