Important Dates in Council Bluffs History

(This list was found in the PCGS files and copied as provided)

1804Lewis and Clark while exploring the Louisiana Purchase held important Council with the Indians in Council Bluffs then known as Kanesville. Monument erected in honor of this event.
1819The first steamboat to come up the Missouri River this far north landed in Kanesville in September.
1824The first white settler came to Kanesville.
1832 The Missouri River changed channel during a flood forming a lake. This lake is known as Big Lake. It has been improved and today is a park with picnic ground, playground and some fishing.
1837 The first building to be built by white man was a blockhouse built by Capt. C. B. Moore, who was assigned here from Fort Leavenworth to protect migrating Indians. There is now a modern new bowling alley on this spot.
1838 The first church and school was set up in this blockhouse by Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet. Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet arrived in Kanesville in May of 1838.
1840The first white child was born January 29th this year. There is a replica of the cabin in Lincoln Park.
1847 The Mormons, after being driven from Illinois, landed here on January 14, 1846 and in 1847 built a log tabernacle that would seat 1000 and it was here that on December 29, 1847, Brigham Young was elected as President of the Mormon Church. At this time the Mormons were the main body of residents and they took over the civil government. There is a large stone monument in Bayliss Park.
1848 Brigham Young succeeded in getting the first Post Office in Kanesville. Mr. Even M. Green was the first Postmaster and was so named on February 7, 1848.
1849 The first newspaper was established on February 7. The County Board of Supervisors levied a half mill tax for schools. This was the first city educational tax levy.
1853 On January 19th, Legislature approved the change of hame from Kanesville to Council Bluffs and was made the western terminus of the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad.
1853 Cornelius Voorhis was elected the first Mayor of Council Bluffs in April.
1855 Amelia Bloomer, who was already famous for her new type of dress for women, arrived to make her home in Council Bluffs.
1857 The Nonpareil, which is now our daily newspaper, was established as a weekly.
1858The first Couty Agricultural Fair was held.
1859Abraham Lincoln, then a young attorney, spent three days in Council Bluffs and at this time envisioned this city as the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad.

The first Independent School District was formed.

General Grenville M. Dodge was elected to Congress.

1868Schools were divided into grades and high school was organized.

The first theatre was constructed.

1870 Iowa School for the Deaf building was completed. Today, this school is one of the finest of its kind in the United States.

The first high school graduating class. There were four graduates, two girls and two boys.

1872 The Union Pacific railroad bridge was put into operation on March 22nd. Today this bridge plays an important part in most all middlewest railroad traffic. All trains leaving Council Bluffs for the western part of the United States, or entering Council Bluffs on eastward routes, must cross this bridge.
1879 Four years after the telephone was developed by Alexander Bell, the first Telephone Company was formed and was put into operation in May.
1881 Council Bluffs was flooded once more. The Missouri River once again changed channels, this time forming another lake at the opposite end of the city. This lake has also been improved and is one of Council Bluffs' best summer resorts, known as Lake Manawa.
1883 First Fire Department was formed on January 5th.
1886 Council Bluffs became the second city in the United States to have electric trolleys.
1888 The Royal Neighbors of America, a fraternal organization which today is a nationwide organization, was formed in Council Bluffs.
1907 A City Auditorium was built in 30 days to house horticulture show.
1911 Water plant was purchased and municipally owned water system was put into effect. Today, a new soft water plant has been added and the entire city enjoys the luxury of soft water.
1950 The Mayor-Council form of government set up nearly 100 years ago was abandoned in favor of the City Manager form of local government.
1951The Iowa Power & Light Company builds an $8,500,000.00 plant for expanded industrial development.
1952 Council Bluffs made national and international headlines with her terrific battle with the Missouri River. This flood threatened to be the worst that white man had ever seen. Over two-thirds of the city was evacuated. With the help of neighboring towns, army, air force and army engineers, men worked around the clock sandbagging dikes. Flash boards were added when word was received that the crest would exceed the heights of the dikes. Twelve miles of these wooden flash boards were erected in a matter of hours. A crest of 30.2 feet was reached but not one home was flooded.
1953 Erection of a viaduct on West Broadway under way and completed in 1955.

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