You are here: Home / History & Genealogy / Archives / History of Mason City Timeline

History of Mason City Timeline

History of Mason City Timeline
Spring 1853-
County surveyed by Everett and Anderson
Summer 1853-
John Long, George Brentner, and Joseph Hewitt plan town
October 1853-
McMillin and Jenkinson build cabin - Jenkinson spends winter
1854- First store in the county opens

Dr. Card, first doctor in Mason City
September 4, 1854-
Cerro Gordo County settlers obtain title to their respective properties, which included Mason City
1855- Stackhouse & Belt open first grocery store

First photography shop opened by James Stewart

T. Drummond & Miller open law office

Peabody opens first blacksmith shop
April 1855-
First township election
July 1855-
First recorded plan filed to record
October 8, 1855-
Elisha Randall opens sawmill
November 9, 1855-
 Mason City filed on county plan book
 1856- Lizzie Thompson teaches the first school in a log cabin
 1857- First stone school built
 September 1857-
Mason  City Post Office established
 March 8, 1857-
Methodists form first religious group in Mason City
April 1858-
Mason  City named as county seat.  In 1856 a group of Clear Lake residents requested the Iowa General Assembly to reconsider the original placement of the county seat in Mason City and place it instead at "Livonia," which was on the east side of the present day city of Clear Lake.  A commission agreed and the move was made.  Mason City residents called for a special county vote, it was taken in April of 1858, and Mason City was once again declared the county seat.
July 17, 1858-
First newspaper in Mason City published, Cerro Gordo Press
July 6, 1859-
Land office at Osage was closed -- no unclaimed land was left in North Central Iowa
 April 12, 1861-
Fort Sumter attacked, American Civil War begins
 August 12, 1862-
Local enlistments begin for Co. B. 32 Reg. IA Volunteer Inf. -- Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Winnebago, and Worth Counties
1864- Miss S.E. Hartshorn opens first millinary shop

Civil War -- Battle of Pleasant Hill in Louisiana, company B included Mason City residents
1865-
George Vermilya opens first lumber yard
May 12, 1868-
Congregational Church dedicates stone church building
1869-
W.H. Lytle opens Cerro Gordo County Bank at 10 South Federal Avenue
October 19, 1869-
South Mason City planned to build up area around Milwaukee Railroad
November 6, 1869-
First train arrives in Mason  City.  The coming of the railroad had a tremendous impact on the population levels.  The 1869 census shows Mason Township, composed primarily of Mason City, with a population of only 795.  In 1870 it was 1784, Mason City was 1183.  By 1880, Mason city had a population of 2510.
1870-
Parker's Mill built

Mason City incorporated
1871-
N.M Nelson and H. Brickson open brickyard in Lime Creek Township
September 20. 1871-
First hook & ladder for fire protection
1872 - 1874-
Central School built.  It was from the top of this building that H.P. Kirk, a local photographer, took many of the stereo views of the city.
April 1867-
City Library Association formed.
July 18, 1878-
First telephone service.  Long distance service to Algona the same year.
1881-
Mason  City rated a city of the second class
Fall 1881-
Carie Lane (Carrie Chapman Catt) comes to Mason City to teach
1882-
Iowa Amendment prohibits sale and consumption of alcohol (amendment later declared illegal)
1882-
Garfield School, Nelson builds brickyard in south Mason City
1883-
Grant School built

Clark builds Electric Plant at 1st Street NW & Washington

Parker's Opera House opened

Tondro Soap Factory begins operation (later burns down)
April 1883-
Leo Chapman, husband of Carrie Chapman Catt, buys the Cerro Gordo Republican
1884-
Civil War statue erected in Central Park
June 6, 1885-
Pumps and pipes purchased for city water system
August 1886-
Mason City Electric Company installs street lights
1888-
St. Francis Academy opens (Catholic)
1890-
Red brick high school built east of Central School

Washington School built
1892-
First incorporation of Brick & Tile industry; Denison becomes president
1893-
Dr. Mason, first woman doctor in Mason City
December 5, 1893-
Ordinance passed for free public library
February 22, 1897-
Approval for brick paving of Federal Avenue from Willow Creek to 2nd Street North
July 4, 1897-
First run of the MCCL Rainroad from Mason City to Clear Lake
July 4, 1899-
Jacob Decker takes over Richard's Packing House
1900-1901-
New court house built
1901-
Sophia and Dolly Story open first hospital at 107 N. Pennsylvania
1903-1910-
Memorial University built.  Later, the building served as Roosevelt Elementary School.  Building torn down in 1979
1903-
IOOF dedicates Orphan's Home
1904-
Lincoln School built
January 10, 1905-
Dedication of Carnegie Library
1906-
J.M. Heffner opens first movie theatre (The Bijou)
1907-
Post Office built at 19 S. Deleware
1908-
Northwestern States Portland Cement begins operation

Stockman House built (Frank Lloyd Wright, architect)
1909-
Park Hospital built
1910-
McKinley School built

City National Bank/Park Inn Hotel completed (Frank Lloyd Wright, architect)
1910-1915-
Colby Car Company in operation.  The buildings are still in use by the Associated Milk Producers, Inc.
1911-
Lehigh Cement begins operation

First airplane flight in Mason City
1912-
Marion Mahony Griffin completes drawing of Rock Crest -  Rock Glen
1913-
Commission form of government.  Under the Commission, Mason City go new bridges, a sewage disposal plant, miles of paving, modernized fire department, and eventually, almost 2 million dollars in debt.

Jackson School built
May 1913-
Floyd E. Barlow flies from Clar Lake to Mason City, returns.
1914 - 1915-
Consolidation of Brick & Tile plants by Keeler
December 9, 1915-
Mercy Hospital opened
1916-
Mason City rated a city of the first class -- population 17,172

Modern Brotherhood of America built office in Mason City (Brick & Tile Building)

Chamber of Commerce opens
1917-
Jefferson School built

American Beet Sugar Plan opens
1918-
New Mason City High School built at 220 E. State Street

Mason City Junior College opens

First hard-surfaced interurban highway in Iowa from Mason City to Clear Lake
November 18, 1918-
YWCA on Adams and State dedicated
1919-
Monroe School built
1922-
Helen Schulz starts Red Ball Bus Line in Mason City
1923-
Madison School built

Wilson School built
1924-
Holy Family School opens
1925-
Hardin School built
1927-
Manager form of government.  Although the improvements made by the city commissioners were needed, the large debt caused the city to reevaluate its form of government.

YMCA building dedicated
August 28, 1927-
Charles Lindbergh attends dedication of Mason City Airport
1930-
Red Ball Transportation sold to Jefferson Transportation.  In 1922, Helen Schultz started the "REd Ball Transportation Co."  This was one of the first bus lines in the country and perhaps the only one owned and operated by a woman.
1933-
Script Road built.  Scrip was printed and circulated by the Chamber of Commerce and used to hire people to build a road on the Winnebago River between the Taylor bridge and Illinois Ave.
March 13, 1934-
Dillinger, et. a. rob First Nation Bank
1936-
First North Iowa Band Festival

Last street car runs
1937-
First radio station in Mason City (KGLO)
1939-
Roosevelt Junior High School built

Monroe School adds Junior High wing
October 12, 1940-
First scheduled airline flight, by Mid Continent Airways
1945-
Mayor - council form of government
1946-
New airport dedicated

Mason City gets intercontinental air service, Mid-Continent Airlines

First jet lands in mason City, Air Force P-80 Shooting Star
1947-
Mode O Day opens plant
1949-
Hoover School built
1954-
KGLO Television on air
1959-
Sears shopping center opens
1960-
1960 Industrial Park opens in Mason City
1961-
John Adams Junior High built

Newman School opens
1962-
Press Premiere of "The Music Man"
1964-
Last railroad passenger train in Mason City

Willowbrook Mall opens
1966-
New Mason City High School
1967-
First destroys Cashways Lumber and Terminal Railroad station
1973-
American Crystal Sugar closes plant
1974-
Armour closes old Decker plant
1978-
New Armour Plant opens
1979-
Mason City Brick yards close

Park Hospital torn down
1985-
Southbridge Mall opens
« August 2017 »
August
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031
Upcoming Events
Live Music: Feldspar Aug 18, 2017 11:00 AM - 02:00 PM — Library Commons
Live Music: Sam Crosser Aug 25, 2017 11:00 AM - 02:00 PM — Library Commons
Live Music: BJ Huffman Sep 01, 2017 11:00 AM - 02:00 PM — Library Commons
Previous events…
Upcoming events…