City of Crescent

Excerpts from the 1907 History of Pottawattamie County

The first post office was at Ellisdale farm, two miles south of what was destined to be Crescent City. This was in April 1856 and the first postmaster was L. J. Goddard.

Organized in the spring of 1856, the first proprietors of Crescent City were Joseph E. Johnson, H. A. Terry, S. M. Hough, Samuel Eggleston, L. O. Littlefield, L. J. Goddard, O. H. Dutrow, D. S. Jackson and R. W. Steele. Joseph E. Johnson erected the first business house in 1856 and later that year opened a general store in that building. Samuel Eggleston soon followed with another. The third was built by a Mr. Piper, who built a large one but a short distance from the other two. Business not requiring so large a building, it was converted into a town hall. In 1857 few towns away from railroads presented greater activity than Crescent City.

A little newspaper was started called the Rock Bottom, but was short lived. Its principal business was to urge the bridging of the Missouri River between this place and Florence on the west side (Nebraska Territory), five miles above Omaha. The dream that haunted the people of both these towns was that there being rock bottom here, it would be the only practical place to locate a bridge; that the first railroad would come down the Pigeon valley, and that Crescent would supercede Council Bluffs and Florence would do likewise to Omaha.

Crescent was laid out, platted, the streets named, a newspaper started called the Crescent City Oracle. It was quite ably edited by Joseph E. Johnson.

Florence also made great strides. A newspaper was started there, and also a bank, and for quite a while it looked as if there was something in it, but in the fall of ’57, when the crash came, only the strongest of the young cities (there were no towns or villages) survived.

Many houses in Florence were moved to Omaha and out onto farms, and from Crescent, both business houses and dwellings were moved to the Bluffs as well as sold to farmers. Among these was that of G. F. Smith, the father of Hon. Walter I. Smith, present member of congress. He had a neat dwelling in Crescent which he brought down to Council Bluffs, and after living in it some years, sold it to the late Col. W. F. Sapp, who finally died in it. So that little house had the honor of housing two members of congress.

According to the authors of this book, in 1907

  • It had a graded school of four rooms, Mary Schrot was principal and Margaret Johnson and Nettie Hutchison were assistant
  • Members of the board of education: J. R. Lapworth, president; J. A. Pratt, secretary; and Warren Hough, treasurer.
  • Rev. Mr. Baldwin was pastor of the Methodist church.
  • Odd Fellows had a lodge of over 70 members; Dr. A. A. Robertson was noble grand.
  • Modern Woodmen had a lodge; G. B. Hampton was head consul.
  • According to 1905 state census there were 318 children between five and twenty-one, being 159 of each sex.
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