Lewis Township

From the 1882 & 1907 Pottawattamie County Histories

The earliest history of Lewis township is identical with that of Kane, the latter for many years having included the former and also Garner township. In 1875, Kane was subdivided and the present boundary is north by city of Council Bluffs, and Garner township, east by Keg Creek township, south by Mills County and west by the Missouri river. It is the largest township in the county. It is named in honor of the three Lewis brothers that settled here in an early day.

One of the most outstanding features of this township was discovered by Mr. E. H. Odel and became a grand social gathering place for travelers and settlers from all over the country. He was likely the first individual to take the necessary measures to promote and utilize the natural resources of Lake Manawa which was created by a change in course of the Missouri River. At the turn of the Century, Lake Manawa became a smaller version of Coney Island offering a variety of events and comforts.

No other township in the county, except Kane, had more railways then Lewis. The Kansas City and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, came direct from the south, and the Rock Island, The Milwaukee & St. Paul and the Wabash from the east.

After the railways, and the development of Lake Manawa, the most important public improvement in the township would be the Deaf and Dumb Institute of the State of Iowa (note:  the school was renamed “Iowa State School for the Deaf”) which is located on eighty acres of land, in the north end of the county, and adjoins the southern limits of Council Bluffs.

Another large and prosperous settlement in the township in early years was that of the Plumer family. This settlement was so entitled in honor of the family of frugal, shrewd, and industrious German farmers who settled in the neighborhood and became among the wealthiest farmers in the county. Their land extended into Mills county and encompassed several miles north and south.

Early township officers were: F. G. Knowles, F. W. Beck and H. C. Jenkins, trustees; Peter Rief and Wm. Steel, justices of the peace; H. A. Ellerbeck, assessor; G. C. Plumer, clerk and Julius Schultz, constables.

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