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History of Stanhope
Stanhope, Iowa was the last town in the county to be platted.

Railroad depots were called for approximately every seven to eight miles apart. So, because of its approximate distance from Jewell Junction and Stratford, the small town was platted on October of 1882, and given the name "Stanhope". It is thought that this named came from an official of the Chicago Northwestern Railway. Another common belief was that perhaps it came from Lady Hester Stanhope, the character in Whittier's poem "Snow Bound".


A post office was established on January 9, 1882. Mrs. Ray Parker became the first postmaster of Stanhope.



In 1893 the first school in town limits was erected. It first employed Miss Belle Iverson as teacher and Mrs. Olmstead as the first principal. Mr. Fred Runkle came in 1902 as superintendent. He expanded the curriculum to include the first year o6f high school. There were three teachers by that time: Mr. Runkle, superintendent and higher grades; Pearl Watson, intermediate grades; and Belle Iverson, primary grades. In 1914 an eight-room brick building was constructed on school grounds. In 1923 four more classrooms and a gymnasium were added. Then again in 1952 four more rooms were added.

In 1905 a fire appeared and wiped out the west side business district. Tragedy struck again the next year, when fire wiped out most of the east side business district.

Stanhope still lived on and the town was incorporated on October 13, 1897. The first election was held that year electing Stanhope's first mayor, Hans Fardal.

Later in the 1920's a highway, Custer Battlefield Highway was built and it bisected the city of Stanhope. Eventually, it became U.S. 60, and now is the current U.S. 17.

In 1958, the school districts of Ellsworth, Randal, Stanhope, and Jewell were combined into the present South Hamilton School District in Jewell, Iowa. The last graduating class in the Stanhope Community School was in 1962. Ultimately, the brick school building and gymnasium was torn down and the Park View Apartments were constructed on the old school grounds.

In the late spring of 1983 Stanhope celebrated it Centennial. A 3-day celebration was held starting on June 17th and carrying over until June 19th. Families gathered together from all across the nation to celebrate their hometown heritage. A parade kicked off the celebration with many activities for people, young and old, to participate in together. Many people dressed up in late nineteenth century apparel, wearing the clothes their ancestors had worn when Stanhope was settled a hundred years in the past. The entire celebration was a big success as all of the community had united together to celebrate the first hundred years of Stanhope, Iowa.

Photos 1-2, 5-7 courtesy of Ronald Carlson. Special thanks to Ed Nass of Webster City, Iowa, for the historical information he provided.

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