Uncovering history in Dyersville, IA

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Judy Weber is the Office Manager of the Dyersville Area Historical Society. Looking through a box, she unearthed a rare piece of Dyersville agricultural history. “We found an 1879 Moline Plow booklet,” Judy explained.

Dyersville history
Dyersville history uncovered by Judy Webster!

The Story

Currently the Dyersville Area Historical Society is set up in the Dyer-Botsford Museum House with a doll museum. The house is located on the main street in downtown Dyersville. “James Dyer who built the City lived in this home. It was the first framed house in Dyersville. He sold it to the Botsfords. They were firm supporters of us. The town was founded in 1850.”

The Historical Society was organized in 1982 and they were looking for memorabilia. “We were asking for people to donate items to the museum,” Judy explained. “Somewhere this was donated to us and was put in a box along with other things.”

“We were in a convent down by the church downtown. Then we relocated to city hall. Everything was in boxes, then we moved here. Recently we decided it was time to go through those boxes and we found this! Kevin Collins (a local antique dealer who along with his wife Nancy specializes in memorabilia) advised us what to sell this for. The historical society is always in need of funds so this will help.”

I was so amazed that this wonderful find was tucked back in a box. Just think if they had thrown out that marvelous piece!

The Moline Plow Co. Book

Dyersville history
Cover of the Moline Plow booklet.

The Moline Plow book which shares Dyersville history is dated 1879. The book is assigned to J.S. Collings Agent Dyersville, Iowa. “He had an implement dealership or was an agent somewhere here in Dyersville or at a farm store,” Judy added.

The book is an Illustrated Catalogue highlighting the leading styles of plows built by the Moline Plow Co. in Moline, Illinois. This included “Western Walking Cultivator, Imperial Combined Ridging or Walking Cultivator, New Era Tongueless Cultivator: celebrated Evana Sulky Plow of which 6,000 are in use” as of January 1, 1879!

The Moline Plow Co.

The story behind the Moline Plow Company dates back to 1852 when Henry Candee and Robert Swan began the company when they started building fanning mills in Moline, Illinois.  The mills progressed to implements and onto plows.  The company name changed over the years from the Candee, Swan Company to the Moline Plow Company.  Eventually they purchased the Universal Tractor Manufacturing Company when they became interested in tractors.

Dyersville history
The book offers the history of the company as of January of 1870.

It is cool to know that this type of equipment was once sold in the town so famous for farm toys. The first week of November each year people come from all over the US and even the world to attend the National Farm Toy Show. Several farm toy companies once were in business in Dyersville. The National Farm Toy Museum is now also located in Dyersville, Iowa as well.

The Booklet on Display

This unique piece of history was on display at the National Farm Toy Show at Beckman High school. Put on by Toy Farmer Magazine, this annual show has been taking place for over 25 years. Thanks to Judy Weber and the museum volunteers, a bit of agricultural history was found and shared! The Historical Society and Museum is located at 340 1st Ave E., Dyersville, Iowa 52040. For more information, call 563-875-2504.

If you enjoyed this article and want to know more about the Moline Plow Company click this story.

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