COUNCIL BLUFFS, City Of, called also KANESVILLE, a post-village and capital of Potawatomie county. Iowa, near the Missouri river, 250 miles W. of Iowa City. It has 30 or 40 stores. Pop. in 1853, 8000. (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)
COUNCIL BLUFFS is the seat of justice and the only town of any note in Pottawattamie county. It was originally called Kanesville, which name it retained until 1853, when it was changed by an act of the Legislature, and became an incorporated city. It is situated at the foot of the bluffs overlooking a beautiful valley of three miles in width between the city and the river.
On the 10th of May, 1854, the tract of land on which the principal portion of the city is built, embracing 620 acres, was entered by Frank Street, County Judge of the county, under a special act of Congress, passed April 6th, 1854, and after a re-survey of the whole tract, the lots were deeded by the County Judge to the citizens and occupants, according to their respective interests. Council Bluffs contains a population of 3,000. It is the great outfitting point for a large portion of the emigration to the gold regions of Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and the regions between the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific coast. It has also a very large local trade. The inhabitants of a dozen different counties find a market there for nearly all their surplus horses, mules, oxen, beef, pork, grain and vegetables; and consequently buy most of their goods at the same place. The trade of Council Bluffs is equal to that of any place in the United States in proportion to its population. The trade of 1864 amounted to about $2,000,000. The wholesale grocery establishment of Stewart & Haas, alone, sold that year $250,000 worth of goods, and several other houses sold in the neighborhood of $100,000 each. The business houses, hotels, manufactories, churches, school houses, printing presses, mechanics, etc., of Council Bluffs may be summed up as follows: Two weekly newspapers, the Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Republican in politics, edited by W. S. Burk; established in 1857 by W. W. Maynard. A daily paper is also issued from this office. The Council Bluffs Bugle, edited by L. W. Babbitt, Democratic in politics, was established in 1853 by J. E. Johnson. Six churches, to wit: O. S. Presbyterian, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, German Evangelical, and Catholic. Two brick school houses, each two stories high with basement, and each capable of accommodating 150 scholars. One Masonic Lodge called Council Bluffs Lodge No. 71, meets Saturday evening on or before the full moon. Good Templars Lodge, No. 117, called Border Lodge, meets every Saturday evening. There are three banking houses, eight practising attorneys, six practising physicians, five hotels, two wholesale grocery establishments, twelve dry goods stores, two clothing stores, two hardware stores, one boot and shoe store, four drug stores, one furniture store, one upholstery establishment, three stove and tinware manufactories, three jewelry and silversmith shops, eighteen family grocery and provision stores, three bakeries, four meat markets, seven livery stables, three daguerrean galleries, three saddle and harness shops, four boot and shoe shops, three tailor shops, three carriage and wagon manufactories, one cooper shop, three gunsmith shops, three paint shops, thirty to forty carpenters and joiners, twenty to thirty masons and plasterers, one foundry, one steam flouring mill, one steam saw mill, one tannery, one distillery, and three breweries.
There are also two large pork packing establishments in Council Bluffs—one a brick, sixty by one hundred and twenty feet, with cellar full size of the main building, and conveniences for slaughtering and rendering lard, not inferior to the best packing houses in Cincinnati or Chicago. This house is owned by John W. Ross. The other is a frame building, nearly as large, with equal facilities and conveniences for slaughtering and rendering lard. The latter belongs to Cleghorn & Alexander, of Keokuk. Eighteen thousand hogs were packed at these two establishments, in the fall and winter of 1864. Council Bluffs is destined to become one of the greatest pork packing points west of Chicago. The rich, productive soil of Western Iowa being peculiarly adapted to corn raising, must eventually cause that to be the great staple product of the country, which will, in all time to come, find the surest and best market by being fed to hogs. Many of the business houses of Council Bluffs would be an honor to any city. It has also a number of elegant and tasteful residences.
Council Bluffs is one of the healthiest places in the western country. Ague has been almost unknown there for the past ten years. The pools of standing water, in the bottoms along the Upper Missouri River, do not generate malaria, as in many other sections of country. During the dry, hot months of summer, the few pools in the vicinity of Council Bluffs remain cool, clear, pure and healthy, being kept alive by springs.
David De Val is now the oldest inhabitant of Council Bluffs, having lived there since 1847, and is one of its best citizens. During a large portion of that time, he has been kept, by the people, in offices of honor and trust. Council Bluffs has, also, the United States District Land Office—the district embracing fourteen counties in the southwestern portion of the State.
The government offices in this place are now held as follows: Frank Street, Register of the Land Office; D. C. Bloomer, Receiver; Horace Everett, Collector of government revenue for the fifth Congressional district; W. W. Maynard, Post Master. This office has lately been made a “Money Order Office.”
Council Bluffs is supplied with a daily mail, by four horse coaches, from east, south and west, and with a tri-weekly mail from Dakota and Minnesota on the north. A tri-weekly mail is also carried between Council Bluffs and Fort Dodge, in a two horse hack. The Mississippi & Missouri Railroad, and the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railroad, now being built across the State, are both aiming for Council Bluffs, as their terminus. The Council Bluffs & St. Joseph Railroad, which is being built in the Missouri valley, between those two points, makes Council Bluffs, for the present, its northern terminus. The great Union Pacific Railroad is compelled, by law of Congress, to start from Council Bluffs. So it will be seen that, in time, this place must become a great railroad centre. (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)