Fairfield Stories

Universal Producing Co. story

September 13, 2011

Exclusive video for Fairfield Iowa History! Lee Gobble chats about Fairfield Iowa’s Depression-era Universal Producing Company–In the midst of America’s Depression, Fairfield Iowa’s Stewart family rise to fame and fortune through creative thinking and ingenuity.

Beautiful houses on B Street 200 block.

Both 200 E. Washington (left) and 203 S. B St. (right) are on Lot No. 4 in Block No. 21, Old Plat, and Thomas D. Evans gave the whole lot to the Methodist Society in 1844 for them to build their church on. Finally finished in 1850, the brick Methodist “Old Zion” Church stood at the southeast corner of Washington St. and B St. (now 200 East Washington). After the Civil War the Methodist Society split into two factions, with some of the members leaving “Old Zion” for the Harmony Church, which stood near the courthouse.

“Old Zion” on S. B Street was demolished in 1876. The Fairfield Ledger of Aug. 17, 1876, says (p. 3, col. 4): “With the demolition of the Old Zion and Presbyterian Churches will disappear two of Fairfield’s old land marks….They were the two oldest churches in the city, and the first brick ones erected.”

The two factions later reunited under Rev. Henry Wing, who then built a large wooden Methodist church in 1877 on the northeast corner of Briggs and Court Sts., where the brick Methodist Church is now.

Scroll “Older Posts” on facebook, April 28-May 2, 2011 for more conversation.

Rory Goff contributes to http://www.facebook.com/fairfieldhistory and http://fairfieldiowahistory.com and is writing a Fairfield Iowa history to be published in 2012.

Did you know some Fairfielders participated in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves flee the South before the Civil War?

One of the routes led from Missouri to Salem, Iowa to Fairfield, then north and east either to Richland and Clay or to Pleasant Plain, and thence east to Washington and Crawfordsville, there joining the main west-east line to Muscatine, Iowa, and on to Canada!

‘Dirty story’ from c. 1877 Fairfield IA: Dee Devecmon, still dressed in his Sunday best, took an early-Monday-morning freight train from Fairfield expecting to jump off when the train slowed over a crossing at his father’s farm near Perlee. It had rained earlier and the ditches were thick with yellow mud.

When the train neared the crossing Dee moved to the caboose’s lower step to jump, and called up to his friends, “Do you think I can make it?”

As they all urged him on, the train sped up and passed the crossing.

Finally Dee jumped, and fell face down in that yellow mud, and looking up with his face and hands and best clothes covered, he yelled, “I made it!”


* Recollections of a Lifetime, Autobiography of Frank M. Slagle; privately printed by A B C Printing, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for Christian W. S. Slagle & Helen Slagle McConnell, 1964.