Early History of Farmington
Farmington was settled in 1833, following the Blackhawk War and over a dozen years before Iowa's statehood. The town was platted by Henry Bateman in 1839 and was incorporated in 1841. Farmington is the oldest village in Van Buren County, was the first county seat, and was a major center for milling, manufacturing, and trading.
By 1878, Farmington supported one printing office, four dry goods stores, two drug stores, three grocery stores, two agencies, three hardware stores, one harness shop, three wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, one cigar manufactory, two shoe shops, two furniture houses, one grist mill, and one saw mill. Also present, at the time, were three lawyers, five physicians, and two Justices of the Peace serving 1,000 citizens.
See more historic photos of Farmington: Here
1909 Farmington Chautauqua Program Large PDF File
Milestones in Farmington's history include the following:
- Home of the first Congregational Church west of the Mississippi, in 1848.
- Home of the Farmington Wagon and Carriage Works, owned by Lewis Burg.
- The birth of the first white child on January 17, 1836 - Jacob Alfrey, son of James and Maggie Alfrey.
- The first Postmaster - Dr. R. D. Barton, keeping his post office in his hat.
- Home of the first cheese factory in the State, and the first steam flour mill in the county, in Abner Kneeland's colony of Salubria, south of Farmington.
- The burial site of Rebecca Pollard, who had opened a private school and developed a series of books.
- Provided citizens who were active participants and onlookers in the Civil War Battle of Croton and Athens.
- Was home to the only Catholic Church in Van Buren County at the time.
- Was the location of the Annie Wittenmeyer Home for Orphans before it was moved to Davenport.
- Home of Stirling Woolen Mills and Company.
- Site of the George Stillwell murder case.
- Site of the Chautauquas, which were held in Anderson Park, and which boasted such famous orators as Williams Jennings Bryan, Billy Sunday, and Champ Clark.
- Was home to a wooden covered bridge, which was the longest railroad bride in the world at the time of its construction.
- Site of the famous "Tar and Feather" case of a newspaper editor.
- Was one of the centers for Iowa's cucumber industry.
- Gold and Mercury were discovered in the gravel pit south of Farmington.
- Home of Dr. Lonnie A. Coffin, who in 1958 was awarded the American Medical Association General Practitioner of the Year award by the American Medical Association.
In addition to Farmington's enchanting and colorful history, the town is surrounded by thousands of acres of natural beauty. Shimek Forest, to the east, covers over 8,000 acres of woodland. And, Indian Lake Park, to the west, is a 177-acre City owned park, ideal for camping, fishing, hunting, canoeing, hiking, biking, and more.