Fremont Township, Cedar County, Iowa, pinpoints the location of Stanwood, “our town!!” Our town was founded in 1869, when energetic pioneers gave plots of land and built a school house and two churches. Having the right economic factors, Highway 30 & Highway 38, plus a railroad, promised rapid growth. After the railroad established a depot, Stanwood became a center of activity. Traveling salesmen considered it an ideal base, encouraging operation of four hotels and a boarding house. The boarding house was run by Mrs. Billy Graft. By 1892, some businessmen and farmers erected a one story building and opened a private bank, with M.L. Simmons as President. Some years later another bank was started, and in 1909 the two consolidated forming the Union Trust and Saving Bank, which operated under the same name for most of the century. Throughout the years, Stanwood housed many types of business. The livery stable, owned by Billy Graft, a former mayor, was a necessity of the times. It also became the place for a fellow to pass the time of day. Many humorous tales were passed along as well!!
The Fall Festival became a source of entertainment around 1910. In the beginning, it had a dual purpose: to sell horses to buyers from all over the country and for showing beautiful horses. As it grew larger every year, by 1924, the Stanwood Horse Show was quite renowned and the value of the horses ranged from $1800 - $2200.
Utilities started with kerosene lamps lighting the homes, people carrying water from the water tower for drinking and laundry, outdoor privies, mud roads and streets, and hand cranked telephones. The changes of these progressed through the years to keep pace with the 20th Century.In trying to tell the story of this great town, common sense must prevail - there are reasons people are attracted to make their home here - be it family ties, business ties, location in relation to other ties or that it is just a friendly, neat place to raise a family that kids can call “their town.” We hope you will enjoy and prosper in “our town!”