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The Conestoga Chapter is named for the heavy, broad-wheeled covered freight carrier used extensively during the United States westward expansion in the 1700s and 1800s.


In 1983, a project of the Conestoga Chapter was to place a marker at the site of each abandoned town in Tama County.  The following lists the markers that were placed.


Site of Former Columbia Village

On August 25, 1983, the Conestoga Chapter marked the former location of Columbia Village. The village was abandoned in the coming of the railroad to Tama County. The marker is located about a mile southwest of Tama.  Columbia Village was in Columbia Township, Section 5, and by now may be a part of the town of Tama.

Site of Former Haven

The Tama County town of Haven was laid out in 1854 in what was thought of as beautiful surrounding country, thickly populated and predicted to afford sufficient trade to support quite a village. Unfortunately, the town did not survive and the only building left is the Haven Community Church, which is still an active part of the community. The town site was marked by the Conestoga Chapter in 1983 with a white wooden sign with black letters. The former town and the marker are located southeast of the town of Tama in Richland Township, Section 21. Take U.S. Highway 63 south from Tama and turn east on E 64.

Site of Former Helena

The town of Helena was surveyed and established around 1854 and was active until 1896.  The first store was a general merchandise store, and later, a shoe shop. Now it is no longer on the map.  It was marked as an abandoned town by the Conestoga Chapter with a white wooden marker printed in black.  You can view the marker by going southeast of Tama near the town of Chelsea in Richland Township, Section 10.

Site of Former Union Grove

In 1879, Union Grove was the name of a post office in the southern part of Spring Creek Township. There was one dry goods store and one blacksmith shop. The owner of the dry goods store was also the postmaster, the justice of the peace, and half-owner of the blacksmith shop. You could almost say this was a one-man town. The Conestoga Chapter marked the site with a white wooden plaque lettered in black.  To view the plaque, go about 4 miles northwest of Garwin, Iowa, in western Tama County. It is near a small lake on the west side of Spring Creek Township, Section 32.

Site of Former Mooreville

In 1869, the first store was built in Mooreville and the town survived until 1900. Two blacksmith shops were added, a flour mill, one physician, a post office, and a few other dwellings. The buildings no longer exist.  The Conestoga Chapter marked the site in 1983 with a white wooden plaque lettered in black as the "Former Site of Mooreville."  The former site and marker are located on the northeast Tama County line about 5 miles north of Dysart. From Tama take U.S. Highway 30 east 13 miles. Turn north on State Highway 21 and drive 14 miles to Dysart.  Take County Road V37 5 miles north. Mooreville was located in Geneseo Township, Section 24.

Site of Former Irving

Before the site was surveyed and the town established in 1856, one enterprising man had already built a store and was doing business. Others joined him and the town did well until 1862. That was the year the railroad reached Belle Plaine, just a few miles from Irving. Business started moving to Belle Plaine and Irving limped along until 1935.


The Conestoga Chapter marked the site of the town in 1983 with a white sign that states "Former Site of Irving." It was also referred to as "Town Park" and "Plaza" during its day.


To view the marker and the former town site, from Tama take U.S. Highway 30 east 13 miles to State Highway 21. Turn south and drive about 1 1/2 miles. Irving was located in Salt Creek Township, Section 1.

Site of Former Waltham

Waltham was surveyed and became a busy town site in 1868. It had a post office, two grocery stores, two dry good stores, two blacksmith shops, a harness shop, a shoe shop, and a physician. The post office lasted until 1894. The Conestoga Chapter marked the site in 1983 with a white 16 x 16 inch marker with black lettering stating: "Former Site of Waltham." To view the former town site and the marker, from Tama drive east on U.S. Highway 30 to State Highway 21. Turn north and drive 3 miles to Elberon. Waltham was a short distance northwest of Elberon in York Township, Section 3.

Site of Former Monticello

Monticello was named by one of the town's residents in honor of President Thomas Jefferson as that was the name Jefferson chose for his home in Virginia. For several years after Monticello was established, the town flourished. After Toledo became the county seat, most residents had moved out of Monticello and into Toledo. In 1983, the Conestoga Chapter marked the site with a white wooden sign lettered in black that says "Former Site of Monticello." To see the marker, from Toledo take U.S. Highway 63 north about 3 miles then turn west and drive 1/2 mile. Monticello was located in Howard Township, Section 33.




Sharon A. Braden
Iowa State Regent


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