W. H. Fowler has done as much as any other man to advance the business and commercial interests of Pella and
in many other ways has left his impress upon the life of the city. He is the owner and manager of the Fowler Telephone
Company and for a number of years owned the electric light plant which supplies the city with light and power,
and is the president of the Pella Commercial Club, which he organized in 1908 and which has since been a leading
factor in the development of the city. Mr. Fowler was born in England in 1874, a son of Frederick and Ann (Ayers)
Fowler, who in 1884 took their family to Canada.
Mr. Fowler of this review remained in that country until he was a youth of eighteen years and then, in 1892, came
to Pella, Iowa. For seven years he attended the Central University of Iowa, which is located here. Shortly after
leaving school, or in 1900, he organized the Fowler Telephone Company. While still a boy in his teens he had mechanical
experience in Montreal in connection with fire alarms and in the employ of railroads, and this had given him an
insight into that line of work and also proved that he possessed considerable mechanical skill and ingenuity. His
undoubted executive ability, however, has been the determining factor in his marked success as a promoter. The
Fowler Telephone Company was the first telephone company in Pella and started with twenty telephones. Mr. Fowler
himself installed the equipment and for a time did practically all of the work of the company. In 1900 the first
rural line was put up and extended fourteen miles, serving six telephones. The first farmer who subscribed for
a telephone was seven miles from the city and considerable difficulty was experienced in securing, the other five.
At the end of the first year there were sixty telephones installed altogether, but six of these were in the country.
For the first five years the growth was slow but at the end of that time the value of the system was apparent to
all and the number of telephones in use increased rapidly. At present there are nine hundred subscribers, over
half of whom are farmers. The company has one hundred miles of line, thirty of which is toll line. In the past
three years all of the wires serving business telephones have been put under ground, thus lessening the danger
from live wires and increasing the beauty of the city streets. The company now has a force of eight regular employees
besides those Whose services it requires at especially busy times. In 1914 the company was incorporated by Mr.
Fowler. The first office was at the corner of Main and Franklin streets, but in 1909 the headquarters were removed
to a fine brick building at No. 713 Main street.
For four years Mr. Fowler owned the local electric light plant, but abandoned that enterprise when the city opened
a municipal plant. In 1911 he organized the Pella Commercial Club and has since served as its president. In the
past three years the club has raised over ten thousand dollars for the advancement of the city's interests and
conducted a vigorous campaign of advertising, doing all in its power to secure new industries for the city and
to stimulate the growth of those already here. It originated the "White Way" picnic, held in 1913, which
brought fifteen thousand people to Pella and which presented the attractions of the city in a most effective manner.
Many of the visitors came in automobiles and it was estimated that there were one thousand cars in the city from
outside. The organization has sixty members, comprising the majority of the up to date and progressive business
men of the city, and its achievements since its reorganization are but a small factor of the things it hopes to
accomplish for Pella.
On the loth of January, 1914, Mr. Fowler was united in marriage with Miss Otha W. Stephenson, of Des Moines, a
daughter of Dr. H. M. Stephenson, of Perry, Iowa. Mr. Fowler is a republican in his political belief and shares
that new civic conscience which makes for a general interest in the affairs of government and the securing of efficiency
in the management of public affairs. Fraternally he belongs to the Masonic order, in which he has taken the thirty
second degree. He holds membership in Pella Lodge, No. 55, A. F. & A. M.; Des Moines Consistory, No. 3; and
Za-Ga-Zig Temple, Order of Mystic Shrine. Mr. Fowler is widely known not only in the city of Pella, but throughout
the entire county and his ability as an orator, executive and financier is universally conceded, while his splendid
qualities of character have won him many sincere and loyal friends.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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