On May 11, 1857, William Kent, then county surveyor, laid out for William and Elizabeth Welch the town of Coalport,
on the south side of the Des Moines River in section 14, township 76, range 19. The plat, which was filed in the
recorder's office on the last day of November, 1857, shows seven blocks of eight lots each and a "mill lot"
of two acres. Coalport was so named from the large deposits of excellent coal in the immediate vicinity. Alfred
B. McCown, in his little book of reminiscences published in 1909, and entitled "Down on the Ridge," says:
"Coalport was a famous village. It had one little store, a saw and grist mill, a potter shop and a blacksmith
shop. It had no postoffice, because of the strange stories that had reached the department at Washington that wild
Indians were still in the neighborhood and that an occasional white man was burned at the stake. So the rural delivery
man, like the priest and the Levite, passed by on the other side."
The village was a "coaling station" for the little steamboats that plied on the Des Moines River (when
there was enough water), but in after years the river cut a new bed farther eastward and the site of Coalport is
now some distance from the stream upon which it depended for its commercial importance.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Also see -Towns and villages with links
City of Knoxville
City of Pella
Marion County, IA
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