On August 14-15, 1867, J. A. Carruthers, at that time county surveyor, laid out a town in sections 15 and 22, township
77, range 19, for Columbus Long, J. F. Baldwin and G. W. Johnston. Prior to that time a station had been located
there by a Mr. Otley, engineer of the Des Moines Valley Railroad, and the town was named in his honor. The proprietors
of the town filed their plat with the county recorder on November 2, 1867. It shows sixty seven lots, all on the
southwest side of the railroad. Next to the railroad is Chestnut Street, then come Ewing and Johnston streets.
The cross streets are Washington, Jefferson, Keystone, Elm, Walnut, Baldwin and Summit. The space bounded by Chestnut,
Keystone, Ewing and Baldwin streets was not subdivided into lots, but was left for a public square or park. Since
the town was first laid out, Hammond's addition of forty two lots, on the northeast side of the railroad, was surveyed
in June, 1869, and Johnston's addition of sixteen blocks, only two of which were subdivided into lots, was made
in January, 1871.
The first house in the town was built by Alexander Jolly. Soon afterward a Mr. Weaver erected a store building,
which was leased to Isaac N. Crum, who was the first merchant. The postoffice was established in the spring of
1868, with J. W. Honnold as the first postmaster. At one time there were five general stores in Otley, but Polk's
Gazetteer for 1914 gives the number as two. The town has two churches, a telephone exchange, a public school that
employs three teachers, some minor business shops, and does considerable shipping. A bank was organized late in
the year 1914.
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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