...begin sample page...
Wild Cat Creek with Elk River, and in consequence enjoys the advantages
of a large amount of surrounding valley land. The greater portion of the country surrounding, however, is rough and broken,
much of it being useless for agriculture.
The town derived its name from the presence of a waterfall in Elk
River close by, and which is formed by the falling of the water over a projecting ledge of rock ten feet high and about one
hundred feet wide.
The first settler to locate upon the town site was R. H. Nichols, who took the
claim in February, 1870. Soon after the settlement of the land was made, the enterprise of establishing a town site upon it
was conceived, and a town site company composed of R. H. Nichols, G. F. Graham, E. A. Hall, James Edwinson, C. Goodrich, M.
V. French and H. H. Hess, was formed for this purpose. Accordingly, in the early part of the year 1870, the site was fixed
upon Nichols' land, and L. J. Johnston was employed to lay it off into town lots.
The first house marking the place was the claim-house built by Nichols - a small
box house, ten by twelve feet.
Following this was the erection of a small house built by R. H. Nichols,
which he occupied as a loan and real estate office. The next improvement was the erection of a frame storeroom by A. F. Gitchell
and son, Charles Gitchell, in which they opened a store consisting of general merchandise. The building was soon afterward,
in 1878, converted into a livery barn by Mitchell, for which purpose it is now used.
Following this was the establishment of a general store in a log
house which stood in the place where the post office is now located, by Hall & Edmiston. About the same time Dr. I. A.
Walter opened a drug store; S. M. Jones started a blacksmith shop, which he continued to operate about two years, at which
time he disposed of the same to A. Leisure. Attracted by the prospects of a new and rising town, numerous improvements were
soon made, until at present the town contains about five hundred inhabitants and several business houses of substantial proportions.
The post office was first established at Elk Falls in 1870, and J.
Edmiston was Postmaster. Although a post office was established at the place, there was as yet no provision made for the transportation
of the mails, and which accordingly was done by private individuals. The office was kept in the storeroom of Hall & Edmiston,
where it remained about two years, until the expiration of Edmiston's term of office. R. N. Hall was appointed as Edmiston's
successor in the post office, and it was then kept in Hall's drug store. At the end of two years from his appointment, Hall
was succeeded as Postmaster by John Heckerman, and the office, after changing hands, was taken to Heckerman's grocery store.
After Heckerman came the appointment of C. Truby, and the office located at the corner of Seventh and Osage streets, at which
place it has remained. Following the lapse of a three years' term of office by C. Truby, was the commission of Mrs. Susan
Truby, who has ever since continued to hold the appointment.