Springville History

In 1837 the Sac and Fox Indian tribes ceded to the United States government an elongated arrowhead-shaped stretch of land known as the Second Black Hawk Purchase. The area where Springville is located was part of this ground.

Charles Pickney staked out a claim in 1838 which included the land where Springville is now located. He purchased this land in 1840 from the U. S. Government.

Nathan Brown, after whom Brown Township received its name, came west and settled one mile southwest of the village site in 1839. Nathan is one of two Revolutionary War veterans buried in Linn County.

First Settlers

In 1840 Isaac Butler, generally known as "Col. Butler", with his family settled near the village site.

It was Col. Butler who named the fledgling pioneer settlement Springville, for its many natural springs. He was the justice of the peace, as well as operating the first store in one room of his home.

First Post Office

In 1842, the first post office was established in the township by Col. Butler. It was the third post office in Linn County.

Mail was received weekly on horseback.

School Starts

The first two story brick school was constructed in 1865 on High Avenue.

Now a residence, it may be Springvilles oldest building.

Gold Fever

Horace Brown, Nathan's thirty year old son, caught 'the fever' in April 1850 and tried his luck in the California Gold Rush. He returned to Springville in June 1852 never to leave again.

First Church Service

The Rev. John Hodges conducted the first Methodist service in Springville (and reportedly Linn County) in fall 1840 at the Nathan and Tamar Brown home.

First Wedding

The first wedding in Brown Township, that of Charles Pinckney and Amanda Brown, was performed by the Rev. Jesse Bennett on March 12, 1843.


Joseph S. Butler (son of Issac Butler), Hosea White, Moses P. Wynans, and J. P Hoffman had the village of Springville surveyed on March 22, 1856. It was located on the west half of the southwest quarter of section 28, and the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 29, Township 84, Rage 5, on the south side of Big Creek.

Bank On Us

Exchange Bank (later the Exchange State Bank) was founded by Joseph Butler in 1878 on Springvilles south side. In 1881 it was moved to a large frame building on the north side, on the site of todays telephone company. It has occupied the present brick building on the northwest corner of Broadway and Liberty Avenue since about 1898.

Town Founded

On June 11, 1881, a petition , signed by 41 of the 365 people in Springville, was presented to a district judge. On July 20, 1881 the question of incorporation was put to the voters.

The electors in the proposed city limits approved incorporation by a narrow 45-36 margin.

Fit to Print

The first newspaper was the Independent, started in 1879 by Fred Chamberlain. The Springville New Era, a weekly newspaper, was started three years later by Joseph Butler, who used the paper to promoted a town water system. Before the town water system began in 1894, private wells and hand-operated pumps sufficed.

Higher Learning

The first high school commencement took place June 11, 1886. Graduates were Charles Durno, Ida Jeffries (Smith), John Van Houten, Nettie Van Houten (Bowdish), and Nettie Wilson (Lyons).

First Mayor

George Durno served as Springville's first mayor. He took office on August 29, 1881.

Learn More

The Springville Area Historical Society, located next to City Hall, was founded in 2009. You can learn more about the history of Springville and its citizens at their website.

 Springville City Hall   304 Broadway        Mail to: PO Box 347  Springville, IA 52336   319-854-6428
 Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 12:00 pm, 12:30 - 4:00 pm
 Phone: (319) 854-6428         Fax: (319) 854-6443         Email: cityofsp@netins.net
 Springville City Hall   304 Broadway      
 Mail to: PO Box 347  Springville, IA 52336   319-854-6428
 Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 12 pm, 1 - 5 pm
 Phone: (319) 854-6428       
 Fax: (319) 854-6443       
 Email: cityofsp@netins.net