This history of Galva is an aggregation of past events as preserved in writing by Sally Nelson in furtherance of the mission of the Galva Historical Society. Namely, to preserve in words and pictures certain seminal events in the life of the City for posterity.
The forward to "Galva History: 1854-2004", published in 2004, follows in its entirety:
“This book of Galva History has been written in memory of George and Florence Swank, who spent their lives preserving Galva History. If it wasn't for them, much information would have been lost.
Thanks to the Galva News for allowing us to use information from past papers and particularly the Centennial Edition published in 1954. The Galvalands, published by the Swanks, provided information since 1954. The photographs in the book were provided by the Galva Historical Society.
Thanks to Bud McKirgan and Judy Anderson who scanned the photos.
Many individuals obtained information about churches, organizations, businesses, schools, etc. I really appreciate all that they have done to make this book a reality.
Thanks to Chuck Medley who proof read for me. Thanks to the Galva News for formatting and printing.
Thanks to Ron Craig for drawing the cover.”
history of galva
Robert Bonham: first occupant in the area
1854: Galva was laid out. M. N. Emery hauled the first logs used for ties on the railroad from Moline, IL.
1854: first house built by Bishop Hill Colony
1854: first store built in Galva, the C.F. Bodinson Grocery
First station agent: Colonel E. Fuller
1855: first child born to Mr. and Mrs. David Emery who named their newborn daughter Galva. She was born during a January blizzard during which the city was snowbound.
First boy born in Galva to Mr. and Mrs. Absolom Woods during 1855.
1855: first death in Galva when Mr. O. P. Bigelow expired 12 September.
The first fire occurred in Galva 8 November, 1855. There was no organized fire department at the time. A hastily organized bucket brigade drew water from the city's few wells to combat the blaze which destroyed six businesses.
1855: the first public school in Galva was built by the Wiley brothers, it measured 12' X 20' until three rooms were added in 1876.
1855: first hotel built by J. E. Wolever.
Methodist Church organized 26 June, 1855.
Congregational Church organized 15 September, 1855.
Swedish Luteran Church organized in 1869.
Baptist Church organized 14 August, 1855 in the local school house.
Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church organized 5 January, 1866.
1857: first newspaper published, the Galva Watchman. The paper was disontinued in 1859.
Galva resident D. L. Wiley became the first County Supervisor in 1857. He was replaced in 1859 by Galva resident A. G. Hathaway.
The first grocery store (not to be confused with the first store (Bodinson Grocery) was opened by Galva's first postmaster, Mr. George Farr.
Galva's first doctor was Mr. Asa D. Babcock.
Mr. Isaac Seeley opened the first drugstore in Galva.
Mr. Hiriam Bigelow was the first lawyer to reside in Galva.
Mr. Thomas Guthrie opened the first machine shop and foundry in Galva.
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