Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick

 

THE "PEAVINE" VILLAGES OF VAN BUREN

On March 1, 1882 the first train arrived in Birmingham on the newly completed Ft. Madison & Northwestern Railroad line, which was a narrow-gauge rail that at one time extended from Ft. Madison to Ottumwa. This small line was purchased by the Chicaco, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. By the time it changed to standard track in 1891, the route had become known as the "Peavine."

Several stations immediately popped up along the Peavine. The village of Zanesville came into being about 3 miles southwest of the present village of Stockport. From 1882 to 1901, a post office was established there under the official name McVeigh, so soon the settlement adopted that name. A general store and lumber yard operated until about 1900 in McVeigh.

Likewise, a small cluster of houses existed around a depot at Longview, located 2.5 miles northwest of Stockport. Meanwhile, Stockport was only a tiny, cross-roads settlement in 1881, and didnít yet exist as a town.

The State of Iowa is said to have offered a $500.00 cash bonus should the railroad reach the settlement (that became Stockport) by January 1, 1882. When it appeared that railroad workers would be unable to meet the deadline, neighborhood men turned out to lay ties and rails so that this sum of cash could be collected. The cross-roads community of Stockport did not yet have a depot, therefore it did not grow.

At this same location, proprietors laid out the grid of a town in 1887, opened a school in 1889, and erected a hotel. After Longview Station was moved to Stockport in 1890, Longview disappeared as Stockport thrived. Stockport finally incorporated as a town in 1902. Following this act, the rival village of McVeigh also declined and vanished.

Stockportís growth centered around a tile factory that operated from 1900 to 1920. The industry manufactured drainage tile, hollow brick and building brick, as the population of Stockport steadily climbed to more than 400 by the 1920s.

Tracks to Libertyville and Batavia were abandoned during the 1940s, and in 1955 the line stopped going into Birmingham. However, the Peavine continued to serve Stockport on a daily basis until the late 1970s. Soon after the Burlington Northern Railroad purchased the CB&Q, any rail lines that were deemed unprofitable or that competed with mainline operations were quickly taken out of service. Around 1978, several efforts were made in vain to keep this tiny rail spur from being completely abandoned, but the cost of continued operation could not be justified. As an engine rumbled into Stockport for a final visit early in 1980, this run on the little Peavine ended a chapter of history that had brought the Stockport area almost a full century of service.

Of the three villages that the Peavine built in close proximity, only Stockport survived. Now that it has outlasted the railroad, the present population is holding steady at about 250, while the old depot has been restored as a "Peavine Railroad Museum."

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick
http://iagenweb.org/vanburen/