Sunday, January 25, 2009

History of Spring Valley Church

By Audrey Kooi

100 Years at Spring Valley Reformed Church Fulton
Near the turn of the century, many families had settled in the Spring Valley area that were of Reformed Church heritage. The nearest Reformed church congregations were located in the Fulton and Morrison area but the distance made regular worship difficult. Travel was by horse and buggy or bobsled and in many cases a round trip took several hours.
In the winter of 1908-1909, a classical missionary, Rev. Peter Braak, was sent into the territory by the Classis of Wisconsin for the purpose of establishing a church. Despite a poor economy, he found a strong desire in the hearts of several families to organize a church. Conducting a house to house canvas he also discovered many Presbyterian families who had a church and parsonage but were unable to support a pastor. Neither group wished to leave its parent denomination so a logical compromise was worked out. The Presbyterians would provide their facilities and the Reformed segment would help support a pastor.
On February 12, 1909 a meeting was called by Rev. Braak for all persons interested in organizing a Ustick Reformed Church. Twenty families appeared who were willing to organize. In March of 1909, the combined Presbyterian and Reformed congregations extended a call to Rev. Zwier Roetman, a graduating student from Western Theological Seminary, to become their joint pastor.
After two years had passed, fifteen more families had been added to the original twenty in the Reformed Church unit. The decision was made to buy two acres of land on which to build a church and parsonage. On November 1, 1911, the new church was formally dedicated to the worship of God and in that year the corporate name was officially declared to be the Spring Valley Reformed Church. Rev. Roetman continued to serve the Reformed congregation as pastor. Today the church is still at the same location 10960 Spring Valley Road.
Over the years the original structure has been added onto, modernized and facilities added to accommodate the churches activities. In 1972 one of the changes made to the property was a large parking lot with an outdoor chapel for drive in worship services. Pastor Ralph VanRheenen held the first outdoor worship and 37 years later it is continuing to bless the congregation and community. Every Sunday night at 7:00 from mid-May to mid-September cars fill the parking lot to enjoy Christian concerts and a Biblical message. They have a slogan “come as you are in the family car.” Last year a prayer garden was added to the outdoor service area, it is open to the public as a place of rest and reflection.
One hundred years later, Spring Valley’s membership has grown to 95 families consisting of 165 confessing members. Pastor Scott Bonestroo serves as the 15th pastor to lead the congregation. The mission statement for this church family: Developing Fully Devoted Followers of Christ. Every Sunday the church holds a traditional service at 9 a.m. that features choir, hymns, liturgy and a Biblical message. At 11:00 a.m. a contemporary service is held, which includes a live worship band with drums, guitars and a keyboard, worship songs sung as you may hear them on Christian radio, skits and a Biblical message. For more information about the church call 815-772-3554 or visit their website

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Fulton Journal

January 12:
Prominent Clinton Firm Has Located in Fulton
The Pointer Supply company of Clinton, which was incorporated under the laws of Iowa in October, 1909, and had since been doing business in that city, dealing exclusively in jobbing Pointer beer, a product manufactured and bottled by the Clinton Brewing company, has moved its place of business to Fulton, and now occupies the store owned by the Fulton Realty company north of the Fulton Drug company.
The office in Fulton which is now the headquarters for the company, is in charge of Fred A. Upton, the principal stockholder and general manager. Mr. Upton is a reliable businessman, who was born and raised in Lyons He devotes his entire time and attention to looking after the business of the company.
In connection with the Pointer Supply company, John G. Scott, successor to J.H. White, has a wholesale liquor office in the same building. Mr. Scott was for many years traveling salesman for J.H. White in the wholesale liquor business, and since his death has been the proprietor.

February 2:
The Potosi Brewing company of Potosi, Wis., has leased the room just vacated by E. Bos, the tailor in the Lemke block on Twelfth avenue and will open a branch house in this city. The business in Fulton will be in charge of Lawrence Carstensen, who for several months had been manager of the Val Blatz Brewing company's house in Fulton. The business of this firm is largely in the states adjoining Illinois.

February 9:
Two Wholesale Beer Licenses Were Granted at Session Held Tuesday Night.
Tuesday evening at the meeting of the city council, the mayor and all of the aldermen were present. Two petitions, one from the Potosi Brewing comnpany of Potosi, Wis., and other from the Gund Brewing company of LaCrosse, Wis., each to conduct the wholesale beer business in Fulton, were accepted and the clerk instructed to issue licenses upon receipt of the city treasurer for the payment of the license fee.
The Potosi company will conduct its business in the Lemke block on Twelfth avenue, and the Gund company will erect a portable building on the block south of the Burlinton depot for its place of business, which will be in charge of S.J. Jordan of Clinton.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Fulton Journal: July 23, 1909

Thomas R. Daley Shot at a Supposed Chicken Thief, Who Dropped Bundle of Stolen Goods.

Wednesday morning Thomas R.Daley, who is a night watchman at the Patent Novelty company's plant and resides across the street from the factory, heard a noise among the chickens about four o'clock and on looking out of the window at the plant saw a man prowling around his hen house. He ran out of the factory and fired a shot at the intruder.
The man carried a bundle and when the shot was fired he dropped it and ran south along the Burlington track towards the depot.
Mr. Daley then went to his poultry house where he found that nothing had been disturbed. In looking around he found a large bundle in a sort of a coffee or sugar sack lying by the fence. He picked it up and found in it fourteen pairs of pants, and an overcoat. All were new and had evidently been stolen from a car or or some freight house as there were no cost marks or prices on them other than the sizes and lot number used by the manufacturer.
City Marshal Archie Goble was notified and the stolen articles were taken to the city hall. On the sack that contained the goods was stenciled the name, "T.M. Gobble Co., Clinton, Iowa."
The articles found are not high priced, but of the cheaper grade, the pantaloons are of the kind that usually sell for $1.50 a pair.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Junction Hotel

Fulton Journal: July 26, 1904

The hotel building located at the Junction and known as the Junction House is being torn down, and the lumber will be shipped to Gibbon, Minn., to be again used for building purposes. The Junction House, one of the old landmarks in that part of the city, was located a few rods from the crossing of the Northwestern and C.M.& St.P. railroads. Before the days of signal towers, derailing switches and block signals, and when all trains on both roads stopped at the Junction, the old time inn did a flourishing business. For years it was the home of Dr. H.D. Flower a travelling physician who amassed a fortune while practising his profession and to the estate the property yet forms a part.

Barley and Mustard

Fulton Journal: December 1, 1903
Over Half Million Bushels of Barley Cleaned Annually--2,000 Bushels of Mustard Seed Marketed

On the river bank just north of the foot of Cherry street and adjoining J.C. Snyder's warehouse is the Fulton elevator, which is owned by E.A. Brown of Luverne, Minn., and operated by him under the supervision of George W. Damon, as manager.
There are not many people in Fulton, who know about the enormous quantity of barley that is handled in this elevator during the year.
In the past season there were over one-half million bushels of this grain shipped from northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, to this elevator where it was cleaned by being run through a screener and mills twice and again reloaded onto the cars and shipped to eastern markets.
In the process of cleaning last year over 2,000 bushels of mustard seed were taken from the grain. This seed finds ready market in Chicago at seventy cents per bushel. During the year the only large quantitites of mustard seed that was received on the Chicago market came from Fulton.
The month just closed. Monday has been a very busy month at this establishment, over 150 cars of barley having been cleaned, reloaded onto the cars and shipped to the east. Each car will average over 1,000 bushels of grain. This makes a total of nearly 160,000 bushels of grain handled twice.

Girl Scouts

Fulton Journal: June 20, 1911

The latest organization is the girl scouts movement. Their objects are all good ones, for they intend to learn how to sew and cook and make their own dresses and know all about housework so that when they get married they can mend and press hubby's clothes. They also intend to learn how to ride horseback, row a boat, nurse the sick and talk baseball intelligently.

An Odd Outfit

Fulton Journal: June 20, 1911

Saturday afternoon an odd outfit appeared on the streets of Fulton. It comprised two men, two women, a bunch of swarthy children and four cinnamon bears. The outfit traveled about in three wagons, two of which were covered and occupied by the men, women and children and the other was provided with a cage in which to carry the bears. The men and women resenbled Russians, but claimed that they were Cubans. While in town the men led two of the bears through the business streets and the other two made a canvass of the residence portions of the town. They begged from store to store and from house to house, and for a nickel or a dime given them the bears would be made to dance. The animals would wind up their stunt by climbing a tree or telephone pole.