Junius

Junius was started in 1905 in one of the richest farming districts of Lake County. But before this time, the post office there went by other names. Originally Olo, in March of 1882 the name of the post office was changed to Russell and was located in the home of Tim Russell who came from Alden, Iowa in 1878 or 1879 and was appointed postmaster. Mr. Russell continued as postmaster until he left for the state of Washington. In July of 1903 Rudolph Poelke and wife Henrietta had a town site platted and recorded as Poelke at the location of the previous Russell. Then for a short time the town was called Midway. But when the Milwaukee Railroad built a depot in 1905, the name was changed to Junius in honor of the son of one of the railroad officials.

The Farmers Elevator was the first building to be erected. There was a blacksmith shop, another general store, and a hardware store that was operated by George North. The town's growth took on boom proportions for the first few years, so much that it was mentioned in the New York World, a large thrice-a-week newspaper in New York City.

The Junius Bank was built in 1906 on land purchased by John Wadden, president of the bank. The old bank building is now part of Prairie Village. The lumber yard did a thriving business until it burned down. Another active phase of business in Junius was the pool hall. There was a large hotel on the west side of town. As the story goes, a premeditated fire was started with kerosene to destroy the building, but was extinguished before it got out of hand.

The Saturday night dances afforded great entertainment for residents of the area-so much entertainment in fact, that it was nicknamed "hollywood" by those who enjoyed them. Incidentally, the dance hall was south of the tracks in Junius. Most of the later residents remember it as the Linderberg storage building after it had been a hardware store.

Progress through the years spelled many things. The closeness and strong friendships have changed. With the building of the railroad in 1881 there was a feeling of security for the community. It meant supplying provisions and building materials so badly needed for the early settlements. A great many people were employed on the project. In 1974 it all changed with faster transportation of farm products to market in huge trucks. The CMP Railroad has been discontinued between Madison and Wessington Springs with the ties and rails taken up and sold.

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