The first known settlers in Princeton Township were Giles M. and Haswell H. Pineo (in 1835) and Daniel Hire, about two years later. (It is recorded in David C. Mott’s book that the town of Princeton in its infancy was first known as Pinnacle Point.)
By 1838, (Elizabeth City – the predecessor to Princeton) had its first store, ferry across the nearby Wapsipinicon River, mill and distillery were in operation.
The city now known as Princeton was platted and recorded in 1852 and was incorporated in 1860. Rail service to Chicago began in 1860. Samuel Porter was the first elected mayor in 1858, for a population of 500. The population has fluctuated several times through the years, and today stands at nearly 1,000 residents.
The city's mainstay businesses for many years were Farmers Savings Bank, chartered in 1908, and Boll's General Store, founded by Henry "Heinie" Boll in 1922. The Boll's Store continued until 1997. Boll's storefront is now the Community Center.
Education of the area’s children started in a log cabin, moved to a converted barn and then, in 1866, to a stone building.
The Methodist and the Presbyterian churches began to hold services in 1840, and the Lutherans first held services in a building known as "Old Brick," located 4 miles (6.4 km) west of town, in 1852.
Today, Zion Lutheran Church (part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Princeton Presbyterian Church, affiliated with Presbyterian Church USA's Presbytery of East Iowa, are the city's two churches, with Zion founded in 1898 and the Presbyterian church in 1854. Both churches are members of the Princeton, Pleasant Valley, Argo and LeClaire Pastors' Group, a coalition of clergy from churches serving those communities.
Princeton's longitude and latitude coordinates in decimal form are 41.673282, −90.342953.
I have many fond memories of this little town. Raised on a farm until the fourth grade and then moving to the big city of Princeton, Iowa. Population at that time was between 450 and 500. The Boll’s store (now community center) was the primary place in town to shop for groceries. You could get a few things at the dime store or the drug store.
The Mississippi River would sometimes flood this main downtown street (it was the only street and ran right along the river). The waters would rise to the top step and you would have to take a boat right up to the door of Boll’s Store.
I’ve written some stories about my adventures in this little town.
“It’s Only A Candy Bar” (based on true experience)
“Jumping in the River” (based on true experience)
“One Special Gift” (based on true experience)
“Leap of Faith” (true story)
If you are interested in reading them, let me know.… Webmaster
Now the Community Center
©2005 Iowa Ghost Towns - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED