Eagle Point
Historical Fayette County landmark, 1 1/2 mi SW of Main Street Fayette
Highly utilized to the WWII era by villages/farms for some miles around for picnics, camping, reunions, gatherings.
Westfield Township, Fayette County, Iowa, middle of the NE1/4 of sec 31.
Coordinates: 42deg49.7minN, 91deg49.8minW

View downstream (eastward) on the Volga River.  Eagle Point left (north).  Picnicking/camping was along the stream bench/bank areas.
 Eagle Point pics on this page are from the 1910+/- era.


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Last uploaded:  Jan 1, 2011

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Quiz:  find the landmarks above on the aerial below.


Eagle Point from the south side of the Volga River, across the stepping stones.  Palisade bluffs upstream to the viewers back.

View downstream.  Camping/gathering was on both sides for several hundred yards,
toward Brown's ford and Eagle Point road (now called King Road?), the primary entry trail to Eagle Point.
Wagons/autos forded the river about in the middle of this pic to access the bench area on the upstream side of the point.  
The Eagle Point area never was a formal park or recreational location, just a popular location for locals to visit.
One of my first, lasting memories when about 3+, just after WWII, was being scared to death, not understanding what was going and
 bawling as water was coming inside, above the floor of the old Ford coupe grinding away over the rocky bottom at this location.
We were crossing from left to right on the pic so must have come to Eagle Point from the north side of the river.


Second quiz, locate:  Eagle Point road, Brown's ford, old 1870's rail bed, possible routes to the point area,
possible camping/picnic areas, Palisades bluff, stepping stones, Point ford.

The Stepping Stones and Palisades Bluff
Immediately upstream of the Point


Eagle Point?


Where did the Eagle Point name come from?

Certainly because eagles were being seen in the point/palisades bluff area, after 1840 when there were whites around the Wilcox settlement a mile plus to the SE, and coming along the Mission Trail to Ft. Atkinson.  Whites could officially 'flood' north of the mission trail and into the Volga River area only after 1949, however whites were exploring for claims or squatting in Neutral Ground during the Mission Trail years.

Both of the old tales of someone shooting an eagle around the point and that the point area had an eagle nest, have merit.  Both sides of my family farmed inside a walk to Eagle Point, from 1900+/-, and family tradition was that the point area had eagles.  Nesting eagles directly on the point is doubtful as eagle nest are very large, weighing hundreds of pounds and almost always high in large trees.  The best guess is that the point was a prime fishing location as only ancient scraggly cedar trees would have been able to survive right on the point.  A nesting eagle likely would have utilized the mature oaks a bit farther back from the rocky point or along the palisades bluff just upstream (S & SW of the point).   With the reported sighting/tales, there certainly would have consistently been a nesting pair somewhere in the area and fishing along the stream.  By WWII eagles were gone from the county, only to return 2000+/-.

Extracted from:  'CHATS WITH OLD TIMERS' by O. W. Stevenson, 1938-1943,
...George S. Hartman tells that Sam Breisford (who once owned interest in the big Westfield flouring mill, and who afterward lived in a hermit's shack on the railway right of way up near Eagle Point) told him, when a small boy, that early in the 1850's a couple of boys shot an eagle at what is now called Eagle Point. Hartman thinks that Breisford knew who the boys were, but cannot remember the names now (in the 1930's).
...Miss Mayme Hurd, writes from Des Moines that she seems to remember "having a tree pointed out at Eagle Point---a straggly tree over a rock---which was supposed to contain an eagle's nest."
...Justin E. Miller says as a boy of about nine, he was working in the garden of his grandfather, John Burget, at Fayette, when Col. Aaron Brown, who owned a farm south of Eagle Point and lived in a house out toward Westfield, came to see Mr. Burget. They got to talking of early days and Brown told that he had shot an eagle and had named the place, or was going to name it, "Eagle Point." It must have been in about 1877 that Miller heard this talk.

Fayette Paper briefs give an idea of the popularity of Eagle Point.


Reference to Eagle Point describes not just the limestone 'point' but the area long the Volga River in the vicinity of the point where picnics, camping and outdoor activities were rather constant for decades.

Eagle Point would have been popular to the Native Americans and certainly to early settlers four decades before 1890.

1890May22, On Monday last the UIU Freshman proceeded to Eagle Point for the purpose of holding their first annual jubilee.  A short spicy program was carried out, a bounteous supper disposed of and later in the evening bonfires were built to enliven the scene,  while all enjoyed themselves hugely.  It was a tired lot of students who returned to town between 10-12pm, feeling that it was good to have been there but glad that class jubilees occur but once a year.

1894May27, The Jr.Class of UIU had a cool day last Monday for their picnic near Eagle Point.  they built fires out of floodwood to keep the blood in circulation.  they had hammocks.  Hammocks! and fires!.  Well, perhaps we did some foolish things in our earlier days, but hammocks in---the winder wasn't one of them.  We thought we heard an unusual racket up the railroad track after midday, like a convention of woodchucks or frieight car trucsk off the track, but presume it was caused by chattering Junior teeth over cold sand(s)wiches, ice cream, icicle pie.

1896Aug13, Mr. Boolinger and another man from Lawler were in town Monday , and the two of our aquatic sports went to Eagle Point to clean out that regions of bass.  The "kingfisher" of the crowd got nary a bite, except from musquitoes, and one of the other three captured one young, long orphan bass.  It made the mud turtles weep to see what luck the longshoremen had, and then they (the turtles), swam into deep water in search of shell fish for supper.

1897May20, A hack load of people when to Eagle Point Sunday to show a record on bass fishing.  They returned with twenty suckers, more or less.  But one boy with a native pole and chalk line caught three fine bass within the corporation.  The season is open.

1898Oct27, Will Monroe braved the snow and slush Tuesday and went up the river to Eagle Point, with dog and gun.  He was rewarded by shooting a big Mallard duck.

1900June06, Some worth people were visitors at Eagle Point last Sunday.  We do our fishing chiefly on working days mostly outside of the ten hour system.

View upstream (S & SW) across the stepping stones toward the palisade bluffs and horseshoe bend.  The bench/bottom area to the right of the picture was popular for camping and group activities.  The same type of area downstream (E & NE) from the actual Eagle Point on both sides of the Volga was the most commonly used.   All of this general area was referenced as going to  'Eagle Point' by county locals.  Eagle Point was more a general area than just the actual limestone bluff outcropping.

1900July05, Eighteen people picniced about a half mile above Eagle Point, Saturday, in honor of Prof. and Mr. Dickman.  the day was agreeably spent in getting there in an old lumber wagon, fishing, shooting, eating, playing ball, pitching horseshoes and getting home. The return trip was inaugurated by the breaking of the wagon tongue, and the rest of the driver's administration was marked by the desertion of the entire cabinet at the top of every hill where the descent might prove dangerous. A picnic without an experience more or less tinged with adventure isn't much good as a picnic, and so all felt satisfied with this one.

1900Oct18, A Robertson family reunion was held Saturday, twelve being in the party which went to Eagle Point, where dinner was spread.  They had their picture taken and enjoyed themselves very much.  Mr. & Mrs. Elbert Robertson, Of Monona were present.

1902July21, O that we had a water power here capable of running mills, shops, dynamos, etc., instead of a creek that could not run a threshing machines ten hours a day.  Yet if a dam could be put in at Eagle Point between the two rock bluffs so as to form a big reservoir and it could be piped to town it would be sufficient for electric lighting the longest nights in the year.

1903July23, Prob. and Mrs. Newton, Rev. and Mrs.Cattermole, Mrs. Dudly, Professors Neff and Brumbaugh, Mr. and Mrs. Berkstresser, and Misses Millie and Lena Walker enjoyed a picnic at Eagle Point Monday afternoon.

1903July30, The A.J. Hensley and Thos. Potter families made one of three picnic parties that happened to locate at Eagle Point Monday.  The Wm. and Ora Taylor families also picniced there.

1903Aug13, The Sweet, Carpenter and Whitney families, Lottie Davis and Mabel Patterson, picniced at Eagle Point Monday.

1904Mar31, Fish Out On Land.  Parties up the river in Eagle Point vicinity Friday were astonished to find denizens of the river out on land.  The terrific rain the day before brought the river up to near high waster mark, and overflowed the flats, leaving in sunken places many fish, frogs, turtles, etc. The next day the water subsided and in shallow pools covered with shell ice the fish were noticed, in some instances the back fin sticking up through the ice.  Two men who were out hunting gathered up a number of half dead black bass, redhorse and suckers, several of the bass weighing probably three pounds each.  Mud turtles by the dozen, adn many frogs were scattered over the ground, all sluggish and stiff with the cold, being just able to crawl.

1904May26, A Joyful Surprise.  Two rainbow trout were said to have been caught two weeks ago near Eagle Point that were described as being nearly a foot long, but few, if any, really believed the story; but Friday evening last one was caught just below the bridge in Fayette that weighed nine ounces and measured eleven inches.  Sunday to more were caught up Eagle point way of about the same size.  This proves conclusively that out of the 30,000small fry put into the stream here and for a distance of a mile and half up stream, not all have been destroyed or gone down stream with the floods.  The strange port of is is that few if any have ever been caught before reaching such a size.  Now if those who fish were all genuine sportsmen and had nay regard for future fishing and maintaining a future supply, they would return to the stream all trout caught this year or two more the increase would more than double the present supply.  The stream has been almost depopulated of bass the past two years by the scores of people who have nothing else to do the week through, Sundays and all, except to go fishing and keep all they get above what the law prohibits--six inches in length.  Mere "pothunters," proved to be such, should be prohibited by law from fishing anywhere except in large rivers and lakes.  Put back the small bass and trout or there will be fishing in two years, in the Volga, except for bullheads or suckers.

1904May26, Minnie Baker, Ersie Clegg, Ora Masters, Virgil Clegg and a number of other young people picniced at Eagle Point early in the week.

1904July21, Editor Rowley and wife, of Maynard, with another married couple, camped at Eagle Point Saturday.

1905July06, Hon W.L. Eaton, of Osage, with two nephew doctors and two or three others, left last week Monday for Europe to be absent two or three months. We have read their itinerary of places they will visit and the dates.  So far out itinerary has been only Eagle Point, Brown's Ford, Wilbur's Bluff, No Dam, Shaffer Hole, Langerman's Ford, Trail's Hole and Big Rock.  They are old scenes; we have "scene" them but once this season, and that several weeks ago.

1906July05, Austin Fox and wife and Geo. Jones and family have been camping at Eagle Point during part of the week.

1906July26, Mr. A.J. Fox returned from camp near Eagle Point, Monday.  They have been there about three weeks.

1906Aug09, Geo. Jones and family broke camp near Eagle Point Saturday and moved their canvas home to their lawn in town.  They enjoyed several week's outing greatly, and no doubt had a better time than many people who roam "afar off" in the summer for their vacation.

1907July18, Geo Jones and family and E.C. Hill and family made arrangements last week to go into camp near Eagle point, and on Monday their tents were put up and the Jones family were nicely located before the big rain which came Tuesday.  On Tuesday the river rose rapidly, due to the long rains and something in the nature of a cloudburst up in the Crane Creek vicinity (north in Eden/Auburn Twp's), and when Ed Hill attempted to get his family into camp he didn't succeed.  Driving up their, he found the river had backed up the little creek bed near Brown's ford, so that it looked "fierce," and he left his family on this side while he and Dr. Ray Hill drove across, finding the water so deep that the horses had to swim.  When they came back they tried to cross in another place, and the wagon was overturned and both went into the five feet of muddy water that was swirling about, but they got out without any serious trouble.  Mrs. Hill decided that she did not care for any more camping experience and they came back to town without her visiting the camp at all.

1908Feb05, Log House Burned.  Friday afternoon between 4-5pm, the log house near Eagle Point occupied for so many years by Sam Brelsford, was destroyed by fire.  Some time before, Gene Lockwood passed by and found the old man shivering with cold, and built a fire for him.  Coming to town he left word of his situation for Will Kelly, who immediately started out to give any assistance needed, as Mr. Brelsford had been in poor health for a number of weeks.  On reaching a point where he could see the house he found that it was on fire.  He and Will Potter reached the place about the same time,  but it was then too late to save anything.  Breisford was bareheaded and barefooted, and was brought to town.  The next morning he was taken to the county farm, where better care can be given him.

1908Aug13, Campers Left Eagle Point.  Fred Henderson and Ray Tiffany of Oelwein who have been in camp near Eagle Point for about a week, departed Sunday for their home town.  They enjoyed their camp life in the ideal spot very much.  Others find the place very attractive, and one day last week there were about sixty in the vicinity of the Point in search of recreation.

1908Aug27, A picnic was enjoyed by Fayette and Hawkeye people at Eagle Point, Saturday.

1908Oct08, C.C. Collins has moved into the Upton residence.  His place on the Lockwood farm near Eagle Point has been taken by a man from Minkler.

1910June16, Smithfield.Twp News.  Geo Paul and Bert Badger with their families picniced at Eagle Point Sunday.

1910June23, Center Grove News.  There will be a big Fourth of July celebration at Eagle Point with a picnic dinner.   A ball game and races of all kinds.

1910June21, G.P. Hammer and wife of Sumner picnicked (first spelling change from picniced to picnicked) with the Perry Clow family sunday at Eagle Point.

1910Aug11, Geo. A. Davis and H.I. Robinson and their families left Sunday for Eagle Point, where they have established a camp.

1910Aug18, Prof. Simonson spent Sunday at the Davis-Robinson camp near Eagle Point.  A happy crowd of girls from the Smithfield.Twp neighborhood picnicked at Eagle Point Wed.

1910Oct06, The UIU freshman class held a picnic at Eagle Point Wed night.

1911Aug24, Fred Henderson and Ray Tiffany of Oelwein came Saturday evening to visit relatives here.  Sunday they drove to Eagle point to establish a camp for a week's outing.

1911Sept07, Willie Sinnot and Lyle Proctor spent Sunday at Eagle Point.

1915Aug12, Sunday morning a very hilarious picnic crowd, composed of S.T. Paynes, W.H. Barnes and W.H. Paynes started for Eagle Pint with great plans for a camp fire dinner.  After about fifteen minutes of camp fire, it began to rain, sending them all to the tops of trees, etc.  Thus they remained for over an hour when they decided to start home.  However, they adjourned to the home of D.M. Davis where their picnic dinner was spread on a table where they spent an enjoyable afternoon.  About 5:30pm the happy crowd of 28 dissolved company and turned homeward in the pleasant sunshine.

1916June22, A party of young people drove to Eagle Point on Sunday, the gathering being in honor of Miss Peterson.

1917July19, Will Dugan and family picnicked at Eagle Point, Sunday.

1919July10, Prof S. W. Geiser and wife and Forrest B. Claxton and wife are camping at Eagle Point this Week.

1921Aug18, Oelwein Campers Meet a Flood at Eagle Point.  It was a mighty close call for Messers. I.P. Bennett and I.D. Pardee and families camped opposite Eagle Point on the Volga Wed. Night.  Seated in their snug ten they feltsecure from the rain and wind, till a little girl of the party remarked that her feet were getting wet.   And then they noted that the rising water was creeping under the tent.  They turned the lights of the car toward the rocky gorge up river and the sight was enough to "skeer" most anyone.  A torrent of water filled the gorge and was rushing down upon them.  The entire flat opposite Eagle point was soon flooded from two to five feet deep.  they climbed into their car, having first used the tent stakes to anchor it, and for tow hours they were in doubt whether they would drown or the waters subside.  Finally about midnight the crest fo the flood was reached and they concluded the immediate danger was over.

1923May23, A petition was signed by citizens of Westfield, Smithfield and Center townships asking that a bridge be erected across the Volga river in the W1/2 of the NW1/4, sec 32, T93N, R8W, being on the road known as the Eagle Point road, was received and ordered filed (this request was never acted upon and the Volga River crossing on the Klock's Island to Col. Aaron Brown's old farm remained a river ford until about WWII).

1924July17, Here's An Old Turtle.  While fishing at Eagle Point last week Jim E. Miller caught a turtle that he had considerable difficulty in landing.  It was an old-time, as was proven on examination, having the letters U.I.U. and the date 1890 carved on its back.  Quite a number of people have viewed the moss back and it would be interesting if the person or persons who carved the letters 34yrs ago could be located.

1924July24, Last Thur. morning at 9am, the Maynard area Camp Fire girls started (hiking) for Eagle Point and reached their destination about 11:30am.  Rev. and Mrs. Atkins of Randalia and Mrs. Vaughn met the girls there and spent the day with them.  After dinner they went in swimming and then rested for the walk homeward.

1924Aug21, Reunion of the Paul Family.  A reunion of the Paul family was held At Eagle Point on Sunday, Aug 17th.  Mr. & Mrs. Walter Paul and son Granville, of Lake Andes, SD., being the guests of honor.   A bountiful picnic dinner was served, after which snapshots were taken of the four generations.  The afternoon was spent in conversation.  Among those present were relatives from West Union, Oelwein, Maynard, Fayette and Volga City, numbering 86 in all.

1924Sep25, The Wesley Saltsgive and S.W. Rubyor families of the Randalia area picniked at Eagle point recently.

1926Apr1, ...all the scouts of northeast Iowa are already getting set for the climb to Eagle Point and the set u p exercises that were put on by that "Belles guy" as an Oelwein boy said Sat.  Fayette made a lasting impression on all the boys here the four years (in the past).  It remains for Fayette people to back the local scouts this year in making the homecoming of northeast Iowa Scouts a decided success.

1926July1, Mr. and Mrs. T.I. Bachus, Frank Helms and dau Miss Florence spent Sun. at Eagle Point.

1926July26, The F.A. Kiel, Ritchie, Lyford and Hettler families celebrated Monday with a picnic at Eagle Point.

1928Apr19, Thur. the 12th, fourteen members of the "Fayette High School Talkers Club" with their sponsor, Miss Van Lissel, hiked to Eagle Point for a weiner roast.

1928Oct04, Mr. and Mrs. L.E. Burget and Mr. and Mrs. L.M. Cullins picnicked at Eagle Point Sunday.

1929May12, F.T. Colman's saw mill (traction steam engine) was moved last week to the Lockwood place near Eagle Point.

1930May08, Miss Byrkit, kindergarten teacher at Harlan and Southside in Oelwein, met with a severe injury at Eagle Point when she fell from a cliff.  She fractured a collar bone and injured here arm.  She is able to be at her school duties, however.

1930June05, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Shaults, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Edel and children, and Mr. and Mrs. John Edel of Sumner picnicked at Eagle Grove Sunday.

1930June26, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Binning and children accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Glen Shafer and Mr. And Mrs. Clair Sprague to Eagle Point Sunday for a picnic.

1930Aug07, Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Carley and family and the George Carley family of Maynard enjoyed a picnic dinner at Eagle Point Sunday.

1930Aug28, C.W. Keding and family from Randalia went Sunday to Eagle Point, where they were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Klink and children, Carl Leisftkow and family and Elmer Link, all of near Maynard.

1930Sep04, Mr. and Mrs. John Hack and son, Lester, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Willard Conrad and children of Boone, Mr. and Mrs. Russell Holy and dau. of West Union, and Mr. and Mrs. I.G. Conrad and family enjoyed a picnic at Eagle Point Sunday.

1937Aug05, Mr. and Mrs. Lou Shepard and family of Fayette, Mr. and Mrs. Orville Entwisle and family of Hawkeye, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bellis and baby, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Wilbur and children enjoyed a picnic at Eagle Point Sunday.

My father grew up 1+mi S of Eagle Point, visiting, fishing, hunting, trapping the Volga River area often.  My g/father farmed a mile

The Pipho Ford Motor Company of Sumner sponsored a 1937 picnic at Eagle Point.  The Pipho family originally farmed in the Randalia to Sumner area.
In 1942, Pipho Ford went out of business but retained tractor, farm equipment and repair for awhile.  Auto/cycle hill climbs were popular before WWII.

1938Mar03, Norma Lockwood Miller and Edna Lockwood Miller divide the Eagle Point area Lockwood farm.

Both born 1919, married Oct 1941.  Eleanor Hunt Zbornik's mother Winifred Strayer Hunt grew up on the old Col. Aaron Brown farm, immediately south of
Eagle Point.  Her father Reuben Hunt grew up a mile downstream from Eagle Point.

1947June05, Boy Scout troop 31 will  go on Camp-o-ree Sat & Sun, Jun 7&8 at Eagle Point.

After WWII, with increased travel and changes in life styles, the use of Eagle Point for picnics, camping, reunions and gatherings decreased toward non-use.  Driving close to the actual Eagle Point stopped.  Their would be a little foot traffic to the area by locals for outdoor activities.  'We' continued to fish, hunt, camp, skate to the Eagle Point area with decreasing regularity.  By the late 1900's the local memory of Eagle Point was fading away.

From the North

From the South

Plat Maps

Eagle Point again is patrolled by Eagles.


The 1850-1960+ in Fayette.Co.IA was an 'era' of family farms/business.
The 1960's began the rapid acceleration of the demise of the small farm/business population across America.
Communities disappeared;  Albany, Lima, Donnan, Brainard, Auburn.
Others became a shell of their former prosperity, some fairing better than others;
Randalia, Eldorado, St. Lucas, Wadena, Arlington, Hawkeye, Fayette, Clermont, Elgin, Waucoma,
Alpha, Westgate, Oran, Alpha, West Union, Oelwein.




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