“The History
We Live In”

Experience historic Council
Bluffs through its past.

They came from Germany, Ireland, England, Denmark, France, Canada, and the eastern and southern states. Each of their stories has a common thread: they left their homelands in search of a better life for themselves and/or their families. Some came with financial resources; most reached their goal through hard work and determination. They watched the tiny settlement grow from a frontier town, to a major outfitting station for those traveling west, to the fifth largest rail center in the country.

The History We Live In series attempts to tell their stories, as accurately as possible, through the homes they built by the architecture reflecting the culture of the times. In the very early days, houses did not have numbers; they were identified by the name of the occupants (e.g. the Snow House). This practice continued for several generations after numbers came into use.

Preserve Council Bluffs acknowledges the following sources of information: the Pottawattamie County auditor’s office; the reference department of the Council Bluffs Public Library; Council Bluffs Community Development Department; family members, homeowners, and individuals; and especially the documents relating to the nominations of the historic residential districts to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Author

Mary Lou
McGinn

133 Bluff St – Samuel Clinton

The oldest home on the “Historic Homes for the Holidays” tour today is also one of the oldest houses in Council Bluffs. Samuel Clinton was born in Trumbull County, Ohio in 1818. After completing law studies at Ballston Spa, New York, he moved west and settled in...

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136 Glen Ave – Oscar and Anna Pfeifer

This pretty-as-a-picture Queen Anne house might resemble a doll house to passing motorists, but looks can be deceiving; it is large enough to have once served as “Pleasant Home”, one of three convalescent homes in town. Restored to its original condition, it is once...

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134 Park Ave – Simon and Henry Eiseman

Simon Eiseman was born in Bavaria in 1847; Henry was born in 1850. Their parents were Joshua Eiseman and Fradel “Fannie” Dannebaum Eiseman, both born in Bavaria. The brothers came to Council Bluffs in 1861and opened a wholesale and retail clothing establishment. An...

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Maria Mynster

This is the story of Maria Mynster - wife, mother, midwife, land owner and astute business woman - who was, by all accounts, ahead of her time. Maria Jensen Mynster’s story began in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she was born in 1821. She married C.O. (Christopher)...

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1703 Jane Street – Dr. Oliver Walker Gordon

Dr. Oliver Walker Gordon and his wife, Mary, built this three-story Italianate house around 1888 for their family. Mrs. Gordon was the daughter of Dr. E.S. Williams, dentist, the second owner of the 1857 brick house on the opposite bluff, 1857 High Street, known as...

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1300 Canning Street – Frederick Lainson

Among the earliest settlers was the family of George Canning. They came to Council Bluffs in 1847 where they made their camp and pitched their tents in the area that became known as Canning Hill. In 1853, Isabella and John McPherson received a land grant from the U.S....

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1133 East Pierce Street – George F. Keeline

“Happy Holidays” is the greeting that seems to come from this historic red brick home on East Pierce Street. It was built in 1869 by George F. Keeline for his wife, Sophia, and their children: Louisa, Johanna (Josie), George Albert, Sophia, Benjamin Franklin (Frank),...

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903 Third Street – Martin Hughes

A visual feast awaits those approaching the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Third Street, and a stop sign provides an opportunity to slow down and enjoy it. Martin Hughes built this magnificent home, designed by noted local architect S. E. Maxon, in 1887-88. It is...

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737 Mynster Street – Art Grell

The house featured this week was the home of Art and Bessie Grell. They did not build the house, but it serves as a window to the Grell family history and a time when the Arts and Crafts movement (1903-1930) inspired the shift from the ornate architectural design of...

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Preserve Council Bluffs is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and preserve the heritage of Council Bluffs through its architecture, sites, and people.

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