Town History

Grinnell started as a location for steam powered locomotive engines to refill with water. The railroad built a hand dug well over 100 feet deep to provide the water supply. The railroad, however, spurred lots of additional economic activity.

It helped bring pioneers and settlers looking to take advantage of the Homestead Act.

While the railroad continued to play a pivotal role in the existence of Grinnell, the town soon transitioned to a service center for the area settlers.

The Industrial Revolution which produced the railroad also had an enormous impact on agriculture as well, allowing the replacement of human power and horsepower with machines. This allowed individual farmers to care for many more acres per farmer. As a result, the need for the services provided by small rural communities like Grinnell also declined.

Angelus was started as a religious community, mainly for immigrant German speaking people. They shared a common language and religious beliefs. It also became a service center for these local settlers. However, it lacked the transportation infrastructure like a railroad and a paved highway to help sustain its existence.

The history stories included on this website documents some of this activity.

Cemetery Directories

Cemetery Directory Information

Cemetery monuments provide an invaluable insight into the history of any community. There is evidence of the names and families that inhabited the town. There is evidence of tragedy and heartbreak, of lives lived many years, and lives cut short. There are names whose ancestors continue to live in the community and names that seem to be a complete mystery. The oldest birthdate on the marked graves in the Grinnell township cemetery appears to be 1833. The earliest date of death appears to be 1889 among the 330 marked gravesites. In the Immaculate Conception Cemetery, there are 358 marked gravesites. The oldest birthdate appears to be 1840 and the oldest date of death appears to be 1911. In the Angelus Cemetery, there are over 500 marked gravesites. The oldest birthdate appears to be 1804 and the oldest date of death appears to be 1887.

Grinnell Town History

Angelus Community History