According to Wikipedia, Wever has previously been called Sand Ridge, Green Bay, and Jollyville, before settling on the name Wever in 1870. That might be overstating the case a bit. Wever is in Green Bay township, so maybe Wiki confused the township with the village. Jollyville was a nearby but separate village that still showed up on a county map in 1916, but it no longer exists. Too bad. Life in a place called Jollyville sounds like a lot more fun than in a place called Wever, but maybe that’s just me.
From what I pieced together of Wever’s actual history, it became a bona fide place when it got a station for the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. That’s probably what sucked the joy out of Jollyville; the railroad didn’t stop there. By the 1870s, Wever had about 300 residents or nearly three times the population it had 40 years later.
I’m guessing that the village was named after the family that owned the land when the railroad came through. There was a Clark R. Wever (a Brevet Brigadier General in the Civil War) who owned a lot of land in the area when he died in 1874. He was a banker who married the daughter of prominent early resident Daniel McConn (see Fort Madison). So, yea, that’s probably how the village got its name.
That might have been the most interesting thing to write about Wever were it not for the recent news that Iowa Fertilizer had decided to build a big plant just south of Wever. Construction is going to cost about $1.8 billion, according to the company, although federal, state, and local governments are kicking in $600 million worth of public subsidies to help out. Turns out there’s also a bit of confusion about who exactly is building the plant. Iowa Fertilizer is a subsidiary of Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries, but Orascom is a subsidiary of the Dutch Company OCI N.V. Regardless, construction is underway, with the plant likely to go on-line in 2015.
Heading upriver? Check out Burlington.
Heading downriver? Check out Fort Madison.
© Dean Klinkenberg, 2014
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