Advertisement for Land

Date: 1865


Description: This is an advertisement posted by John A. Schmidt, cashier for the Citizen’s National Bank in Sioux City and member of the National Board of Real Estate Agents. Cities were an investment in the 19th century, and what brought the most capital for Sioux City’s investors was the prime real estate in the surrounding area and out west. Banks and private companies like John A. Schmidt & Co. received federal land grants, usually on behalf on the railroad, to build, develop, and ultimately put railroad tracks on the surrounding land. Millions of acres were granted to companies to build one small strip of railroad, and then the companies could sell the remaining land for profit. This may seem rather extravagant to us today, but back then it made sense for the government to do so. The more farms, townships, and communities that were built up along the railroad area, the more resources were available to these railroads, and the more railroads could expand. Thus railroad tycoons moved west with the rails and came to boomtowns like Sioux City, set up their companies and made millions off the sold land to farmers and townships. This how so many small towns in the Midwest cropped up so quickly, like Le Mars, Lawton, Bronson, Merrill, and Hinton. Small Midwestern towns were vital as railroad stops for fuel, parts, and passengers heading to cities like Sioux City.

Donor: Robert Joseph