By Mary JergensonMonday, November 5, 2001
The dirt roads and the dense thicket that surround Carimona today seem stark in contrast to the hustle and bustle that the once thriving community enjoyed. Today Carimona is nothing more than a few houses and a cemetery, but in the mid-1800's the Village of Carimona was the Fillmore County seat.
The history of Carimona begins in 1852 when the Pickett brothers, Joseph, William and Edwin came to the area to start a new life. The next year they brought back their father David and the rest of the family from Indiana. By that time, visionary Joseph had already set to sketching streets and avenues, and platting his dream city on the banks of the Root River.
The fertile valley produced bountiful grain and the newly established village continued to grow and prosper with new families and businesses. In 1854, William Strong opened a general store. Two saw mills and a flouring mill also began operating on the Root River. This allowed settlers to avoid the forty mile trip to Decorah to have grain milled or to purchase building supplies.
These new businesses brought vitality to the area and before long M.O. Walkers Stage Coach line made regular stops in Carimona. In 1855, Strong who was the proprietor of the general store and also the postmaster, saw another business opportunity and had the Carimona House built. The area’s first hostelry was an oasis to the weary travelers between Dubuque and St. Paul.
An article in the Preston Times, Thursday, August 12 1926, described the stage coach coming to Carimona:
"Life centered at the Carimona House where four times daily stages drawn by six and eight horse teams galloped in for a change of horses and a halt for food for passengers. It was 150 miles from Carimona to Dubuque, nearly 100 from Carimona to St, Paul and thus the village became a convenient resting place for those who sought to break the monotony of a jolting journey."
"One such weary traveler was carrying a great deal of money," or so the legend goes remembered Gladys Grebin a long time resident of Carimona. "He got wind of a plan to rob the stage between here and St. Paul, so on the stop here he buried his money up in Krugels Woods. The stage was robbed and the gentleman was killed leaving his buried treasure up in the woods. People still come out here from time to time with metal detectors looking for the money."
Counterfeiters in Carimona
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