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By Mike Avitt
This week’s picture shows the Chicago Burlington & Quincy depot looking north.
In the background to the right, a couple of houses can be seen and those houses are in the original town of Redding.
I also find it very interesting that the railroad put the depot between Old Redding and New Redding.
Before Ringgold County was officially organized as a county in May 1855, we were attached to Taylor County as a township for voting purposes. The name Redding may have come from Taylor County as I can find no other mention of that name.
Ringgold County’s first two post offices were Mount Ayr, the county seat, and Redding, in what would become Benton Township, on August 30, 1855.
The future town of Redding would be in Clinton Township, so why put a rural post office in a sparsely populated township? My guess is that a stage coach line (the Keokuk-Nebraska City line) went through southern Ringgold County and the Redding Post Office was a stop.
The first mention I found of Redding as a town was in the May 20, 1875 edition of the Ringgold Record newspaper.
It was announced a new town had emerged in Clinton Township and blacksmith Jefferson Blazer was ready to handle your needs. Also, according to the Ringgold Record, C. S. Pugsley opened a general store complete with shoes, clothing, groceries, and hats. By early 1877, Poor & Rush had purchased the business.
Also in 1877, Dr. E. M. Snodgrass began running ads in the Ringgold Record promoting himself as a physician and surgeon, located at Redding.
1880 saw the coming of the railroad and the establishment of New Redding.
A detailed account of New Redding can be found in the August 5, 1880 Ringgold Record.
O. B. Hudson, who had a store at Old Redding for two years, was near completion on his new building in New Redding. His business covered groceries and clothing. There were also two doctors, Dr. Salisbury and Dr. Burns in the new town. And there was mention of a couple of saloons, which were rarely promoted in early newspapers.
New Redding was platted by a railroad town company and was teeming with new businesses and opportunities. I don’t know when the post office was moved to the new town, but I know the Redding Post Office was moved to the east side of the square in April 1882. It was in 1882 that Redding was incorporated.
Tingley and Redding were both named after the post offices that preceded them.
Mount Ayr and Redding are the only towns in Ringgold County with public squares in the business district. Redding is the only town in Ringgold County with an opera house still standing.
I spent about ninety minutes in the digitized newspapers to get some of this information. The articles in the old, old newspapers are often lacking in detail, but sometimes you find what you need. It doesn’t cost to look.