OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Beach, landowner and businessman, committed to Webster City’s success

— Submitted photo.

When my wife and I moved to Webster City last year, I was intrigued with Beach St., running along the west side of Our Neighborhood.

I have a real appreciation for beaches, probably due to having lived in San Diego for 17 years (oh, and marrying a “California Girl”). Following it to both ends failed to produce any beach, short of Brewer’s Creek running under the roadway.

Another mystery to be looked at in Our Neighborhood.

In 1854, David Beach and a brother, Benjamin, arrived in the area, traveling far from their birthplace in Morris County, New Jersey.

David was about 22 years old and eager enough to secure land here that he walked to Des Moines carrying $700 in gold in his pockets to buy a parcel. Today, that would weigh about 11 grams; in 1854, it weighed 2.1 pounds.

Though exhausted, David was successful in procuring some 600 acres of land on the north edge of the new Webster City.

Looking through the online copies of past area newspapers, I found that Beach was a well-liked local businessman with an apparent wit about him. He and another brother, Lewis, successfully sold merchandise at various times and locations.

When Lewis moved back to New Jersey, David built a one room hotel near what is now Beach and Second. A story from 1913 recounts an earlier night when 17 people were housed in the hotel.

The article describes “facilities far from a first rate establishment in this day”… Sounds like a less than exceptional Trip Advisor review of an Airbnb. Benjamin, David’s other brother, was a well-respected resident of Webster City, as well.

Following his death in 1893, his obituary is quoted as saying, “by his long residence here Brother Beach has gathered a large circle of friends.”

David Beach was married twice and had no children. Benjamin was married and had two daughters; one died at an early age.

The other, Julia, was a successful teacher both in Webster City and Des Moines.

Several accounts remain in the archives of the Beach brothers; their commitment to the success of Webster City as early residents is recorded often.

Along with other “pioneers”, they helped to establish Our Neighborhood, both David’s and Benjamin’s families reside here.

It certainly appears that the three Beach brothers got along well; respected and experiencing success in their lives. I’m so glad to live in a city that honors its past residents with street, park and facility names.

I’m just a little bit curious… which of the brothers is Beach Street named after? If it’s all three, or just the two in Our Neighborhood, wouldn’t it be called “Beaches Street?”


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