Bonaparte, originally named Meeks Mill, Wisconsin Territory, was founded in 1837 along the banks of the Des Moines River, which was an integral part in the development of Bonaparte in its early years. The river mill complex, owned by the Meek brothers, drew businesses and residents to the area, and was internationally known for the quality of the wool it produced.
The first wing dam was constructed across the Des Moines River for use by the mills, and in 1846, a massive stone masonry lock and dam was built as part of the Des Moines River Project, which was to enable navigation up and down the river. Part of the locks can still be seen in the Historic Riverfront park.
When the river project fell through because of floods, the money and supplies were transferred to the railroad companies to enable construction of railroads connecting Iowa towns. This construction had a positive impact on Bonaparte's industry and manufacturing, and Bonaparte continued to thrive. At it's peak, Bonaparte had a population of almost 1,000 people.
To improve the quality of life in Bonaparte by supporting existing businesses and cultivating an
atmosphere for new business.
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, governed by a board of directors, which serves Bonaparte through the Main Street Approach of four points:
Everyone in the community and in the Bonaparte area has a stake in the success of downtown Bonaparte. The Main Street program is a perfect tool to help build, strengthen, and promote the downtown, along with the Villages of Van Buren.
Kathy Saltzgaver - President
Kim Maserang - President Pro-Tempore
Gianna Barrow - Organizational Chair
Dana Mabe - Promotional Chair
Dustin Troutman - Design Chair
Jean Wenke - Business Improvement
Sue Tackett - Secretary
Kim Boyer - Treasurer
Twyla Peacock - Manager
Members At Large -
Our board is highly motivated and has years of experience. Most of all they love planning, designing, building and they care about Bonaparte. We bring value to every interaction, and our residents and volunteers support all that we do.
Become a sponsor.
By being a contributor, you are a integral part of sustaining our organization. Without your continued support, we would not be able to maintain our Main Street status. Your donations provide advertising, paint & sign grants, and support for the local businesses.