New Market, IA: population 454, is located in the gentle rolling hills of Southwest Iowa just off State Highway 2 in Taylor County between Clarinda and Bedford. Farmers Mutual Telephone Company owns and operates the Farmers Mutual Town and Country Store located on Main Street.
New Market was founded in 1881 and celebrates its heritage each year on the 4th of July. Founded when the railroad passed by the former towns of Memory and Dayton the community of New Market sprung up as homes and businesses were relocated adjacent to the new rail line.
"New Market shall be the name of the town" ...was written in the 1883 Articles of Incorporation following a dispute over what to call the new community. Railroad employees painted "New Market" on a sign entering the town helping to end the argument.
New Market thrived and reached a peak population in 1920 of 745 residents. In 1899 three area farmers formed the first telephone utility called "Farmers Mutual Telephone Company". There were 90 subscribers on three lines with a small switchboard hung on the wall in the corner of the Harris Hardware store.
In 1902 a lot was purchased for $67.50 at the site of the present building. By 1911 there were nineteen lines serving all the subscribers with the switchboard in a small wooden structure. In December of 1945 the last train of the Keokuk and Western rolled through town witnessed by C.L. (Roy) Herron who, as a child had witnessed the first train make its way through New Market.
In 1962 the company had grown and now served 92 miles of rural lines plus the cable in town at which time the company consolidated and became known as the New Market Telephone Exchange.
In 1974 the company merged with FMTC of Stanton and the new dial system was installed thus ending the days of dialing "central" to make a call.
New Market is now served by modern digital switching gear that connects its residents to the world with the speed of light fiber and the Internet.