According to a journal of Zebulon M. Pike, Princeton began life as a major village of the Fox Nation. As more and more people moved west, many changes took place.
1835 – The first claimants to land in the township were Giles M. & Haswell H. Pineo.
1835 – The first church services at St. Henry’s Catholic Church. (Now is Our Lady of The River Catholic Church).
1837 – Daniel Hire settled about 4 miles from the river and built the first wood frame House.
1838 – Benjamin Pike opened the first store in the township; Benjamin Doolittle built the very first ferry across the Wapsipincon River between Davenport and Camanche; Jonas Barber built the first mill; and Jacob Rose built the first distillery. The town was known as Elizabeth City and the area was Pinnacle Point.
1840 – F.F. Pike built the first store in town; both the Methodist and the Presbyterian churches began to hold services.
1841 - The first post office, with a Pinneo being appointed Postmaster.
1852 – The city of Princeton was laid out and recorded, and services started at “Old Brick” Salem Lutheran Church (now Zion Lutheran Church).
1857 – Princeton became incorporated in January of that year.
1858 – Samuel Porter was the first elected mayor for a population of 500. The census count has since gone much higher, and much lower. The city’s population in 2005 is 946.
1860 – The completion of the first rail service to Chicago.
1872 – The beginning of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Swan Lodge #234 and Rebekah, Echo Lodge #104.
1876 – The Ancient order of United Workmen, Andrew Lodge was founded.
1906 – The start of Princeton Camp of Woodmen of the World.
1908 – The beginning of the Home Guard Lodge #14.
1908 – Farmers Savings Bank.
1910 – The first newspaper, The Princeton Review was founded.
1922 – Henry “Heinie” Boll started the Boll’s store. It continued until 1997; run first by Heinie and later by his son Merlin. The building is now the Community Center.
Education of the area’s children started in a log cabin, moved to a converted barn and then, in 1866, to a stone building. Virgil Grissom Grade School open in 1966 and now takes care of our young people.
Princeton has always had strong ties to the mighty Mississippi River and can boast of good boating, hunting and fishing, especially where the Wapsipinicon meets the Mississippi. We also have some of the best birding areas in the whole state of Iowa.