Atkins is a rapidly growing community of a little more than 1297 people, located just west of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, north of US Highway 30 on State Highway 279. Atkins residents have easy access to the Cedar Rapids Metro area, Iowa City, Waterloo/Cedar Falls, and are about two hours from Des Moines, Ames, and the Quad Cities.
Rapidly growing subdivisions on both the east and west sides of town are under development. A new soccer field and park are located on the south end of Atkins. To insure a progressive high quality of life, storm drainage, water, and sewer treatment facilities are being upgraded to keep pace with controlled expansion.
On January 1, 1855, the forty acres of land where the town of Atkins is now located was deeded to Levi Pangborn from the United States Government. The land was sold to several parties until January 21, 1882 when it was sold to the Milwaukee Land Company. They proceeded to survey and lay out the streets, avenues, and alleys. On February 13, 1882 the town was officially named Atkins, after one of the officials of the railroad. Lots were sold durng the 1880’s and 1890’s on both sides of Main Street and many businesses were established including eating and sleeping quarters for the railroad construction workers, a saloon, dance hall, and livery stable. In the 1890’s a carpenter business, a barber shop, and a pool hall were built among other businesses. The first bank (Atkins Savings Bank) was organized in 1894. Needed merchandise was shipped from Cedar Rapids by train or horse and wagon. Lots were also sold for homes and the first house built still stands today.
In 1882 the railroad came to Atkins and provided local freight and passenger service to Marion and Cedar Rapids. The local train stopped only twice a day in Atkins. in 1969, passenger service was halted by the railroad.
In 1915, the Milwaukee Road proceeded to build a new terminal plan that was to take the place of the division point at Marion. $880,000 was spent to change Atkins from a few scattered stores and houses to a business and farming center. The entire terminal covered an area of seventy-five acres.
Most buildings and all except two main tracks and four yard tracks on each side were removed in 1953. The last through freight train was on December 8, 1978. Local service was provided once a week until the railroad embargoed the line in March of 1980.
Kerosene lamps were in use in Atkins until 1920 when Atkins made arrangements to buy electricity from the Iowa Electric Light and Power Co. On August 22, 1938 the City Council voted unanimously to install a municipal water system. In 1966 a second well was drilled for an additional water supply to Atkins.
The first Atkins Town Council meeting was held May 17, 1917. A petition for Incorporation of the town of Atkins was filed with the District Court of Iowa on May 31, 1917.
Benton Community School District
Iowa State University Extension
Atkins City Hall, 446-7870
City Clerk, 446-7870
Atkins Post Office, 446-7272
Atkins Fire Dept., 446-7400
Atkins Public Library, 446-7676
Deptartment of Public Works, 446-7870
Atkins City Park-Pavilion Rental, 446-7676
Benton County Landfill, 454-6392
Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church, 446-7196
St. Paul’s Catholic Church-Newhall, 223-5576
St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 446-7675