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Pete Shugart

Pete Shugart was born in Princeton, Illinois, on January 8, 1865. He came to Iowa when he was eight years old. He was raised on a farm south of Nevada but eventually moved into town.

Mr. Shugart was married July 4, 1889, to Miss Edith Banks, daughter of a pioneer Story County family. Edith was born January 9, 1870. Edith’s father served as sheriff for twelve years. Three children were born to Pete and Edith, Eva (Shugart) Dresher, Thelma (Shugart) Connolly Campbell, and Charles A. Shugart.

Mr. Shugart’s career started as teamster, but it wasnot long until he was recognized as a major factor in railroad construction. His first contract was with the Chicago Northwestern when they put in double track across Iowa. He built 85 miles of the coast line of the Milwaukee Railroad west of the Missouri River in the summer of 1907 with over twelve hundred teams, of which he owned one hundred twenty-five teams (250 horses). From 1909 to 1913, he built 950 miles of railroad in the Dakotas, Kansas, and Iowa. He built hundreds of miles for the Milwaukee Railroad in the Dakotas. Among other contracts was the grading and building of roads for the army post at Fort Des Moines. He also built and owned the Savery Livery in Des Moines. One of his last contracts was on the Welland Canal in Canada. He worked on this project for several years.

In addition to his contracting business, he was also a landowner, farm operator, livestock feeder, and shipper. At one time, his holdings of Iowa land were exceedingly large. By 1911, he was the owner of 3,280 acres in Story County. He shipped about 1,000 head of horses and five hundred head of cattle each winter. In 1909, his sale of hogs amounted to over $20,000.

In 1914, Pete Shugart was hired to pave Lynn Street beginning at the Northwestern Depot. He was paid $1.51 per square yard. It was the first use of reinforced concrete in Iowa. Contractors came from throughout the state to observe his work.

The family home was at 404 I Avenue. Their first home at that location burned. The story about town was that of all the material possessions in the home to be saved, Edith, a true lover of fashionable hats, was in the upstairs window throwing out her cherished hats! The home was rebuilt of stucco and tile and is still recognized as of one of the stately homes in Nevada.

Mr. Shugart died on March 18, 1937. Funeral services were held at his home. He is buried in the Nevada Cemetery. Edith died January 16, 1963.