Woden was first called Bingham and then Ripley. The post office turned down both names for their similarity to those of other towns. The name Woden was said to have been chosen because their was so much noise caused by the dynamiting of the railroad that it sounded like war. Woden (sometimes seen as Odin) means Norse war god and was a name the post office approved of.
The plat of the village was first filed in December of 1898 and the town of Woden was legally incorporated in the year 1904. That it grew was largely due to the fact that the Klondike railroad traveled from Garner to Titonka and Woden was along the way. It was one of the best trade centers in Hancock County. By 1907 Woden had the following:
3 elevators,a creamery,3 general stores, 2 hardware stores, a drug store, a meat market, a livery stable, 2 churches, a public school, a blacksmith, a pool hall, a barber shop,a printing office, a shoe shop, a hotel, a restaraunt, and a cream station. At this time the town had a population of 200. A noteworthy improvement at the time, the town was one of few to have cement sidewalks lining Main Street.
There were many changes and memorable events to follow. A few of these were:
1911- Fire destroys many buildings on Main St.
1921- Electricity comes to town
1926- Graveled Roads
1935- Lighted ball park
1936- Worst winter in 117 years
1946- Highway 111 laid (peat bulge interrupted progress)
1948- Water works
1949- Woden’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
1951- Fire Station with shelter house
1960- Addition to the School
1964- Telephone System was converted to Dial
1974- Woden’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration
1999- Woden’s Centennial Celebration
For more information on the history of Woden look to “The Birth and Growth of Woden,” or the Centennial book, “Woden, Iowa – Our First 100 Years.”