Postville, Iowa

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Postville is a city in Allamakee and Clayton Counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. It lies near the junction of four counties and at the intersection of U.S. Routes 18 and 52 and Iowa Highway 51, with airport facilities in the neighboring communities of Waukon, Decorah, Monona, and Prairie du Chien. The population was 2,273 at the 2000 census. The city is located in the southwestern corner of Allamakee County and the northwestern corner of Clayton County in a quad county or four corner region where four counties meet in the same spot. Winneshiek County is just to the west, and Fayette County is located just to the southwest of Postville.

Contents

History

The population of Postville was predominantly German and Norwegian for much of its existence. In 1987, a group of Hasidic Jews of the Lubavitch movement from New York purchased a non-Kosher slaughterhouse[1], refurbished it according to Hasidic Law and named the facility Agriprocessors, which filed for bankruptcy on November 5, 2008 following a series of alleged violations of labor law and repeated accusations of mistreatment of cattle. The facility was raided by the federal government in 2008, resulting in hundreds of arrests and disruption to the community.[2]

The interaction of long time Postville residents with newcomers was the subject of a book about the town, Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America (ISBN 0-15-100652-0), written by Stephen Bloom, a professor at the University of Iowa.

A more recent book about the community and its experience with diversity before and after the May 2008 federal immigration raid is Postville USA: Surviving Diversity in Small-Town America written by Mark Grey, Michele Devlin and Aaron Goldsmith. [2]

Postville was also the boyhood home of 1946 Nobel laureate John R. Mott.

Economy

Postville's growth during the last 15 years has been due to the presence of two large meat processing plants, Agriprocessors and Iowa Turkey Products. Agriprocessors, the kosher meat plant, is the largest of its type in the world, which as of February 2008 employed about 900 people and purchased $100 million worth of livestock annually. In May 2008, Agriprocessors was the target of a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid.[3] Subsequently, a criminal complaint was filed against Agriprocessors and its principal for alleged violations of child labor laws.[4]

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