The Burlington, Cedar Rapids, and Northern Railroad was built through this area in 1887 and the Sioux City and Northern Railroad, now the Santa Fe Great Northern, was built in 1889. It was evident that the area that these two railroads crossed would make a good town and a good shipping point. The City of Lester was platted by William and Mary Thomas on November 9, 1889. J.A. Hastings erected a building on the south side of the track and opened a general merchandise store. A post off was located in the general merchandise store and the town was named Hastings for several years Hastings was later changed to Lester after Lester B. Cleveland. Lester Cleveland was a 13-year-old boy who lived northwest of Lester and perished in the blizzard of January 12, 1888.
Along with the first resident, came the first churches. The Lester Methodist Church was established in 1890, the Apostolic Christian Church was built in 1892, and the Bethel Reformed Church was organized in 1916. These three churches are still very active and have recently constructed new facilities.
The first schoolhouse was built in 1892, and Lester was made a school district in 1895. An addition was made to the school building in 1902, which include a high school. The first accredited class graduated in 1923. A new school building was constructed in 1935. The Lester school building was closed in May 1967, when the West Lyon School District was formed. The district includes the towns of Lester, Inwood, Larchwood, and Alvord.
The Village of Lester thrived with many businesses starting up. Lester was blessed with good farmland, and the area supported livestock and grain production.
Today Lester has a very active main street, and is proud of a prosperous bread dough factory, active elevators, a locally owned bank, a convenience store, cafe/lounge, and a post office. There are several trucking firms, auto and truck repair shops, plumbers, electricians, contractors, and farm service businesses.