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Iowa Counties
There are 99 Counties in Iowa. The first two counties, Des Moines County and Dubuque County, were created in 1834 when Iowa was still part of the Michigan Territory. In preparation for Michigan's statehood, part of Michigan Territory was formed into Wisconsin Territory in 1836]. Two years later, the western portion was split off to become Iowa Territory. The south-eastern part of Iowa Territory became Iowa, the 29th state in the union, on 28 December 1846, by which point 44 Counties had been created. Counties continued to be created by the state government until 1857, when the last county, Humboldt County, was created.

Tama County, Iowa

Tama County History, Geography, and Demographics

County Seat: Toledo
Year Organized: 1843
Square Miles: 721
Court House:

100 West High Street
County Courthouse
Toledo, IA 52342-1333

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Tama is named for any of several Native American chiefs or chief's wives, over which there is dispute.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

The origin of the naming of Tama County is somewhat disputed. Some authorities say the name comes from Taimah, a Fox Indian Chief. Others say it comes from Taomah, wife of Poweshiek--another Fox Indian Tribe Chief. Still others say the county is named after the Indian Chief Potama or Pottama.

The county was established in 1847 and originated in 1853. In the fall of 1853 various locations were being considered for a county seat. The county officials decided on the present county seat, Toledo. The first courthouse was completed in 1854 at a cost of $1,300. The two-story frame building was constructed by T. A. Graham. In 1866 this building was abandoned and sold.

At this time (1867) the county began its second courthouse. The building, which is still standing in Toledo, is constructed of brick on a stone foundation. The total cost of the building was $22,000, $5,000 of which was paid by the Toledo Court House Association. The three-day centennial celebration in 1946 was heralded as the largest in central Iowa. During this centennial year, James Poweshiek, the great-grandson of Chief Poweshiek, the original chief of the Sac and Fox Tribe, celebrated his 92nd birthday. He was at that time the oldest life-long resident of Tama County and the oldest Indian in Iowa.

There have been numerous attempts to replace the 100-year-old courthouse, but all have failed. In 1978, the courthouse's red brick exterior was sandblasted, the interior remodeled and the plumbing and wiring were replaced. Additional remodeling began in 2000 after moving the offices of Assessor, Auditor, Recorder, Supervisors and Treasurer into a new County Administration Building just north of the courthouse. The remodeled courthouse is now home to all court services including the County Attorney and juvenile probation offices. The 1914 courthouse clock will be restored to its original condition, with the help of community fundraising, in 2003.

Source: John Adams, Tama County Auditor, 2002

Neighboring Counties:

  • Northeast: Black Hawk County
  • East: Benton County
  • Southeast: Iowa County
  • South: Poweshiek County
  • Southwest: Jasper County
  • West: Marshall County
  • Northwest: Grundy County

Cities and Towns:

- Chelsea city Incorporated Area
- Clutier city Incorporated Area
- Dysart city Incorporated Area
- Elberon city Incorporated Area
- Garwin city Incorporated Area
- Gladbrook city Incorporated Area
- Lincoln city Incorporated Area
- Montour city Incorporated Area
- Tama city Incorporated Area
- Toledo (County Seat) city Incorporated Area
- Traer city Incorporated Area
- Vining city Incorporated Area

County Resources:

Enter County Resources and Information Here

County Resources
Counties: US Map
The history of our nation was a prolonged struggle to define the relative roles and powers of our governments: federal, state, and local. And the names given the counties, our most locally based jurisdictions, reflects the "characteristic features of this country!"