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Iowa Counties
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Iowa Counties

There are ninety-nine 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.

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Union County, Iowa

Union County Education, Geography, and HistoryUnionCounty, Iowa Courthouse

Union County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 12,534. Union County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Creston. The county is named in honor of the union of the United States threatened by the American Civil War.

Etymology - Origin of Union County Name

Union county is named for the union of the United States threatened by the American Civil War.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Union County History

When Union County was formed, the struggle between the North and the South was at its height. When Iowa Legislators met the preservation of the Union was foremost in their minds, and thus the name of Union County was born.

The county was established in 1851. An election was held in Petersville on August 1, 1852, but it was not until February 15, 1855 that a county seat was selected. The site that was chosen was Afton. Two years later a two-story, frame courthouse was erected at a cost of $1,756. This building was also used as a church and a school.

The town of Highland challenged Afton for the county seat in an election. Afton remained the county seat, but by only 15 votes. Highland soon declined, and most of its buildings were moved to Afton.

Following this challenge the county constructed its second courthouse. This building was larger and more elaborate than the first. It was constructed of brick and was enhanced by a large cupola. O. J. King was the contractor of the $25,000 building.

The town of Creston had been established, along the railroad, and it was suggested that the county seat be moved. Creston had built a courthouse and offered it to the county. The smaller city of Afton had nothing to offer and so Creston, following an election, became the new county seat on November 25, 1890. The $22,000, two-story courthouse was used until 1951. At this time the city and county joined forces to erect a modern office building. This $300,000 structure is constructed of concrete and faced with limestone. It houses both the municipal and county offices.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 426 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 424 square miles (1,100 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.5%) is water.

Union county is located in southwest Iowa. The county land is rolling hills and Three Mile Lake and Twelve Mile Lake are located in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Madison County
  • East: Clarke County
  • Southeast: Decatur County
  • South: Ringgold County
  • Southwest: Taylor County
  • West: Adams County
  • Northwest: Adair County


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