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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.

Audubon County, Iowa

Audubon County Education, Geography, and HistoryAudubon County, Iowa Courthouse

Audubon County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 6,119. Audubon County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Audubon. The county was named after John James Audubon, the noted naturalist and artist.

Etymology - Origin of Audubon County Name

Audubon is named for John James Audubon, the famous naturalist and painter. (Unique county name)


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Audubon County History

John James Audubon, famous American naturalist and artist, died in 1855. Admirers of his were influential enough to get this newly formed county named in his honor. The county was established in 1851 and originated in 1855.

The history of the county is filled with conflicts and battles, most over the center of county government. The conflict begins with the first site of county business. One report has the first location of county government in a log schoolhouse at Hamlin's Grove. A second report has it at Dayton until 1856, when people realized that Dayton would never become a town. The following year there was a proposal to move the county seat to Viola (now called Exira). It failed, but on its second attempt, in 1861, it was approved and the county seat was now located in Viola.

Fierce battles continued between Exira, Oakfield and Louisville, but the county seat remained at Exira. In the fall of 1871, the Board of Supervisors approved $6,948 for the construction of the first courthouse at Exira. This plan was stopped by yet another county seat battle - this one coming from Hamlin. The residents of Hamlin wanted the county seat back in their town. A heated contest developed between the towns. From 1872-1873, petitioners were out in force gathering signatures from all over the county. The last 24 hours they were out all night. In the end, Exira retained the county seat. Following this the citizens of Exira formed the Exira Hall Company and built the courthouse at a cost of $2,200.

This is not the end of the county seat battles in Audubon County. In 1878 the Rock Island Railroad built a branch from Atlantic to their newly formed town of Audubon. There they built a courthouse and offered it free to the county, if they moved the county seat to Audubon. An election was held to decide the location of the county seat. The Rock Island Railroad offered free room and board for men 60 days prior to the election and there "any man could vote for Audubon, no questions asked." The men of Exira were apparently no better. Groups of them, some carrying loaded revolvers, hung around the election centers "challenging" votes. In the end Audubon was declared the new county seat. To this day it is said that residents of Exira are still harbor bitter feelings towards Audubon.

In 1938 the Board of Supervisors applied for a Public Works Administration grant for the construction of a new courthouse. The estimated cost of the project was $131,775 and the grant was approved for 45 percent of this. A bond issue was approved to fund the remaining 55 percent. By the winter of 1939, county officials began to move into the new courthouse and the dedication ceremony was held on June 11, 1940.

Source: History of Audubon County, compiled by Lois Oakley, Audubon County Recorder, Audubon, Iowa. 1990.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 443 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 443 square miles (1,150 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (0.1%) is water.

Audubon county is located in west Iowa.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Carroll County
  • East: Guthrie County
  • Southeast: Adair County
  • South: Cass County
  • West: Shelby County
  • Northwest: Crawford County


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