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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.

Bremer County, Iowa

Bremer County Education, Geography, and HistoryBremer County, Iowa Courthouse

Bremer County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 24,276. Bremer County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Waverly. The county was named for Fredrika Bremer, a Swedish traveler, poet, and author.

Bremer County is included in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area

Etymology - Origin of Bremer County Name

Bremer County is named for Fredricka Bremer, a Swedish novelist. (Unique county name)


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

BremerCounty History

The first white man came to Bremer County in 1845 and settled about two miles southwest of Denver. At that time this area was an Indian reservation belonging to the Winnebagoes, numbering about 300. Later the Reservation was purchased by the government, and the Indians were moved to the Crow River area of Minnesota, about 150 miles north of St. Paul.

Bremer County had been named in 1851 by Governor Hempstead, who was an admirer of the Swedish authoress, Fredricka Bremer. Bremer County is thought to be the only Iowa county named after a person eminent in literature.

Townships were named for famous people also: Washington, Jefferson, Jackson and Polk for four of our presidents; Fremont and Douglas for candidates for president; Dayton for a presidential running mate in 1856; Lafayette and Warren for two famous soldiers of the Revolution; Fredricka for Fredricka Bremer; Maxfield for Judge Maxfield; and Sumner for Charles Sumner, a senator of the Civil War period.

Waverly was first settled in 1850, and it soon grew to importance due to its waterpower that was used by the flour and saw mills. On January 24, 1853 Waverly was chosen as the county seat, and, unlike numerous counties the county seat has remained unchanged. Waverly was selected because of its growth, commercial position and railroad facilities.

Bremer County was permanently organized in August 1853 with the election of county officers.

The first courthouse was erected one year later by Richard Miles at a cost of $147.50. The small frame building was used for only three years, and then it was replaced by a brick and stone two-story structure that cost the county $23,000 to complete. None of the materials used in its construction - brick, stone and lumber - were from outside of the county. This 43-foot x 63-foot building was dedicated on January 1, 1858 at a grand ball and reception that was held in the new building.

This second courthouse contained no vaults for the safekeeping of county records, so in the summer of 1870 a small brick building was constructed adjacent to the courthouse. The $5,000 building was used to house all of the county records.

These two buildings were torn down in 1937 in order to make room for the third and present courthouse. The county used a W.P.A. grant of more than $60,000 to construct a $139,000 courthouse. Several bands were on hand to celebrate the dedication and open house of the courthouse on June 10, 1937.

On July 2, 1975, a joint law enforcement building was erected to be shared by Waverly Police and Bremer County Sheriff Department. At this time the Sheriff's housing quarters, office and jail were removed from the courthouse building.

In 2003 Bremer County will be celebrating it's 150th year from the election of county officers. The courthouse is in the process of going through a renovation project and will be completed by 2003.

1965 Bremer County Atlas
Kathy Thoms, Bremer County Director of Finance & Management, 2002

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 439 square miles (1,140 km2), of which 435 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 3.9 square miles (10 km2) (0.9%) is water.

 Bremer county is located in northeast Iowa. The county is crossed by the Cedar and Wapsipinicon rivers.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Chickasaw County
  • East: Fayette County
  • Southeast: Buchanan County
  • South: Black Hawk County
  • West: Butler County
  • Northwest: Floyd County


Wartburg College is located in Waverly.

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