Iowa Counties
Iowa County map
Click Image to Enlarge

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.

Calhoun County, Iowa

Calhoun County Education, Geography, and HistoryCalhoun County, Iowa Courthouse

Calhoun County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 9,670. Calhoun County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Rockwell City. The county is named in honor of John Caldwell Calhoun, the seventh vice president of the United States from 1825–1832.

Etymology - Origin of Calhoun County Name

Calhoun county is named for John Caldwell Calhoun, the seventh vice president of the United States.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Calhoun County History

In 1851, when the western half of Iowa organized, the name of Fox was given to the county. The Sac and Fox Indians had lived in the area, and, accordingly, the county west of Calhoun was named Sac in honor of the Indians. A friend of former U. S. Vice President John C. Calhoun did not like the name Fox, so the Iowa Legislature changed the name to Calhoun in 1853.

Before Calhoun County was organized, residents paid taxes to Greene County. They observed that very little revenue came back to make improvements in Calhoun County, so they took the necessary steps to organize in 1855, with a population of less than 100. Until a courthouse was built in Lake City in 1856, county business was conducted in the homes of the officials.

When the Illinois Central Railroad was built in 1870, the counties' northern towns of Manson and Pomeroy had grown and become rivals of Lake City for the county seat. In 1876, this came to a head and it was voted to put the courthouse as near the center of the county as possible. Rockwell City, platted on the only high ground within a one-mile radius of the center of the county, was founded and became the county seat.

The first courthouse in Rockwell City was completed for less than $2,000 and also served as a schoolhouse.

In 1880, town founder Mr. Rockwell learned that F. M. Hubbell was bringing his railroad as far as Jefferson. Rockwell went to Des Moines and promised Hubbell half of the town lots if he would bring the railroad to Rockwell City. The first train arrived August 7, 1882, and the population doubled that year.

Few people are aware that the early courthouse on the square wwas used for activities other than "holding court." The Calhoun County courthouse was used as an auditorium for public entertainment, political gatherings, and church dinners.

When the courthouse burned down in 1884, a hotel and another building were rented for $1 a day apiece to house county offices. The Board of Supervisors decided to build the new courthouse further away from the railroad, because when trains came through, all courthouse business at the old location was suspended because of the noise. A fourth courthouse was built in 1913.

During the turn of the century, drainage came to Calhoun County. Through digging of dredge ditches and laying of countless miles of clay drain tile, the county was lifted out of water and has now become one of the best and most productive agricultural counties in the state.

Compiled by Recorder Marty Minnick
Calhoun County History 1854-1982, Calhoun County Historical Society, Copyright 1982.
-Doug Jensen, Fort Dodge Messenger article 9/27/87
-Brief History of Calhoun County, adapted and extended by Ruby Pridemore,
-Who's Who in Iowa, 1940 "Calhoun County Historical Society"

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 572 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 570 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (0.4%) is water.

Calhoun county is located in west Iowa.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Pocahontas County
  • East: Webster County
  • Southeast: Greene County
  • Southwest: Carroll County
  • West: Sac County
  • Northwest: Buena Vista County


Compare More Colleges and Universities
Find the Right School

Find more schools to match to your needs.

County Resources
US Counties
Click Image to Enlarge