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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.

Cass County, Iowa

Cass County Education, Geography, and HistoryCass County, Iowa Courthouse

Cass County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 13,956. Cass County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Atlantic. The county is named to honor Lewis Cass, who was the 1848 Democratic nominee for President.

Etymology - Origin of Cass County Name

Cass county is named for Lewis Cass, a senator and presidential candidate from Michigan.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Cass County History

The county is named in honor of Lewis Cass, a Michigan senator and a unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1848. The county was established within its present boundaries in 1851 and originated in 1853.

Religious persecution was responsible for bringing the first white men to Cass County. The Mormons, fleeing from Illinois, were the earliest settlers, and established a community at Indiantown in 1846.

At Indiantown, two of the three commissioners selected to locate a county seat were chosen. The site they chose was one mile from Indian Town and named Lewis. Most of the people and businesses in Indian Town moved to Lewis shortly after it was laid out. In 1856 a frame courthouse was built, and eight years later a small stone building was completed for the county treasurer's office.

In 1857 there was an attempt to relocate the county seat to Grove City, it was unsuccessful. On October 20, 1869, after a due canvass of the vote on the re-location of the county seat, the Board declared the city of Atlantic the seat of county government and ordered the county officers to that place.

In 1872 the first courthouse built in Atlantic was completed. Until it was completed county offices were held in various empty buildings.

Ten years later the county built its second courthouse at Atlantic. The $65,000 building was destroyed by a fire in 1932. The fire started in the clock tower and gutted all of the second floor. Most of the county records and equipment were saved.

The present, fourth, courthouse was completed in 1934. While that was being built, county offices were located in the Atlantic Motors building, where an attempted robbery of the treasurer's safe took place. The robbers were interrupted and escaped, but without any money.

The final cost of the fourth courthouse was $130,000: $65,000 came from a county bond issue, $46,500 from insurance and the remaining was covered by a P.W.A. federal grant. The concrete and brick building is three stories high. It was dedicated on December 26, 1934, with the main speaker being the Governor of Iowa, Clyde L. Herring.

The Board of Supervisors approved a new jail addition, which was dedicated in 1984.

Source: Joyce Jensen, Cass County Recorder

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 565 square miles (1,460 km2), of which 564 square miles (1,460 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (0.1%) is water.

Cass county is located in southwest Iowa.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Audubon County
  • Northeast: Guthrie County
  • East: Adair County
  • Southeast: Adams County
  • Southwest: Montgomery County
  • West: Pottawattamie County
  • Northwest: Shelby County


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