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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.

Franklin County, Iowa

Franklin County Education, Geography, and HistoryFranklin County, Iowa Courthouse

Franklin County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 10,680. The county was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Hampton. Franklin county is named after Benjamin Franklin.

Etymology - Origin of Franklin County Name

Franklin county is named for Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Father, printer, scientist, and statesman.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Franklin County History

Franklin County, established in 1851 and organized on August 5, 1855, is named in honor of the American statesman, scientist, and philosopher Benjamin Franklin.

The first county seat of Franklin County was Jefferson. This site was not suitable to most county residents, so, by order of election, it was moved to Benjamin in 1856. It was later renamed Hampton, in honor of Hampton Roads, Virginia. Other county seat battles continued, mostly from Maysville, but by April 1862, they had all but died out.

The first courthouse was built in Hampton by F. A. Denton. It was located on the Hampton square and officially dedicated on July 4, 1857. This building was made up of native lumber and resembled a one-room school house of that era. It was used by the county until 1866 when it was moved and used as a dwelling.

A second courthouse was built in 1866 at the same location. This building was contracted for $12,000, but the final cost greatly exceeded it. This large structure was made of stone and timber. It was 48-foot x 70-foot, two stories in height and capped by a cupola. This building was used by the county and community for nearly 23 years. It was finally condemned and torn down in 1889.

The county records were moved to the school until the third and present courthouse was completed in 1891. Original cost of the building was $60,000. This courthouse measures 76-foot x 102-foot, nearly twice the size of the previous one. The stone and brick structure has a large dome that contains a clock with faces for all four sides.

This building underwent serious renovation in 1975-76 at a cost of $825,000. These renovations consisted of modernization of the electrical and mechanical systems, installation of a third floor and elevator, and general repairs. This building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Franklin County is the home of Beed's Lake State Park. The lake is near the site of the sawmill built to aid the settlers with their building. The mill was changed to a flour mill and served the farmers by buying their wheat. However, the farmers weren't interested in growing wheat, and when they changed to growing corn, the mill was no longer needed. The area remained as a picnic and recreation area and was developed by the Civilian Conservation Commission.

The first Rural Electrification administration plant was built in Franklin County. The building, which is now owned by the Franklin County Historical Society is located southwest of Hampton.

- Arlene Maifeld, Franklin County Recorder
- Foster, J.E. Franklin County History, Franklin County Historical Society 1970

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 583 square miles (1,510 km2), of which 582 square miles (1,510 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) (0.09%) is water.

Franklin county is located close to the center of Iowa. Rolling Prairie Trail is located in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Cerro Gordo County (north)
  • Butler County (east)
  • Hardin County (south)
  • Wright County (west)


There are four high schools in Franklin County. The Hampton-Dumont Community School District is a P/K-12 school system located in Hampton and serving the communities of Hampton, Dumont, Aredale, and Hansell. Hampton-Dumont has a K-12 enrollment of 1,194. The West Fork Community Schools are made up of a whole grade sharing agreement between SCMT and Rockwell-Swaledale. West Fork serves the communities of Sheffield, Chapin, Meservey, Thornton, Rockwell, and Swaledale and has a combined enrollment of 764 between the two districts. The AGWSR Community School District serves the communities of Ackley, Geneva, Wellsburg, and Steamboat Rock and has a K-12 enrollment of 654 students. The CAL Community School District, located just south of Latimer, serves the communities of Coulter, Alexander, and Latimer and has a K-12 enrollment of 274 students.

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