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.

Kossuth County, Iowa

Kossuth County Education, Geography, and HistoryKossuth County, Iowa Courthouse

Kossuth County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 15,543. Kossuth County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Algona. The county is named in honor of Lajos Kossuth, (1802–1894), Hungarian revolutionary who was inspired by American democratic ideals.

Etymology - Origin of Kossuth County Name

Kossuth county is named for Lajos Kossuth, the Hungarian patriot.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Kossuth County History

Kossuth is the largest county in Iowa in area and was named for the Hungarian patriot, Lajos Kossuth. Kossuth County was established in 1851 and originated in 1855. The first supervisors took office in 1861. There were three supervisors, one for each township in county at the time. In 1872, the county voted in favor of having a board of five supervisors, two to be elected at large. The present districting system was set up in 1900.

The present boundaries of the county were fixed by the legislature in 1857 by blotting Bancroft County out of existence and adding it to Kossuth County. In 1870, Crocker County was created on the ruins of old Bancroft County, but the Act was declared unconstitutional because the county did not contain 432 miles. Thus Crocker County passed out of existence, and its 12 townships were added to Kossuth County, reducing from 100 to 99 the number of counties in Iowa.

Until 1866, officials had only temporary quarters. The supervisors met in the county judge's office, and the treasurer and recorder were housed in a log addition to the old St. Nicholas hotel. Records were kept at home, or anywhere that was convenient.

The original courthouse was built in 1867 where the old jail is now located. A vote in 1871 approved construction of a new courthouse, which was built the next year. This courthouse served the county until 1953.

After getting approval for a new courthouse in 1947, thrifty supervisors decided to wait until the cost of material decreased before building. The Board invested the bonds in interest-bearing US war bonds and earned more than $43,000 by the time the new courthouse had been completed in 1955, for a total cost of $520,605.

All of Kossuth County was included in the Sioux Indian claim against the US government in connection with about 29 million acres of land ceded by Sioux treaties from 1805 to 1858. Settlement of the claims was reached during the summer of 1967, after 160 years of litigation.

Kossuth County boards have been continually plagued by water problems. On the flat land left by the glaciers there was little runoff. In the spring, large areas of the county were flooded. In the early days, there were many elections on whether and where to build bridges. The votes usually carried, and the county ran heavily in debt. As the years passed, the county established drainage districts to solve the flooding problem.

There have been several attempts to divide the county, but none ever succeeded, and Kossuth is still the largest county in area in the state.

Source: Karen Benschoter, Kossuth County Recorder, 2002

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 974 square miles (2,520 km2), of which 973 square miles (2,520 km2) is land and 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.

 Kossuth county is located in northwest Iowa. This is the largest county by area in Iowa. Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge is located in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Faribault County, Minn.; Winnebago County
  • Southeast: Hancock County; Wright County
  • South: Humboldt County
  • Southwest: Pocahontas County; Palo Alto County
  • Northwest: Emmet County; Martin County, Minn.


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