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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.

Muscatine County, Iowa

Muscatine County Education, Geography, and HistoryMuscatine County, Iowa Courthouse

Muscatine County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 42,745. Muscatine County was created on December 7, 1836. The county seat is Muscatine. Muscatine county is named for either the Muscatine Native American tribe, the Native American word for prairie, or Muscatine Island in the Mississippi River.

Muscatine County comprises the Muscatine, IA Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Davenport-Moline, IA-IL Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Muscatine County Name

Muscatine county is named for either the Muscatine Native American tribe, the Native American word for prairie, or Muscatine Island in the Mississippi River.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Muscatine County History

Muscatine County came from the Indian word "prairie." Muscatine County was established in 1836 and organized on Jan. 8, 1837 with Bloomington (renamed Muscatine in 1849) named as the county seat. Bloomington's nickname was "Town of Pinch'em Silly." The name Muscatine is said to come from either an Indian tribe, the Indian word for prairie, or an island in the Mississippi River.

By an Act of Congress, any county could select a quarter section of government land for the county seat at a minimum price of $1.25 per acre. Muscatine County took the Southeast one-fourth of Sec. 35, T77, R2W; the courthouse now stands near the center of that area.

Using plans and specifications which cost $200, the Board of Commissioners, in 1840, began construction of a courthouse. The building was 50-foot x 60-foot, with a portico across the end, and it cost $15,000. The original courthouse was burned out in 1864 and rebuilt at a cost of $29,000. No records were lost in the fire, as far as can be determined.

The contract for the present courthouse was awarded by the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 26, 1907. Six pillars and a porch had to be removed from the old courthouse as there was only two feet separating the present courthouse and the original courthouse. The new courthouse was constructed at a cost of $150,000, of which approximately $15,000 was for electrical work. When it came time to move, some of the records were passed from the second floor of the old courthouse out the window to the new one. Court was first held in the new courthouse on June 9, 1909.

The first jail was ordered built in January 1839 on the Northwest corner of the public square. The "old" jail that stands across Fourth Street from the courthouse was built in 1857. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is the courthouse. The "old" jail was replaced in 1907 at a cost of $15,000 for the building and $6,000 for the steel cage and fittings. On November 6, 1990 an 8.5 million dollar bond issue was passed to fund the construction of a new jail on Walnut street west of the Courthouse and Old Jail. The new state of the art jail was dedicated July 5, 1996.

The cannon on wheels on the Southeast lawn of the courthouse is a Gunfield six-pounder, bronze, smoothbore, made in 1857 by the Cyrus Alger Co., Boston, Massachusetts. The mortars, mounted on cement pedestals on the Southwest lawn are Howitzer, siege 24-pounders, made in 1849 by the Cyrus Alger Co. They are pointed South . . . and not by accident! If you visit some older courthouses in the South you will find their cannons pointed in the direction of us Yankees!

Prior to World War II, the cannon on wheels was wheeled down to the riverfront each Fourth of July. The cannon was stuffed with wet newspapers instead of ammunition and fired as part of the annual celebration.

Source: Leslie Soule, Muscatine County Auditor

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 449 square miles (1,160 km2), of which 437 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (2.6%) is water.

Muscatine county is located in east Iowa. The southeastern border is formed by the Mississippi River. Gedney Lake is located in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Cedar County
  • Northeast: Scott County
  • East: Rock Island County, Ill.
  • Southwest: Louisa County
  • Northwest: Johnson County


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