Iowa Counties
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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.

Washington County, Iowa

Washington County Education, Geography, and HistoryWashington County, Iowa Courthouse

Washington County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 21,704. Washington County was created on January 18, 1838. The county seat is Washington. The county is named in honor of George Washington (1732–1799), the first President of the United States.

Washington County is included in the Iowa, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area

Etymology - Origin of Washington County Name

Washington county is named for George Washington, the first president of the United States


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Washington County History

Washington County was originally named Slaughter County, after William B. Slaughter, secretary of the Territory of Wisconsin. Residents of the county did not like the sound of Slaughter and therefore changed the name to Washington, in honor of George Washington, 1st president of the United States. The county was established and originated in 1839.

The first county seat was located at Astoria. The only building present in the town was an unfinished log cabin that served as the courthouse. Locating commissioners were appointed to locate a county seat that would be suitable for present day, as well as future, county business. The town of Washington was chosen in the summer of 1839. A temporary courthouse, which lasted eight years, was erected at a cost of $759. It was two stories high, with native oak and walnut used in its construction.

A second courthouse was begun in February 1845 and completed in July 1847. It was a small brick building, complete with a center spire. This building was in use until 1868, when it was deemed unsafe and torn down. The county business was then conducted in the Everson's Opera House until the third courthouse was finished in 1887.

This third courthouse cost a total of $75,000 to construct and furnish. It is constructed of pressed brick for the walls and stone for the large basement. It has granite columns and stone for trim, both of which came from Ohio. The courthouse also contains a large 181-foot tower, complete with the former Washington Academy clock. Over the years this clock became worn down and unreliable for the time. The Washington County Historical Society raised the needed funds, with the help of the Carlton "Tug" Wilson estate, to refurbish this 100-plus-year-old monument.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 571 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 569 square miles (1,470 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (0.4%) is water.

Washington county is located in southeast Iowa. The major waterways through Washington County are the Skunk and English Rivers and the Crooked Creek.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Johnson County
  • Southeast: Louisa County; Henry County
  • Southwest: Jefferson County
  • West: Keokuk County
  • Northwest: Iowa County


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