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.

Winnebago County, Iowa

Winnebago County Education, Geography, and HistoryWinnebago County, Iowa Courthouse

Winnebago County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 10,866. Winnebago County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Forest City. The county is named in honor of the Winnebago Native American tribe.

Etymology - Origin of Winnebago County Name

Winnebago county is named for the Winnebago Native American tribe.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Winnebago County History

Winnebago County was named in honor of the Winnebago Indian tribe that resided in the area. The term Winnebago means "Men of the Bad Smelling Waters," or "People of Stinking Water."

The county was established in 1851. The earliest white settler of Winnebago County was George W. Thomas in 1855. The county was organized in the fall of 1857, the following being the first officers elected: Robert Clark, county judge; C.H. Day, treasurer and recorder; B.F. Denslow, clerk of courts; John S. Blowers, sheriff; and C.W. Scott, superintendent of schools and surveyor.

The first and only county seat of Winnebago County is Forest City. Forest City, which was platted by Robert Clark in 1856, was named after the abundance of timber found there.

The first courthouse was a two-room log cabin that was located on the courthouse square. In 1860 a petition was circulated calling for a more appropriate building. Soon after, $20,000 in bonds was sold for the construction of this building. After the construction had begun, the conservative members of the board opposed such an expensive building. Consequently, a less expensive, two-story soft brick building was constructed. This building, like the previous building, was located on the courthouse square. A frame addition was completed in 1877.

This courthouse was torn down and replaced in 1896. Architects Kinney & Orth and contractor F. A. Gross constructed a Romanesque style building made of red brick and trimmed with stone. The building was completed on January 6, 1897, at a cost of $20,496.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 402 square miles (1,040 km2), of which 400 square miles (1,000 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (0.3%) is water.

 Winnebago county is located in north Iowa. This is the fifth-smallest county in Iowa by land area and second-smallest by total area.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Freeborn County, Minn.
  • East: Worth County
  • Southeast: Cerro Gordo County
  • South: Hancock County
  • Southwest: Kossuth County
  • Northwest: Faribault County, Minn.


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