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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.

Woodbury County, Iowa

Woodbury County Education, Geography, and HistoryWoodbury County, Iowa Courthouse

Woodbury County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 102,172. Woodbury County was created on January 15, 1851. The county seat is Sioux City. The county is named in honor of Levi Woodbury (1789–1851), a governor of New Hampshire, United States Secretary of the Navy, United States Secretary of the Treasury, and Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Woodbury County is included in the Sioux City, IA-NE-SD Metropolitan Statistical Area

Etymology - Origin of Woodbury County Name

Woodbury county is named for Levi Woodbury, a governor of New Hampshire, United States Secretary of the Navy, United States Secretary of the Treasury, and Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Woodbury County History

The original name of Woodbury County was Floyd County, in honor of Sergeant Charles Floyd of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He died of an illness and was the first white man buried in Iowa. Floyd was then replaced by Wahkaw County when the county was established in 1851. The county was established in 1851 as one of 50 new counties organized by the Legislature. The first county seat of Wahkaw County was Thompsonville, a small village set up by the early settler William Thompson. It never really developed and the village eventually disappeared.

Woodbury County became the official name on January 12, 1853 in honor of Levi Woodbury, governor of New Hampshire, US senator and Secretary of Navy and Treasury.

In 1853 the Legislature chose the town of Sergeant's Bluff as the first county seat of Woodbury County. The county elections were then held in the home of William Thompson, 17 votes were cast, and the offices were kept in the homes of the officials.

In the spring of 1856 a vote was taken to relocate the county seat. Sioux City, which was platted in 1854, beat out the towns of Sergeant's Bluff and Sergeant's Bluff City.

In 1857 a contract was awarded for the construction of the first courthouse of Woodbury County, but for some reason the contract was canceled, and the county offices remained scattered.

Later in 1857 the county voted to authorize a $75,000 bond issue for a courthouse. The first courthouse of the county was completed in 1858 at cost of $70,000. It was three stories high and was constructed of brick.

This building was used until 1914, when it was decided that the population had outgrown it, and a new one was needed. The county approved more than $500,000 for the new courthouse and later decided to sell the old building and property. The cornerstone was laid on July 10, 1916, and the construction was completed on March 1, 1918. The building consists of Roman brick and granite and is beautifully decorated with sculptures over the doors and on the 157-foot-tall tower rising from the middle of the building. Around $400,000 was spent on the restoration of the building, and in 1973 the building was included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Source: County Board of Education, "Woodbury County Courthouse," 1964

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 878 square miles (2,270 km2), of which 873 square miles (2,260 km2) is land and 4.9 square miles (13 km2) (0.6%) is water.

 Woodbury county is located in west Iowa. The county is the third-largest county by area in Iowa.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: Cherokee County
  • East: Ida County
  • Southeast: Crawford County
  • South: Monona County
  • Southwest: Thurston County, Neb.
  • West: Dakota County, Neb.
  • Northwest: Union County, S.Dak.; Plymouth County


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