Historical Marker in
Butler County, Iowa

Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, but it wasn't until 1833 that the first permanent settlement was established in what is now the city of Burlington.
Butler County, Iowa, located in the northeastern part of the state, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Native American tribes, including the Ioway, Otoe, and Dakota Sioux, first inhabited the region. The area became part of the United States after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

The first European settlers arrived in present-day Butler County in the mid-19th century. The area saw a significant influx of settlers during the 1850s, with people primarily coming from the eastern United States and Europe. The establishment of the railroad in the 1860s further spurred growth and made transportation more accessible.

A significant event in Butler County's history is the formation of Butler Center, a communal religious society established in the 1860s. The community attracted settlers who believed in cooperative living and shared labor. Although the society disbanded after a few years, the establishment of Butler Center left a lasting impact on the county's history.

Throughout the years, agriculture played a crucial role in shaping Butler County's economy. The fertile soil allowed for successful farming, and crops like corn, soybeans, and livestock became important sources of income for residents. Today, Butler County continues to be an agricultural hub, supporting local farmers and agribusinesses.

As time progressed, infrastructure developed, schools were established, and towns like Clarksville, Greene, and Shell Rock grew. Butler County has been impacted by natural disasters, including floods and tornadoes, but the resilient community has always persevered and rebuilt.

Overall, Butler County's history is one of perseverance, growth, and agricultural prominence, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Butler County, Iowa.

  • 1851 - Butler County was organized and named after General William O. Butler.
  • 1853 - The first settlers, John Griffis and Elias Topliff, arrived in the area.
  • 1854 - The first schoolhouse was built in Madison Township.
  • 1856 - Clarksville was established as the first town in the county.
  • 1858 - The first courthouse was constructed in Butler Center, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1862.
  • 1864 - The county seat was moved to Clarksville.
  • 1869 - The first railroad, the Cedar Falls and Minnesota Railroad, was built through the county.
  • 1878 - A new courthouse was built in Allison, which became the new county seat.
  • 1929 - The Great Depression hit Butler County, causing significant economic challenges.
  • 1942-1945 - Many residents of Butler County served in World War II.
  • 1992 - The Iowa Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy designated Butler County as a "Drug Free Quality Community."
  • 2016 - Butler County celebrated its 165th anniversary.