The town of Fort Atkinson, Iowa was established in 1840 as a military outpost to protect the Winnebago Indians from hostile neighboring tribes. It was the first military post west of the Mississippi River.
Cerro Gordo County is located in northern Iowa and has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. The area was originally occupied by Native American tribes, particularly the Winnebago, Sioux, and Ojibwe peoples, who utilized the natural resources and waterways for hunting and trade.

In the mid-19th century, European settlers began to arrive in the region, attracted by the fertile land and prospects for farming. The county was officially established in 1851 and named after the Battle of Cerro Gordo in the Mexican-American War. The county seat was initially located in Mason City, which quickly grew into a bustling hub for trade and transportation.

The discovery of limestone and gypsum deposits in Cerro Gordo County in the late 19th century further accelerated its growth. The mining industry boomed, attracting a wave of immigrants, primarily from Europe, who sought work in the quarries. The extraction of these minerals not only transformed the landscape but also brought economic prosperity to the county.

Over the years, Cerro Gordo County continued to develop both agriculturally and industrially. The introduction of the railroad in the late 19th century facilitated the transportation of goods and accelerated commerce in the area. Today, the county remains a vital agricultural hub, with corn, soybeans, and livestock as its main industries. Additionally, tourism has flourished as visitors are drawn to the numerous recreational opportunities, historical sites, and cultural events that Cerro Gordo County offers.

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

  • 1851: Cerro Gordo County is organized
  • 1854: Mason City is established as the county seat
  • 1857: First courthouse is completed
  • 1858: First school in Mason City is built
  • 1861-1865: Cerro Gordo County participates in the American Civil War
  • 1866: First railroad reaches Mason City
  • 1868: Frank Lloyd Wright, famous architect, is born in Richland Center, WI
  • 1889: The Mason City Globe Gazette newspaper is established
  • 1912: Music Man Square is built and opened to the public
  • 1932: The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake is constructed
  • 1968: The Buddy Holly plane crash occurs near Clear Lake
  • 2008: Historic Park Inn Hotel in Mason City reopens after restoration