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The famous explorers Lewis and Clark passed through Iowa in 1804 on their journey to the Pacific Ocean, but they didn't actually set foot on Iowa soil. The expedition traveled along the western border of Iowa, which was then part of the Missouri Territory.
Cherokee County, Iowa, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlement, the area was home to several Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, Sioux, and Ioway. These tribes lived off the land, hunting, fishing, and growing crops such as corn and beans.

In the early 19th century, European settlers began to arrive in the area. The first permanent settlement was established in 1856 near the present-day town of Cherokee. The town grew rapidly with the opening of the railroad in the 1870s, which brought prosperity and commerce to the area.

The discovery of coal and the building of the railroad led to a boom in the county's economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The towns of Cleghorn, Meriden, and Aurelia were established as mining communities, attracting workers from all over the country. However, as the coal industry declined, so did the population of these towns.

Today, Cherokee County is a thriving agricultural community with a diverse economy. Farming, manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism are some of the main sources of employment. The county is also known for its natural beauty, with several parks, lakes, and recreational areas offering opportunities for outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hiking. Cherokee County continues to preserve and celebrate its history while embracing the opportunities of the 21st century.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Cherokee County, Iowa.

  • 1851: Cherokee County is established as part of the Iowa territory.
  • 1856: The first permanent settlers arrive in the county.
  • 1857: The town of Cherokee is founded and becomes the county seat.
  • 1862: The Dakota War leads to increased tensions between settlers and Native Americans.
  • 1869: The railroad reaches Cherokee, stimulating economic growth in the area.
  • 1874: The town of Marcus is incorporated.
  • 1887: Cherokee County obtains its first newspaper, the Cherokee Sentinel.
  • 1914: The construction of the Meriden dam is completed, providing hydroelectric power.
  • 1933: The Civilian Conservation Corps establishes the Silver Sioux Recreation Area.
  • 1960s: The county experiences a decline in population due to changes in agriculture and farming practices.
  • 2005: Cherokee County celebrates its 150th anniversary.