During World War II, Iowa was home to several prisoner of war camps, where German soldiers were held captive. The largest of these camps was located in Algona, Iowa, and housed more than 10,000 prisoners at its peak.
Emmet County, Iowa has a rich history that spans back thousands of years. The area was initially inhabited by various indigenous tribes, including the Sauk, Fox, and Dakota Sioux. European settlers began to arrive in the mid-19th century, with the first permanent white settlement established in 1856. The county was officially organized in 1859 and named after the famous Irish nationalist Robert Emmet.

The early days of Emmet County were marked by the growth of agriculture and the development of trading posts and stagecoach routes. With the completion of the Des Moines and Northwestern Railroad in the 1880s, the county experienced a significant economic boom. Farms expanded, and new businesses, banks, and schools were established in towns like Estherville, Armstrong, and Gruver.

Emmet County also played a role in early aviation history. In 1918, the U.S. government selected the town of Estherville as the site for one of several flying training schools during World War I. The Estherville Aviation Ground School, which trained pilots and mechanics, operated until the end of the war. This period saw the rise of aviation as an industry and contributed to the county's ongoing economic development.

In the modern era, Emmet County continues to be a thriving community with a diverse economy. Agriculture remains an essential part of the county's identity, with corn, soybeans, and livestock farming being the primary industries. The area is also known for its recreational opportunities, including fishing and boating on the nearby Iowa Great Lakes. Overall, Emmet County's history is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of its residents, who have shaped the area into the thriving community it is today.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Emmet County, Iowa.

  • 1851 - Emmet County is established.
  • 1859 - The first settlers arrive in the county.
  • 1861 - The town of Estherville is founded.
  • 1870 - The railroad reaches Estherville, bringing economic growth.
  • 1891 - The town of Dolliver is incorporated.
  • 1900 - The population of Emmet County reaches its peak at over 12,000.
  • 1918 - The influenza epidemic hits the county, causing severe illness and death.
  • 1942 - The county fairgrounds are established in Estherville.
  • 1979 - The Iowa Lakes Community College is founded.
  • 1985 - The Estherville Wind Farm is constructed, becoming a prominent feature in the county.
  • 2008 - The Historic Fort Defiance Park is opened to the public.