In the mid-1800s, Iowa was a major hub for the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved African Americans to escape to freedom in the North.
Floyd County, Iowa has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The first inhabitants of the area were Native American tribes, including the Ho-Chunk, Meskwaki, and Dakota Sioux. They lived off the land, hunting and fishing along the Cedar River that flows through the county.

European settlement began in the early 1850s, with pioneers attracted to the fertile soil and abundant natural resources. The county was named after Sergeant Charles Floyd, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who died near present-day Sioux City, Iowa. The first permanent settlement in Floyd County was established in 1853, with a town called Rockford.

The development of Floyd County was greatly influenced by the railroad, which reached the area in the 1860s. Towns sprang up along the railroad lines, including Charles City, the county seat. Agriculture became the backbone of the local economy, with farmers growing corn, soybeans, and raising livestock. The county also had a bustling timber industry, with forests providing valuable lumber for construction and fuel.

Over the years, Floyd County has experienced ups and downs. The county suffered during the Great Depression, but like many rural areas, it thrived during the post-World War II era when mechanization and technological advancements improved farming productivity. Today, Floyd County continues to be an agricultural hub, with a growing focus on renewable energy, tourism, and cultural attractions. The county is proud of its history and works to preserve its heritage through various museums and historical society efforts.

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

  • Floyd County is established on January 15, 1851
  • The county is named after Sergeant Charles Floyd, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who died in the area in 1804
  • The first settlers arrive in the county in the early 1850s
  • In 1856, Charles City becomes the county seat
  • The first courthouse is built in Charles City in 1857
  • Floyd County experiences rapid growth in the late 19th century with the expansion of railroads and agricultural development
  • In 1903, the Great Western Railroad is completed through Floyd County, providing a boost to the local economy
  • In the early 20th century, Charles City becomes known for its manufacturing industries, including farm machinery and autos
  • Floyd County suffers during the Great Depression, but recovers with the arrival of World War II, with the establishment of Camp Cattle, a prisoner of war camp
  • In the 1950s, the county experiences significant growth in industry and population
  • Throughout the late 20th century, Floyd County continues to evolve and adapt to changing economic and social conditions