Historical Marker in
Grundy County, Iowa

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.
Grundy County, Iowa has a rich and diverse history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Sauk and Meskwaki peoples, who lived off the land and traded with European settlers. The first European settlement in Grundy County was established in 1851, with the town of Elkport serving as the county seat.

The early settlers of Grundy County were primarily pioneers and farmers, attracted to the area by its fertile soil and abundant natural resources. They quickly established thriving communities, with townships like Beaman, Dike, and Morrison springing up across the county. The county's economy was largely based on agriculture, with crops like corn and soybeans being the mainstay of the farming industry.

Grundy County played an important role in the development of the railroad system in Iowa. In the late 19th century, the county became a hub for several major railroad lines, including the Chicago and North Western Railway and the Illinois Central Railroad. These railways facilitated the transport of goods and people, and contributed to the growth of towns and industries in Grundy County.

Over the years, Grundy County has seen its fair share of challenges and triumphs. From weather disasters like tornadoes and floods to economic ups and downs, the county has persevered and continues to thrive. Today, Grundy County is known for its strong community spirit, beautiful natural landscapes, and rich agricultural heritage.

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

  • 1851: Grundy County was established on January 15th.
  • 1852: The first settlement, called "Dutchend," was established near the future town of Morrison.
  • 1853: Grundy Center was founded as the county seat and became an official town.
  • 1854: The county's first school, called the Twin Grove School, was built.
  • 1860: The population of Grundy County reached 1,693 people.
  • 1863: A courthouse was built in Grundy Center.
  • 1875: The first newspaper in the county, the Grundy County Reflector, began publication.
  • 1884: The Chicago Great Western Railway reached Grundy County, boosting transportation and trade.
  • 1918-1919: The Spanish influenza pandemic affected Grundy County, causing illness and deaths.
  • 1934: Grundy County Memorial Hospital was founded.
  • 1949: The Grundy County Heritage Museum was established to preserve local history and artifacts.
  • 1957: The Grundy County Fairgrounds were built near Grundy Center.
  • 2008: The Wells-Bower Post No. 351 American Legion Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.