Historical Markers in
Hancock County, Iowa

The Field of Dreams movie site, located near Dyersville, Iowa, attracts thousands of visitors each year. The site includes the baseball field used in the movie, as well as a gift shop and museum. The movie, starring Kevin Costner, was released in 1989 and has since become a beloved classic.
Hancock County, Iowa, located in the north-central region of the state, has a rich and diverse history dating back to the early 1800s. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Dakota Sioux and the Sac and Fox, who relied on the fertile land and abundant natural resources for their livelihoods. European settlement began in the 1850s, with the establishment of several small communities along the Iowa River.

The county was officially organized in 1857 and named after John Hancock, a prominent figure in the American Revolution. Agriculture quickly became the dominant industry in Hancock County, with settlers cultivating crops like corn, wheat, and oats. The construction of railroads in the late 19th century further spurred economic growth, allowing for efficient transportation of goods to larger markets.

Hancock County played a significant role in the development of the agricultural industry in the Midwest. The region became known for its high-quality farmland, leading to the establishment of numerous dairy farms, hog farms, and grain elevators. The county also became a major producer of livestock, particularly cattle and hogs. This agricultural prosperity contributed to the growth of towns and villages within the county, such as Garner and Britt, which continue to be important economic and cultural centers today.

In more recent years, Hancock County has faced challenges associated with a changing rural landscape. Despite this, the county remains a vibrant community that values its agricultural heritage. Today, Hancock County is known for its strong sense of community and its commitment to preserving its past while embracing the opportunities of the future.

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

  • 1847 - Hancock County is established on January 15 as one of the original 27 counties of the Iowa Territory.
  • 1851 - The first permanent settlement, Augusta, is established by pioneers from Illinois.
  • 1856 - The county seat is established in the city of Garner.
  • 1860 - The population of Hancock County reaches 2,731.
  • 1861 - The American Civil War begins, and a significant number of men from Hancock County join the Union Army.
  • 1875 - The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad reach Hancock County, boosting economic development.
  • 1883 - The population of the county peaks at 11,422 people.
  • 1918 - A deadly influenza pandemic, known as the Spanish flu, affects Hancock County and the rest of the world.
  • 1933 - The Great Depression impacts the county, causing economic hardships for many residents.
  • 1973 - The Titan II Missile Silo near Britt is deactivated as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreement between the US and the Soviet Union.
  • 2008 - A wind farm is established in Hancock County, contributing to renewable energy production in the area.
  • 2020 - The population of Hancock County is approximately 10,711 people.