In 1979, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay rights in the case of Varnum v. Brien. The ruling declared that Iowa's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, making Iowa the third state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.
Howard County, located in the northeastern part of Iowa, has a rich history that dates back to the early 1800s. Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by Native American tribes, primarily the Winnebago and Dakota Sioux. The first recorded European exploration of the region occurred in the early 1830s, when fur traders began to navigate the Upper Iowa River.

In 1851, Howard County was officially organized and named in honor of General Tilghman A. Howard, a prominent American military figure. The county's early settlers were primarily of German, Irish, and Scandinavian descent. They were drawn to the area by the opportunities for agriculture and the presence of natural resources such as timber and limestone.

The county experienced rapid growth during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks to the construction of railroads and the expansion of farming. The arrival of the railroad in the late 1860s greatly facilitated transportation and trade, enabling the county to thrive. The county seat, Cresco, became a bustling center of commerce and industry.

Despite the challenges posed by the Great Depression and two World Wars, Howard County managed to survive and adapt. The agricultural sector remained the backbone of the local economy, with farmers continuing to rely on crops like corn and soybeans, as well as raising livestock. The county also saw growth in other industries such as manufacturing and healthcare, which further diversified its economy.

Today, Howard County stands as a vibrant community with a strong agricultural heritage. It has preserved its historical charm through the preservation of historic buildings and the organization of events that celebrate its past. The county continues to adapt to the changing times, embracing technology and innovation while maintaining its close-knit community spirit.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Howard County, Iowa.

  • 1851 - Howard County is established and named after General Tilghman Howard, a Union Army officer in the American Civil War.
  • 1854 - First settlers, mainly immigrants from Germany and Norway, arrive in Howard County.
  • 1857 - The first post office is established in the county.
  • 1858 - The first schoolhouse is built in the county.
  • 1861-1865 - Many residents of Howard County enlist in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
  • 1867 - The county seat is established in Cresco.
  • 1870 - The population of Howard County reaches over 5,000 residents.
  • 1881 - The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad is completed, providing transportation and boosting the county's economy.
  • 1913 - A devastating tornado hits the town of Cresco, causing significant damage and loss of life.
  • 1920s - The farming industry becomes more mechanized, leading to increased productivity and economic growth.
  • 1960s - The production of corn and soybeans becomes dominant in Howard County, leading to agricultural prosperity.
  • 1990 - The population of Howard County reaches its peak at over 10,000 residents.
  • 2010 - The population of Howard County declines to around 9,000 residents.