Historical Marker in
Humboldt County, Iowa

The famous explorers Lewis and Clark passed through Iowa in 1804 on their journey to the Pacific Ocean, but they didn't actually set foot on Iowa soil. The expedition traveled along the western border of Iowa, which was then part of the Missouri Territory.

Humboldt County, Iowa, located in the north-central part of the state, has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1857. The county was named after the famous explorer Alexander von Humboldt and was initially a part of Webster County. However, in 1859, it became a separate county with Dakota City as its county seat.

The early years of Humboldt County saw the settlement of pioneers, mainly of Scandinavian and German descent, attracted to the fertile lands and abundant natural resources in the area. Agriculture played a significant role in the county's development, with the establishment of farms, orchards, and livestock operations. The arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s further boosted the county's growth, facilitating transportation and trade.

Over the years, Humboldt County experienced both periods of prosperity and challenges. The county suffered from the impacts of the Great Depression in the 1930s, leading to economic struggles for many residents. However, the construction of highways and improved infrastructure in the mid-20th century helped rejuvenate the county's economy.

Today, Humboldt County is a vibrant community with a combination of agriculture, manufacturing, and other small businesses. It is known for its quality of life, with ample outdoor recreational opportunities and a strong sense of community. The county continues to celebrate its heritage through various annual events and the preservation of historical sites, ensuring that its rich history remains an integral part of its future.

  • 1851 - Humboldt County is established as one of Iowa's original counties.
  • 1859 - The first post office is founded in what is now Humboldt.
  • 1863 - The county seat is established in Dakota City.
  • 1864 - The first newspaper, called the "Humboldt Independent," is published.
  • 1865 - The county courthouse is built in Dakota City.
  • 1872 - The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad reaches the county.
  • 1873 - A fire destroys Dakota City, leading to a decline in the town's importance.
  • 1873 - Humboldt becomes the new county seat.
  • 1880 - The Humboldt Creamery Company is founded, becoming a major employer in the area.
  • 1900 - The population of Humboldt County reaches its highest point at over 14,000 residents.
  • 1913 - The county courthouse in Humboldt is completed.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression causes economic difficulties in Humboldt County.
  • 1947 - Camp Dodge Central Continent Command and Training Center is established in Humboldt County.
  • 2001 - The completion of Brushy Creek State Recreation Area provides outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.