In 1917, a German submarine sank the SS Housatonic, a U.S. freighter carrying food and supplies to Europe during World War I, off the coast of South Carolina. Among the crew members who went down with the ship was an Iowa native named Herbert C. Jones, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the sinking.
Johnson County, Iowa, has a rich and diverse history. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Meskwaki and the Sac and Fox tribes. The first European settlers arrived in the early 1800s, with the establishment of a fur trading post. In 1838, Iowa City was chosen as the capital of the newly-formed Iowa Territory, spurring further growth and development in the county.

Iowa City became a center of education and culture in the region. In 1855, the University of Iowa was established, marking the beginning of a long-standing tradition of higher education in Johnson County. The university has since become one of the leading academic institutions in the country, attracting students from around the world.

Johnson County also played a significant role in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. Several prominent abolitionists, such as John Matzen and William R. Smith, were active in the area, helping fugitive slaves escape to freedom. The county's strong moral stance on slavery made it a significant hub for anti-slavery activities during the 19th century.

In the 20th century, Johnson County experienced steady growth and development. The county's population steadily increased, driven in part by the growth of the university and its related industries. Today, Johnson County is known for its vibrant community, cultural offerings, and strong commitment to education and social justice. It continues to be a thriving and diverse county in the state of Iowa.

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

  • 1838 - Johnson County is established by the Iowa Territorial Legislature.
  • 1840 - Iowa City becomes the county seat.
  • 1855 - The University of Iowa is founded in Iowa City.
  • 1864 - A major flood devastates Iowa City.
  • 1873 - Construction of the Old Capitol building is completed.
  • 1885 - The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad reaches Iowa City.
  • 1901 - Construction of the current Johnson County Courthouse is finished.
  • 1959 - Iowa City's population surpasses 25,000.
  • 1970 - The Iowa City Landmark District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2008 - Iowa City is designated as a UNESCO City of Literature.