Historical Markers in
Lucas County, Iowa

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is located in West Branch, Iowa. Hoover, who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933, was born in West Branch and spent much of his early life in Iowa. The museum includes exhibits on Hoover's life and presidency, as well as a collection of his personal papers and artifacts.
Lucas County, located in south-central Iowa, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Sac and Fox tribes, who lived off the land and made it their home. The arrival of European settlers in the mid-1800s marked a significant shift in the region's development.

In 1846, Lucas County was formally established by the Iowa Legislature and named after Robert Lucas, the first territorial governor of Iowa. The county's seat was designated as Chariton, which remains its largest city and center of governance. The construction of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad in the late 1800s further contributed to the growth and economic development of the county.

Agriculture has always been a vital component of Lucas County's economy. The fertile soil and favorable climate in the region made it ideal for farming. As a result, many settlers who arrived during the 19th century engaged in agricultural activities, cultivating crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. Today, farming and related industries continue to play a crucial role in the county's economy.

Over the years, Lucas County has also witnessed social and cultural advancements. The establishment of schools, churches, and community organizations fostered a sense of community and provided essential services to the residents. The county's rich history is celebrated through various recreational activities, festivals, and events that showcase its unique heritage.

In summary, Lucas County has evolved from its Native American roots to become a thriving agricultural community with a deep sense of history and tradition. The county's growth and development were fueled by the arrival of settlers, the expansion of transportation networks, the dominance of agriculture, and the establishment of social institutions. Today, Lucas County continues to preserve its heritage while embracing new opportunities for the future.

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

  • 1846 - Lucas County was established by the Iowa Legislature.
  • 1851 - The county seat was established in Chariton.
  • 1853 - The first courthouse was built, but was destroyed by fire in 1865.
  • 1865 - The second courthouse, made of brick, was built.
  • 1875 - The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad arrived in Chariton.
  • 1876 - The Chariton Herald newspaper began publication.
  • 1905 - The third courthouse, designed in the Beaux-Arts style, was completed.
  • 1913 - The Chariton Carnegie Library was built with funds provided by Andrew Carnegie.
  • 1930 - The county experienced population growth due to the discovery of oil.
  • 1955 - Lake Rathbun, a popular recreational area, was created with the completion of Rathbun Dam.
  • 1976 - The National Register of Historic Places listed the Lucas County Courthouse.
  • 1983 - The Lucas County Golf Course was established.
  • 1993 - The Chariton Parks and Recreation Center was opened.
  • 2010 - The population of Lucas County was 8,898.