In the early 1900s, the town of Villisca, Iowa was the site of a gruesome murder that remains unsolved to this day. On June 10, 1912, eight people were bludgeoned to death with an axe in their home. The crime is known as the Villisca Axe Murders and has been the subject of numerous books, films, and TV shows.
Lyon County, Iowa is located in the northwest corner of the state and has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Otoe, Sioux, and Fox, who relied on the fertile land for hunting and gathering. European settlement began in the 1850s when pioneers sought to establish farms and trading posts along the Little Rock River.

In 1859, the town of Rock Rapids was founded and became the county seat of Lyon County. The town grew quickly due to its strategic location along the Rock Island Railroad, which brought increased commerce and development to the area. Agriculture played a vital role in Lyon County's history, with farmers primarily cultivating corn, grains, and livestock. The county's rich soil and abundant water supply made it an ideal location for agricultural practices.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Lyon County experienced significant growth and prosperity. The discovery of oil in the early 1900s further fueled economic development in the region. The establishment of several oil fields brought in a wave of workers and bolstered the local economy. However, the oil boom eventually declined, and agriculture once again became the predominant industry in Lyon County.

Today, Lyon County is a thriving community known for its strong agricultural sector and vibrant small towns. The county offers a range of recreational opportunities, including beautiful parks, trails, and lakes for outdoor enthusiasts. Lyon County also celebrates its history through various events and festivals, preserving the rich heritage of the area for future generations to appreciate.

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

  • 1851 - Lyon County is established by the Iowa General Assembly.
  • 1867 - The first railroad, the Sioux City and St. Paul, is completed, connecting Lyon County to larger markets.
  • 1871 - The county seat of Rock Rapids is officially established.
  • 1873 - The first newspaper, the Lyon County Reporter, is published in Rock Rapids.
  • 1889 - The first high school, Central Lyon School, is established in Rock Rapids.
  • 1892 - The Lyon County Courthouse is built in Rock Rapids.
  • 1913 - The Iowa State Bank is founded, becoming the oldest bank still operating in Lyon County today.
  • 1936 - The Little Rock Dam is completed, providing irrigation and flood control for the area.
  • 1965 - The Rock Rapids Municipal Hospital opens, providing comprehensive healthcare services for Lyon County residents.
  • 1988 - The Lyon County Historical Society is established to preserve and promote the county's history.
  • 1993 - The Lyon County Fairgrounds are revamped, becoming a popular venue for community events and the annual county fair.