National Register Listings in
Mahaska County, Iowa

The town of Fort Atkinson, Iowa was established in 1840 as a military outpost to protect the Winnebago Indians from hostile neighboring tribes. It was the first military post west of the Mississippi River.
Mahaska County, Iowa, has a rich and colorful history that dates back to the late 1830s. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Sac and Fox tribes. European settlers began arriving in the 1840s, attracted to the fertile land and abundant resources of the region. In 1844, Mahaska County was officially established by the Iowa Territorial Legislature.

During the mid-19th century, Mahaska County experienced rapid growth and development. The county's economy thrived with agriculture as the primary industry. Farmers cultivated crops such as corn, wheat, and oats, while livestock farming, especially cattle and hogs, also played a significant role. In 1853, the first railroad line was established, connecting Mahaska County to larger markets and facilitating the transportation of goods.

The county saw significant advancements and improvements in its infrastructure over the years. Bridges were constructed, enabling better connectivity between towns and facilitating trade. The development of roads and highways further improved transportation in Mahaska County. In 1868, the city of Oskaloosa, the county seat, was incorporated and became a center for commerce and government.

In the early 20th century, Mahaska County continued to thrive economically. The discovery of oil in 1914 stimulated growth in the area, attracting oil companies and generating employment opportunities. Throughout the century, the county witnessed advancements in education and healthcare, with the establishment of schools, libraries, and hospitals. The county also saw various cultural and recreational developments, with parks, museums, and community events contributing to the quality of life for its residents. Today, Mahaska County remains a vibrant community with a rich history, a strong agricultural heritage, and a diverse array of industries.

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

  • 1843: Mahaska County is established as a county in Iowa Territory.
  • 1844: The first permanent settlements are established in Mahaska County.
  • 1850: The town of Oskaloosa is surveyed and becomes the county seat.
  • 1861-1865: Mahaska County residents serve in the American Civil War.
  • 1875: Oskaloosa College is founded.
  • 1894: The Oskaloosa City Hall and Opera House is built.
  • 1914-1918: Mahaska County residents serve in World War I.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression affects Mahaska County, leading to economic hardships.
  • 1941-1945: Mahaska County residents serve in World War II.
  • 1963: William Penn University is established in Oskaloosa.
  • 1984: The Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum is established.
  • 2008: Mahaska County celebrates its 165th anniversary.