Historical Marker in
Monona County, Iowa

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Iowa has been home to several famous actors and actresses, including John Wayne, Ashton Kutcher, and Donna Reed. John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, and Ashton Kutcher grew up in Cedar Rapids. Donna Reed, who won an Academy Award for her role in the movie "From Here to Eternity," was born in Denison, Iowa.
Monona County, Iowa, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlers arrived, the area was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Ioway, Omaha, and Otoe. These tribes lived off the land, engaging in hunting, fishing, and agriculture.

European exploration and colonization of the region started in the 18th century. French traders were the first to establish contact with the Native Americans in the area, followed by Spanish and American explorers. It wasn't until the 1850s that European settlers began to permanently settle in Monona County. The first settlement was established in what is now Council Bluffs, near the Missouri River.

In 1854, Monona County was officially established by the Iowa Legislature. It was named after the Monona Indians, a sub-tribe of the Ioway, who had previously inhabited the area. The county experienced rapid growth and development in the late 19th century, thanks to the expansion of the railroads and the discovery of natural resources like coal and timber.

Throughout its history, Monona County has played a significant role in agriculture. The fertile soil and favorable climate made it conducive for farming, and many settlers turned to agricultural pursuits. Corn, soybeans, and livestock became the mainstays of the county's economy. Monona County also experienced a boom in industrial development, particularly in the towns of Onawa and Mapleton, where numerous factories and manufacturing plants were established.

Today, Monona County continues to thrive as an agricultural hub, with farming and livestock production as the primary economic activities. The county is also known for its natural beauty, with the Loess Hills offering stunning views and recreational opportunities. Monona County's rich history, vibrant communities, and scenic landscapes make it a unique and compelling destination for residents and visitors alike.

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

  • 1851 - Monona County is established by the Iowa Legislature.
  • 1854 - The first settlers arrive in the county.
  • 1860 - The city of Onawa is platted and becomes the county seat.
  • 1861-1865 - Monona County residents serve in the American Civil War.
  • 1870 - The population of Monona County reaches over 4,000.
  • 1882 - The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad is established in the county.
  • 1929 - The Great Depression affects Monona County, leading to economic hardships.
  • 1933 - The construction of the Little Sioux Ordnance Plant begins, providing jobs during the Great Depression.
  • 1961 - The construction of the Gavin's Point Dam on the Missouri River begins.
  • 1979 - The completion of the Gavin's Point Dam leads to the creation of Lake Monona.
  • 1993 - Flooding in Monona County causes significant damage to communities.
  • 2001 - The construction of the Onawa-Blencoe Golf Course is completed.