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.
Page County, Iowa is a county steeped in rich history and heritage. It was originally established in 1841 and named after Captain John Page, a veteran of the War of 1812. The county was officially organized in 1851, and its first county seat was established in the town of Clarinda. However, due to its proximity to the Nodaway River, which often caused flooding, the county seat was moved to its current location in the town of Shenandoah in 1871.

During the mid-19th century, Page County, like many other areas in Iowa, experienced a growth in population and agricultural development. The rich and fertile soil in the area attracted settlers who engaged in farming, particularly livestock and grain production. The county also became an important center for milling and manufacturing, with numerous mills and factories popping up throughout the region.

Page County played a significant role during the Civil War, with many of its residents volunteering to fight for the Union side. The town of Clarinda served as a recruiting and training center for soldiers. In fact, Page County raised two companies that served in the famed Iowa 12th Infantry Regiment, which participated in several major battles including Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Atlanta.

In the 20th century, Page County saw both growth and challenges. The advent of railroads brought increased opportunities for trade and transportation, spurring economic development. However, like many rural areas, the county also faced challenges such as the Great Depression and the subsequent changes in agricultural practices. Today, Page County is a vibrant community that values its history while looking towards the future with a focus on education, healthcare, and agriculture.

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

  • 1833: The area that is now Page County was included in the Platte Purchase, land acquired by the United States from the Native American tribes.
  • 1841: The first recorded white settlers, William and Mariah Parker, arrived in what is now Page County.
  • 1843: The county was officially established on February 24, named after Captain John Page, a veteran of the War of 1812.
  • 1853: The town of Clarinda was founded and became the county seat.
  • 1869: The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad reached Clarinda, boosting the local economy.
  • 1878: The Friendship Home for African American orphans was established in Clarinda, becoming a nationally recognized institution.
  • 1890s: Page County experienced an agricultural boom, with farmers specializing in corn, wheat, hogs, and cattle.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression hit Page County hard, leading to significant economic challenges.
  • 1942: The Clarinda Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison, was established in Clarinda.
  • 1980s: Page County began diversifying its economy, focusing on industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and education.
  • 1992: Maryville, Missouri, experienced severe flooding, and residents of Maryville were evacuated to Clarinda.
  • 2008: The city of Shenandoah celebrated its sesquicentennial, marking 150 years since its founding.