The famous outlaw Jesse James once robbed a bank in Corydon, Iowa in 1871. It was the first bank robbery in the state's history.
Palo Alto County, Iowa is located in the northwest part of the state and was first settled by European immigrants in the mid-1800s. The county was officially organized in 1858 and named after the Battle of Palo Alto during the Mexican-American War.

The early settlers in Palo Alto County were mostly of German and Irish heritage, and they established small farming communities throughout the area. Agriculture became the backbone of the county's economy, with farmers producing crops such as corn, oats, and hay, as well as raising livestock.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Palo Alto County experienced growth and development. The arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s brought new opportunities for trade and transportation. Towns like Emmetsburg, the county seat, grew as commercial centers, offering a range of services and amenities.

Over the years, Palo Alto County has faced challenges, such as periods of economic recession and natural disasters like floods. However, the resilience of its residents has helped the county face these challenges and continue to prosper. Today, Palo Alto County is a vibrant rural community with a diverse economy, including industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and education. The county also offers various recreational opportunities, including parks, lakes, and trails for residents and visitors to enjoy.

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

  • Paleo-Indian cultures inhabited the area around 8,000 BC.
  • The region was explored by French traders and trappers in the 18th century.
  • Palo Alto County was officially established on January 15, 1851.
  • The city of Emmetsburg, named after the Irish nationalist Robert Emmet, was founded in 1857.
  • The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad reached Palo Alto County in 1878, boosting the local economy.
  • Palo Alto County saw a significant population growth during the late 19th century due to agricultural development.
  • In 1881, the city of Ruthven was incorporated.
  • The first courthouse in Palo Alto County was built in 1888 in the city of Emmetsburg.
  • The county experienced economic challenges during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
  • Palo Alto County's economy diversified in the mid-20th century, with the growth of industries like manufacturing and healthcare.
  • Throughout the late 20th century and early 21st century, Palo Alto County has focused on maintaining its strong agricultural roots while also embracing technology and renewable energy.