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.
Van Buren County, Iowa has a rich history that dates back to its founding in 1837. Named after former President Martin Van Buren, the county was initially settled by pioneers seeking fertile land and the promise of economic opportunities. The first European-American settlers were predominantly of French and Scottish descent.

In the early years, agriculture, particularly corn and wheat farming, became the backbone of Van Buren County's economy. The county's location along the Des Moines River provided easy transportation of goods, further fueling economic growth. As the population increased, towns and villages began to flourish, including Keosauqua, the county seat.

During the mid-19th century, Van Buren County played a significant role in the Underground Railroad. Many residents, with strong abolitionist beliefs, provided shelter and support to escaped slaves seeking freedom in the North. The county's proximity to Missouri, a slave state, made it a crucial stop on the Underground Railroad route.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the expansion of infrastructure and public services in Van Buren County. Railways were built, connecting the county to larger markets, and the availability of electricity and telephone services improved the quality of life for residents. However, the Great Depression and the mechanization of agriculture in the 20th century brought significant challenges to the county's economy.

Today, Van Buren County remains primarily agrarian, with farming and agribusiness forming the backbone of the local economy. Its scenic landscapes, beautiful river valleys, and historic sites make it a popular tourist destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The county continues to embrace its rich history and culture, preserving the past while looking towards a promising future.

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

  • 1836: Van Buren County established
  • 1837: Keosauqua chosen as county seat
  • 1838: First courthouse built in Keosauqua
  • 1843: Keosauqua becomes Iowa's territorial capital
  • 1845: Capital moved to Iowa City
  • 1850: Population of Van Buren County reaches 4,698
  • 1851: Second courthouse built in Keosauqua
  • 1856: Stagecoach service established in the county
  • 1861: Civil War begins, with many residents joining the Union Army
  • 1876: Third courthouse built in Keosauqua
  • 1903: Rail service arrives in Van Buren County
  • 1907: Lake Sugema State Park established
  • 1919: Lake Miami State Park established
  • 1933: Shimek State Forest established
  • 1963: Lacey-Keosauqua State Park established
  • 1981: Historic district in Keosauqua added to the National Register of Historic Places
  • 2010: Population of Van Buren County reaches 7,570