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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Iowa Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database

 

on January 27, 2022

 
1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Iowa ranks 47th among states and provinces with markers in this database. The United States of America is a state in the United States of America located in the American Midwest. It is also in the Upper Plains region. Iowa is some 58 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 3.2 million people. The state is divided into 99 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In Iowa we have discovered historical markers in 184 cities and towns lying in 185 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 626 historical markers in Iowa, by our count. We have cataloged 617 historical markers and 152 war memorials—each individually presented on 759 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another nine historical markers in Iowa that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

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The first Iowa marker in the database, Iowa’s Confederate General, was added September 18, 2007. It was photographed in Bentonsport in Van Buren County and was erected in 2007. The last one added was submitted on January 15, 2022, and titled 124 North Howard. It is in Indianola in Warren County. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Iowa was erected in 1866. It was this one: Yellow Spring Township Civil War Monument, and one of our correspondents found it in Kossuth in Des Moines County on September 14, 2021.

Iowa Historical Topics
180 • Industry and Commerce
132 • Architecture
131 • Settlements and Settlers
64 • Civil War
58 • World War II
49 • Education
48 • Churches and Religion
48 • Roads and Vehicles
42 • Patriots and Patriotism
41 • Exploration
    ... and others ...

Iowans don’t want to forget their Industry and Commerce history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Iowa about Industry and Commerce—180 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Architecture with 132 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Industry and Commerce topic was Panther, added May 17, 2010. It had been erected near Adel in Dallas County. The last one submitted also was submitted on January 15, 2022, and titled 124 North Howard. It had been erected in Indianola in Warren County. The earliest marker erected with the Industry and Commerce topic that we have listed was erected in 1907. It is The National Humane Alliance Fountain, found in Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County on April 17, 2016.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Iowa? What we know is that The Confederate Invasion of Iowa Monument is the most viewed entry in the database from Iowa since it was added in 2007. It is located in Bloomfield in Davis County. This year so far, the most viewed Iowan entry is located in Harlan in Shelby County. It is Wheeler Block.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Iowa county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Madison County, with 58 of them. It is followed by Page County with 50 markers. The Winterset area of Madison County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 58. In Page County the area with the most markers, 28, is Shenandoah.

Historical Markers in These
Iowa Counties
58 • Madison County
50 • Page County
39 • Cedar County
33 • Monroe County
32 • Cerro Gordo County
32 • Woodbury County
28 • Pottawattamie County
25 • Shelby County
24 • Lee County
24 • Warren County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Iowa with the most markers we again find Winterset at the top of the list with 58 markers in or near it. It is followed by West Branch in Cedar County with 37 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 50273 at the top of the list with 58 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 50273 is assigned to Winterset IA.) It is followed by ZIP Code 52358 with 37 markers. (52358 is assigned to West Branch IA including the Cedar Valley, Downey, Herbert Hoover National Hist, Oasis, and Springdale delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
Iowa Cities and Towns
58 • Winterset
37 • West Branch
32 • Albia
28 • Shenandoah
25 • Harlan
24 • Sioux City
23 • Indianola
22 • Council Bluffs
21 • Clarinda
20 • Mason City
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Madison County, the first marker added to the database from there, Winterset Civil War Memorial, was added October 9, 2009. It was erected in 1867 in Winterset. The last one submitted was uploaded on July 12, 2021, and is titled Madison County Freedom Rock, in Winterset. The earliest marker erected in Madison County that we have listed was erected in 1867. It was Winterset Civil War Memorial, found in Winterset on October 9, 2009.

Latest entry from Iowa. Click to go there
By Cosmos Mariner, July 1, 2021
Latest Entry from Iowa
“124 North Howard”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from West Branch. The first: Herbert Hoover, was added October 14, 2011. The last: Tall Grasses and Open Skies added on December 22, 2020.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

There is no organization in charge of erecting official historical markers state-wide in Iowa today. A number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Iowa have been marked with history. Check out Buchanan County, Benton County and Audubon County. We've only found one historical marker in each. Visiting one or more of these parts of Iowa might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

Jan. 27, 2022