“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 February 7, 2023

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Iowa ranks 47th among states and provinces with markers in this database. Iowa 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 98 of them have entries in this database. In Iowa we have discovered historical markers in 195 cities and towns lying in 199 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 700 historical markers in Iowa, by our count. We have cataloged 691 historical markers and 158 war memorials—each individually presented on 837 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 November 26, 2022, and titled Community of Granite. It is in Granite in Lyon County and had been erected in 2001. 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
192 • Industry and Commerce
161 • Architecture
140 • Settlements and Settlers
69 • Civil War
65 • Education
61 • World War II
59 • Churches and Religion
49 • Roads and Vehicles
48 • Arts, Letters, Music
46 • Notable Buildings
    ... 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—192 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Architecture with 161 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 was submitted on August 3, 2022, and titled The Froelich Train Depot. It had been erected near McGregor in Clayton 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 Fort Dodge in Webster County. It is Chicago, Great Western Depot.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Iowa county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Madison County, with 59 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, 59. In Page County the area with the most markers, 28, is Shenandoah.

Historical Markers in These
Iowa Counties
59 • Madison County
50 • Page County
41 • Scott County
39 • Cedar County
33 • Monroe County
32 • Cerro Gordo County
32 • Woodbury County
28 • Pottawattamie County
25 • Lee County
25 • Shelby 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 59 markers in or near it. It is followed by Davenport in Scott County with 37 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 50273 at the top of the list with 59 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
59 • Winterset
37 • Davenport
37 • West Branch
32 • Albia
28 • Shenandoah
25 • Harlan
23 • Indianola
23 • Sioux City
22 • Council Bluffs
21 • Clarinda
    ... 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 March 20, 2022, and is titled George Leslie Stout, 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
October 30, 2022
Latest Entry from Iowa
“Community of Granite”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Davenport. The first: Marion G. Crandell, was added July 16, 2010. It had been erected in 1979. The last: War of 1812 Memorial added on November 25, 2022. It had been erected in 2014. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1881: The Soldier's Monument, added on July 13, 2022.

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!

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Feb. 7, 2023