Source: The History of Iowa County
Published: Des Moines: Union Historical Company, Birdsall, Williams & Co., 1881.
1832 - American Indians ceded land 50 miles west of the
Mississippi River. This included a portion of Johnson County.
1837 - American Indians gave up more land including all
of Johnson County and a small portion of Iowa County. A few settlers roamed about the
territory at this time, but none purchased land from the government.
1842-1843 - American Indians gave up title to all land
that is now Iowa County. On May 1, 1843, white settlers were officially allowed to make
claim to land, but purchases could not be made because it was not yet surveyed.
1844 - First surveys were made. The county was divided
into Congressional townships and ranges based upon the principal meridians and base
lines. Iowa County is divided into four townships, 78N to 81N, and four ranges, 9W to
12 W, each township measuring six miles by six miles.
1845-46 - All American Indians officially moved to reservation
west of Missouri River. The Territorial Legislature authorized organization of Iowa
County, its survey and establishment of a county seat. First land purchases were made.
1847 - There were four townships in Iowa County:
||Troy, York, Greene
||Lincoln, Pilot, Dayton, English, Fillmore
||Honey Creek, Marengo, West half of Washington, West half
of Hilton, Hartford, Sumner
||East half of Washington, East half of Hilton, Lenox, Iowa
Marengo was designated as the County Seat
of Iowa County in 1845. In 1847, the first courthouse was constructed . It was used
until 1851 when a second one, valued at $300 and insured against fire for a three-year
premium of $4.50, was built. This courthouse was soon outgrown due to the arrival of
the German pioneers who settled in the Amana Colonies and, in 1861, a brick building
was authorized to be as "large as the $2,000 appropriation would allow."
In 1891, voters of Iowa County approved the
construction of yet another courthouse and in December of that year voters approved
the sale of "swamp land in Ida and Cherokee counties" owned by Iowa County, with the
proceeds of that sale to be used in construction of the new courthouse. The sale was
completed in March 1892, and in June lots on Green Street (which later became Court
Avenue) were purchased.
The brick used in the construction came from the
brick yard north of Marengo, operated by Charles Carter. The building was completed
by July 1, 1893, at a total cost of $57,608.16.
The Iowa County Courthouse was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places in June of 1980. In 1985, renovation projects were completed
on the courthouse to restore it to "...some of its past splendor with modern amenities
thrown in for good measure."