Iowa’s smallest county is also the most recently incorporated. Located in the extreme northwest of the state, Osceola County was founded in 1871.
On January 1, 1872, the county government convened for the first time. The first wooden courthouse was built in November of the following year and served as a courtroom, school and church at the same time. In September 1903 the second courthouse was completed and in October 1915 electricity was added.
According to the latest data from the US Census Bureau, Osceola County has a total area of 399 square miles, of which 399 square miles is land and 0.7 square miles (0.2%) is water, making it the smallest county in the state by area, but third – Smallest by land area.
So while Dickinson County has the smallest land area (381 square miles to Osceola County’s 399), Osceola County’s total area is smaller (399 square miles to 404). Dickinson is certainly significantly larger by population: 17,851 versus 6,159. according to the US Census Bureau.
In comparison, Kossuth County is Iowa’s largest county by area at 972.2 square miles.
Fun fact: Osceola County is Iowa’s highest natural point. Hawkeye Point is 1,670 feet high. It also has plenty of attractions and amenities for a city of its size. Osceola County’s website states that the county has:
- 1 hospital
- 3 museums
- 4 libraries
- 2 swimming pools
- 1 golf course
- 1 community theater
- 2 hotels
- 1 cinema
- 60 parks and 11 miles of biking, jogging and hiking trails
Not bad for a county with only 5 cities, 3 unincorporated townships, 10 townships and a single statewide community school district.
Learn about Osceola County’s past here and its present and future here.
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