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Cherokee City

Cherokee City Hall is located at 416 West Main Street, Cherokee, IA 51012; phone: 712-225-5749.

Beginnings [1]

Local history usually centers around the county seat town. Especially is this true when only one place within the county has been the seat of justice, and where the first settlement in the county was made at or near such point. Here in Cherokee the first stakes were driven by that little band of determined New Englanders who formed the Milford Emigration Society away back in 1856, before Iowa had any railroad facilities, and while the capital of the young state was still located at Iowa City. Here were cut the first logs, the first lumber sawed, the first houses erected. Cherokee was also made known to the outside world in a very impressive manner on account of the Indian invasion and threats.

As to location, it may be remarked that unlike so many Iowa cities and smaller towns, Cherokee has the decided advantage of being situated in the charming valley of one of Iowa's prettiest small rivers— the Little Sioux. Surrounding it are high elevations, almost bluffs, yet only truly speaking, rolling prairie lands. Whether one views this city in mid-winter with a mantle of snow resting peacefully in the valley, or in mid-summer, with a sea of waving corn and ripening grain on every hand; or in the golden autumn-time, when nature seems at rest, and the amber corn is sending forth its rich hue, on hillside and valley land, all is a landscape of rare beauty. The swiftly moving trains and the great structures of the State Institution, nearby, all make a contrast vividly marked from those scenes fifty-odd years ago, when the little band from New England first commenced to build for their first winter quarters, just previous to that never-to-be-forgotten winter of 1856-57.

The village plat of which this is written was "Cherokee Center," situated on the east half of section 28, township 92, range 40 west, was surveyed and platted by Jay Sternburg, Justice Townsend and George Detwiler, Nov. 19, 1856. The platting was all that was ever done toward making a town—it was a speculator "paper-town."

  1. Thomas McCulla, History of Cherokee County Iowa, Volume I, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1914.
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