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Floyd County Iowa

The Floyd County Courthouse is located at 101 South Main Street, Charles City, IA 50616; phone: 641-228-7777.

Beginnings [1]

The County of Floyd was created by an Act of the Territorial Legislature of Iowa, January 15, 1851, at Iowa City. Considerable discussion has taken place over what the members of the 1851 legislature had in mind when they named this county. The most reasonable theory is that it was named in honor of Sergeant Charles Floyd of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition sent up the Missouri River in 1806.

The location of a county seat touched off a series of excited incidents. The question of whether the county seat should be located in St. Charles or near the town of Floyd interrupted the completion of the first courthouse. In the year of 1858, a contested election temporarily determined Floyd to be the county seat. The Supreme Court of Iowa returned the county seat to St. Charles in 1859 where it was to remain; even though this apparently settled the matter, it was to be contested again after the burning of the first courthouse in 1881. St. Charles became Charles City after it became known that another town in Iowa was already named St. Charles.

The first court of the county was held in the Harwood frame house at a site on Kelly Street where the parking lot for Hy-Vee is now located in Charles City. The first courthouse was a stone building, finished in 1861, at a cost of $18,000. In 1881, a fire destroyed the courthouse, however, most of the important documents were preserved in fire proof vaults.

The second courthouse was a red brick structure built at a cost of $25,000 and was located on the foundation of the first courthouse. By the 1930's the function of government and the population had increased to the extent that a new larger courthouse was required.

It is not always an easy matter to settle the question as to who was the first settler in the county. With this in mind, from the best obtainable records, Ambrose W. Story was the first actual settler. It is true that a log cabin was found here upon Story's arrival, but the owner of this cabin must have been a hunter, for land in this county was not opened for settlement prior to Mr. Story's occupation.

Throughout the growth and development of Floyd County, the basis for prosperity has centered upon agriculture and agricultural industries. The county is blessed by highly productive farm ground and abundant water resources, making row crop and livestock production very effective uses of the land. Along with fertile farm ground, Floyd County developed agricultural based industries which further developed the incorporated communities within the county.

  1. Floyd County Planning & Zoning Commission with the North Iowa Area Council of Governments, Floyd County Comprehensive Development Plan, 2011,, accessed October, 2015.
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