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Wright County, Iowa


Wright County administrative offices are located at 115 North Main Street, Clarion, IA 50525; phone: 515-532-2771.

Beginnings [1]

Wright County was officially organized in 1855 and was named after Silas Wright and Joseph Albert Wright, who were influential Governors from the States of New York and Indiana; of which States many of the County's earlier settlers migrated from. Prior to its organization, Wright County was part of Delaware, Polk, Boone and Webster County and only consisted of hunters and trappers who traveled in the area. The first settlements began in 1854; of the first settlers were William H. Montgomery, William Stryker and Minter Brassfield, each of which came with their families within a few weeks of one another.

The first election took place in 1855 during the month of August. At this time the original County Seat was established in Eagleville, which was a town that was platted west of present-day Eagle Grove, but never fully built. The Courthouse was located in a log cabin owned by S.B. Hewett, Sr. In 1858 the County Seat was moved to "Liberty," which today is known as Goldfield. The County Seat made its final move in 1865 to Grant, which was chosen for its central location. In June of 1870 the City of Grant was renamed Clarion, which is after Clarion, Pennsylvania.

The first railroad completed in Wright County was the old Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern, which reached Clarion in 1881. A few months later the Chicago & Northwestern road reached Goldfield, having been at Eagle Grove a few months before. A branch of the Iowa Central road was also soon pushed through to Belmond and reached Clarion by August of 1895. By 1915 approximately 120 miles of rail lines ran through Wright County including lines run by Chicago and Northwestern; Chicago and Iowa; Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific and Chicago Great Western.

While the construction of the railroad lines greatly aided in the settlement of Wright County, so did the cost of land with good soil. In 1880 Wright County had 785 farms. A majority of which were occupied by the owners who worked them. In 1905 the number of farms went up to 1,688. Since this time the County has developed into an important corn and soybean production area.

  1. Wright County Iowa Planning and Zoning Commission, Wright County Comprehensive Plan, 2012, www.wrightcounty.org, accessed August, 2015.

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