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History of Story County
Old CourthouseWhat's the Story?
The land that today is known as Story County was originally prairie, with the exception of some groves along the larger streams in the area. In 1846, the boundaries of Story County were established. The county has an area of 576 square miles and is square in shape.

The county was named after Joseph Story, a pre-eminent United States Supreme Court justice, in 1853.

The first settlers in Story County came mainly from Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania. Later, many Norwegians, Germans, and Danes came directly from overseas and inhabited the area. The first large population influx occurred during the 1850s.

Story County was not mentioned in the Federal Census in 1850, but figures from the State of Iowa put the population at 214 in 1852. By 1860, the population had increased to 4,501.

Three commissioners appointed by the Iowa legislature selected the location of county seat on June 27, 1853. The location was Nevada, Iowa.