Buena Vista County, IA

County in Northern IA

The first settlement in Buena Vista County was at Sioux Rapids on the Little Sioux River. A trading post for trappers and Indians for furs, tobacco, liquor and supplies, it was the location of the first flour and timber mills. A stage road from Fort Dodge to Sioux City passed through.

On Jan. 15, 1851, the name and legal boundaries of Buena Vista County were established with 16 townships. The name was taken from the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico won by General Taylor's American forces against General Santa Anna.

Buena Vista County was part of Woodbury County for voting and judicial activities until 1856. Sioux Rapids was the only town. A three man committee, designated by Judge A.W. Hubbard, selected Prairieville, (1 mile south of Sioux Rapids and later called Leesville) as the county seat. In 1858 an official county government was elected and organized.

In 1869 there were 242 county residents. The county was too remote and too small to furnish more than three men to serve in the Civil War in the Union Army upon President Lincoln's call. However, it grew rapidly to 2,000 in 1870.

No town arose at Prairieville, so the first official county business was conducted in the living room of George Struble's log cabin in Sioux Rapids. The next location was a sod house built by Abner Bell, 14'x 14'. The first courthouse was erected in Sioux Rapids in 1870, 26'x 36' and 2 stories high, for $4,945. It had just been finished when a series of battles for the county seat location began. A new railroad had just been laid with Alta, Newell, and Storm Lake along its line. The city of Newell erected a brick building hoping that the county seat would be located there. It was not.

On January 1, 1877, the Sioux Rapids courthouse burned to the ground with all its contents except for a safe and the Board of Supervisor's records. Court was held in a schoolhouse and Newell and Alta gave up their aspirations to support Storm Lake. Storm Lake had constructed a 30'x 36' 2 story city hall. The city offered to lease it for 10 years to the county as a courthouse, if Storm Lake were named the county seat. The offer was accepted in 1878. A committee of Storm Lake residents went to Sioux Rapids, with 2 barrels of apples as a peace offering, to claim the county records. No struggle occurred. In 1888 a new brick courthouse (identical to the current Sac County courthouse) was constructed for $25,000. Construction on the present courthouse was started in 1969, with dedication in 1972, at a total cost of about $1,200,000.

Sponsors of Buena Vista County, IA

Since the founding of our communities, organizations, businesses and citizens have stepped forward to build and serve their community. Click on any of the logos below to learn about those who made this website possible! If you would like to learn about becoming a sponsor CLICK HERE!

Towns of Buena Vista County, IA

The small towns of the Midwest are rich in history and a great way of life! Below you can visit and learn about the small towns we call home! Towns that have their name highlighted have become FEATURED TOWNS. Businesses/organizations from these towns have stepped forward as SPONSORS enabling us to include (or will include as acquired) stories and website links to ALL their community organizations (chambers, groups and departments, etc.), stories and website links to ALL their points of interest, annual festivals/events and stories done about their citizens, veterans and faith community. To learn how to become a featured town CLICK HERE!

Community Organizations of Buena Vista County, IA

Small towns and rural communities throughout the Midwest are looking for ways to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life, and build on local assets. Here you will find the organizations that stabilize, preserve, and revitalize the small towns and rural areas alike. To submit your organization to be included on your town and county page CLICK HERE!

Events of Buena Vista County, IA

The small towns of the Midwest have long shared pride in their communities through festivals and events! Citizens from each community, working together, continue to offer entertainment options that not only appeal to their citizens, but visitors to their community! Below you will find festivals and events you are sure to want to attend! If you would like to have (DST) include an annual festival or event on your town and county page CLICK HERE!

Points of Interest of Buena Vista County, IA

The communities of the Midwest have a lifestyle unique to their region — rich in history and points of interest like no other! Below you will find points of interest you are sure to want to visit! To nominate a landmark, historic location, museum, etc. as a point of interest on your county and region page CLICK HERE!

Veterans of Buena Vista County, IA

Veterans come from many walks of life and whether a veteran has severed two decades ago or two days ago, they have made our freedoms possible. Below you will find stories about many who have served. If you would like to nominate a veteran to be included on your town and county page CLICK HERE!