Iowa's smallest county is also the one that was most recently incorporated. Osceola County is in the state's far northwest corner and was formed in 1871.

On January 1, 1872, the county government conferred for the first time. The first courthouse, constructed of wood, was built in November of the following year and simultaneously served as the conference chamber, school, and church. In September 1903, the second courthouse was finished and was wired for electricity in October 1915.

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, Osceola County has a total area of 399 square miles, and 0.7 square miles  (0.2%) is water, making it the state's smallest county by total area but the third-smallest by land area.

Osceola County, Wikipedia
Osceola County, Wikipedia

So, while Dickinson County is the smallest by land area (381 sq. mi. to Osceola County's 399), the total overall area of Osceola County is smaller (399 sq. mi. to 404). Dickinson is certainly significantly larger by population: 17,851 vs. 6,159. according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

By comparison, Iowa's largest county by land area is Kossuth County, at 972.2 square miles.

Kossuth County, Wikipedia
Kossuth County, Wikipedia

Fun fact: Osceola County is home to Iowa's highest natural point. Hawkeye Point is 1,670 feet. It has a ton of attractions and amenities for a county its size, too. Osceola County's website says the county has:

  • 1 hospital
  • 3 museums
  • 4 libraries
  • 2 swimming pools
  • 1 golf course
  • 1 community theater
  • 2 hotels
  • 1 movie theater
  • 60 parks and 11 miles of biking, jogging, and hiking trails

Not bad for a county with only 5 cities (one of them being the county seat of Sibley), three unincorporated communities, ten townships, and a single county-wide community school district.

Learn more about Osceola County's past here, and its present and future here.

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