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History

Rich in History

DeWitt, Iowa, was founded in 1836 by settlers from the eastern states. DeWitt was named after DeWitt Clinton, the governor of New York from 1817-1822. In 1840, a second courthouse was built in DeWitt for Clinton County. DeWitt was the county seat from 1841 to 1869. DeWitt saw a population boom of nearly 5,500 people around 1856 when the Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska railroad (now known as the Union Pacific) came to DeWitt. By the 1870s, DeWitt was a thriving, self-sustaining community with numerous hotels, markets and a variety of shops and services.

DeWitt has had a few firsts for the State of Iowa. The first baseball team, the Hawks, was organized in DeWitt in 1860. The first Spear Water Tower was built in 1957.

Other interesting historical facts about DeWitt include: The first school was built in 1867 and cost $25,000 to build. The Operahouse Theatre was built in 1878. The DeWitt Fire Department was organized in 1879. In 1881, the County Fair started as an annual event. In 1952 the hospital in DeWitt opened.

DeWitt’s past has helped to form a progressive community moving into the future!

Current Time

At a time when less than 10 percent of the U.S. population lives in true rural areas and when many of those rural places throughout our nation are shrinking and disappearing, DeWitt continues to add residents, businesses and employment opportunities. As a result of the cooperation of the city and the school district, the hard work of elected officials, and most importantly the commitment and efforts of residents and community volunteers, the community has been able to build outstanding recreational, cultural and educational facilities, successfully promote the creation of new jobs and relocation of major employers to the City, and create community spirit where residents take the lead to promote the betterment of the community.

In the background, the City efficiently provides basic public services with a well-trained volunteer Fire Department, a CALEA accredited Police Department, the most widely used library in the County, a Parks & Recreation Department that provides extensive youth and adult programs, and a Public Works crew that takes great pride in maintaining the public infrastructure. DeWitt indeed delivers a clean and safe community, abounding with opportunities for all ages.

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