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History

A City With a Rich Past and Glowing Future

Nestled within the heart of Iowa, Marshalltown embraces its dynamic “hometown” lifestyle, which is characterized by an ideal blend of rural and urban living. The enviable quality of life discovered in the city of today is owed in large part to the forward-thinking nature of early settlers and businessmen.

Nearly a decade after the Sac and Fox Indians signed a treaty with the U.S. government to open up the land for settlement (1842), current-day Marshalltown welcomed its first settler. Henry Anson, a now famous Iowa pioneer, chose the divide between Linn Creek and the Iowa River as the optimal site for a new town. Anson constructed his cabin on what is now Main Street, paving the way for settlement in the new town.

Anson

Anson and his fellow settlers became friendly with a local Native American chief named Johnny Green (Che Muese) who provided much needed guidance to the men.

By 1853, the town site was platted, taking on the name Marshall —which was soon changed to Marshalltown in 1862.

The settlement began to develop in the years prior to the Civil War, and by the mid 1850s, Anson made a land contribution for the building of a county courthouse. After struggles over the location of the county seat, Marshalltown was finally given the proud designation in 1863.

After Johnny Green’s death in 1868, he was buried on a bluff overlooking the Des Moines River. A tribute to the Native American leader can be seen in the form of a significant monument that stands on the grounds of the Iowa Veterans Home.

Marshalltown experienced much development in the ensuing years. Due to the advent of the railroad in town, Marshalltown was now well connected and became an attractive community for many light industries. By the onset of the 20th century, Marshalltown emerged as an established city of more than 10,000 residents and quite a few industries that would ultimately evolve into major national and international corporations.

Today, Marshalltown has transformed into a thriving city of more than 27,500 residents who take pleasure in the establishment of a diversified base of businesses, award-winning schools, esteemed medical facilities, modern shopping centers, well-maintained recreational and cultural amenities and high-quality residential areas. While the city looks to its future, its strong heritage remains present and continues to have a profound influence in every aspect of community life today.

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