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Howard County

Howard County is named for Tilghman Ashurst Howard, who was a United States Senator from Indiana and a general in Tennessee and Indiana.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Mower County, Minnesota and Fillmore County, Minnesota

E – Winneshiek County

S – Chickasaw County

W – Mitchell County


Created:  January 15, 1851                    Map of Iowa highlighting Howard County

County Seat:

Vernon Springs   1855

Howard Center    1855 – 1859

Pikes Peak          1859 – 1876

Cresco                 1876 – present


County Courthouse – Cresco


Location:  137 North Elm Street / 1st Avenue West

Built:  1878 – 1880

Style:  Italianate-Classical

Architect:   J L Harlow

Contractor:  B D Everingham


Description: The building faces west and is is a two story red colored brick and limestone structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds in the center of Cresco. The building has a central section with entrance on the first story and large arched window and two smaller arched windows on the second story. Stone trim adorns the corners. The building extends outward on the north and south sides. On the center of the roof is a square white colored wood cupola with steep roof. The roof is hipped. The County District Court courtroom is located on the second story. The building houses the County District Court of the 1B Judicial District. In 1964, additions were added at the front on the north and south sides.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Howard County Courthouse


See:  The 1B Judicial District includes Black Hawk County, Buchanan CountyGrundy County.


History:  The county was created in 1851 and Vernon Springs was designated as the county seat in 1855. The same year the county seat was moved to Howard Center. In 1859, the county seat was moved to Pikes Peak near Vernon Springs and the first courthouse was erected. The county seat was moved to Cresco in 1876. The second courthouse was built in Cresco in 1876 and immediately burned down. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1878 to 1880.




County Courthouse – Cresco















County District Court courtroom





Photos taken 2008 and 2017