Why Does Iowa Only Have 99 Counties Instead of 100?
The Hawkeye State sure has a lot of counties. Compared to larger states like California (54) and Montana (56), Iowa has almost twice as many, with a staggering 99. But it easily could have an even 100, if not for one annoying outlier up north.
Have you ever glanced at a state map of Iowa and wondered why this one county seems out of place? Well, as it turns out, there's a reason it's larger than its neighbors, and the answer goes back to the 19th century.
So Which Iowa County Ruins It For The Rest?
Welcome to beautiful Kossuth County, Iowa. Kossuth is a quiet county with a relatively small population of just over 14,000. However, it is a bit bigger than any of its neighbors and could easily be split in half to give Iowa 100 counties.
Well, as it turns out, it once was split in half, but by the late 1850s, everything changed. Here's why:
The county was enlarged northward in 1857 by the inclusion of the former Bancroft County. Crocker County was another county created out of the same area of Kossuth County as Bancroft County but was reverted due to not being larger than 432 square miles.
To see a hilarious back-and-forth on why Kossuth County is such a big county, check out the Terrible Maps Facebook page.