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Algona, Iowa
Kossuth County Courthouse
Adams Building
Left, the Kossuth County Courthouse, right, the Henry Adams Building
Location of Algona, Iowa
Location of Algona, Iowa
Coordinates: 43°4′13″N 94°13′47″W / 43.07028°N 94.22972°W / 43.07028; -94.22972Coordinates: 43°4′13″N 94°13′47″W / 43.07028°N 94.22972°W / 43.07028; -94.22972
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Kossuth
 • Total 4.56 sq mi (11.80 km2)
 • Land 4.55 sq mi (11.79 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
1,194 ft (364 m)
 • Total 5,487
 • Density 1,203.29/sq mi (465.00/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 515 Exchange: 295
FIPS code 19-01135
GNIS feature ID 0454126

Algona is the county seat of Kossuth County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,487 at the 2020 census. Ambrose A. Call State Park is located two miles southwest of the city.


Algona was founded in 1854 and after the Algonquian word for "Algonquin waters".

Between 1869 and 1875 the community was the location of Algona College, an institution sponsored by the Methodist Church.

In 1894, Algona, along with other Iowa communities such as Dysart and Wesley, became part of the project known as the "Orphan Trains". As New York City saw booming immigration, it also inevitably saw a rise in the number of orphans in its asylums. Unable to provide adequate care for them, it saw fit to ship nearly 100,000 westward to start a new life with families across America. Algona itself welcomed nearly 100 orphans into the town, many of whom remained lifelong residents.

From 1902 to 1903, Algona played host to the Algona Brownies, a Negro League barnstorming team. Despite winning the league title in 1903, the team disbanded that same year.

The Henry Adams Building, designed by Louis Sullivan in 1913 is located at the northwest corner of East State and Moore streets. Although not designed to be a bank, the building is nonetheless considered to be one of Sullivan's "Jewell Boxes," a series of banks built in the Midwest from 1909 through 1919.

Algona was the site of a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. From 1943 to 1946 Camp Algona housed nearly 10,000 prisoners, many of whom were put to work on farms owned by Americans who were fighting overseas. A museum now commemorates the camp's history and features a nativity scene built by the POWs.

A destructive F3 tornado killed two people and destroyed a large part of Algona on June 28, 1979 about 7:15 PM. The tornado moved in a south-southeast direction through Algona. Severe damage was done to the central business district and a number of homes were rendered uninhabitable. Near F4 damage was reported in some locations. There was about 15 minutes warning and the tornado sirens were sounded well before the arrival of the tornado. The fact that it was still daylight also contributed to the relatively low death count from this destructive storm.

In 2003, Algona drew national attention when it announced the purchase of the world's largest Cheeto. It was meant as a plan to bring tourism to the town to see the Cheeto by a local radio DJ.


Algona is located at 43°4′13″N 94°13′47″W / 43.07028°N 94.22972°W / 43.07028; -94.22972 (43.070274, -94.229726) along the East Fork Des Moines River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.51 square miles (11.68 km2), of which 4.49 square miles (11.63 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1870 860 —    
1880 1,359 +58.0%
1890 2,068 +52.2%
1900 2,911 +40.8%
1910 2,908 −0.1%
1920 3,724 +28.1%
1930 3,985 +7.0%
1940 4,954 +24.3%
1950 5,415 +9.3%
1960 5,702 +5.3%
1970 6,032 +5.8%
1980 6,289 +4.3%
1990 6,015 −4.4%
2000 5,741 −4.6%
2010 5,560 −3.2%
2020 5,487 −1.3%
Source: and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census
The population of Algona, Iowa from US census data

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,560 people, 2,499 households, and 1,495 families living in the city. The population density was 1,238.3 inhabitants per square mile (478.1/km2). There were 2,711 housing units at an average density of 603.8 per square mile (233.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.2% White, 0.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 2,499 households, of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.2% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.79.

The median age in the city was 46.2 years. 21.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.8% were from 25 to 44; 27.1% were from 45 to 64; and 24.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.


There are two school systems in Algona. The Algona Community School District oversees the public school system. Algona High School has students from Algona Middle School, as well as students from several nearby towns, including grade-shared districts and from open enrollment. The public elementary schools in Algona are Lucia Wallace Elementary, Bryant Elementary, and Bertha Godfrey Elementary School.

The Catholic school system is made up of Bishop Garrigan High School (named after the first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sioux City) and Seton Elementary (named for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton).

Notable people

  • Paul Bell – politician
  • Dick Dale – singer on Lawrence Welk television show
  • Lester Dickinson – U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Iowa
  • Steve Doocy – co-host of Fox & Friends, Fox News
  • Curt Hanson – educator and politician
  • Denis Menke – Major League baseball player and coach
  • Mike Mercer – National Football League kicker and punter
  • Brad Nelson – Minor League baseball player
  • Mary Jane Odell – Iowa Secretary of State
  • Paul Seiler - Played in the American and National Football Leagues for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders
  • Eric Swalwell – Congressman Dublin, CA, father was police chief Algona, Iowa

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