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Cresco, Iowa
City
Howard County Courthouse in Cresco
Howard County Courthouse in Cresco
Motto(s): 
"Iowa's Year Round Play Ground"
Location of Cresco, Iowa
Location of Cresco, Iowa
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Coordinates: 43°22′28″N 92°6′54″W / 43.37444°N 92.11500°W / 43.37444; -92.11500Coordinates: 43°22′28″N 92°6′54″W / 43.37444°N 92.11500°W / 43.37444; -92.11500
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Howard
Incorporated June 6, 1868
Area
 • Total 3.35 sq mi (8.67 km2)
 • Land 3.35 sq mi (8.67 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
1,293 ft (394 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 3,888
 • Density 1,160.60/sq mi (448.44/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code
52136
Area code(s) 563
FIPS code 19-17220
GNIS feature ID 0455712
Website Cresco Iowa Website

Cresco is a city in Howard County, Iowa, United States. The population was 3,888 in the 2020 census, a decline from 3,905 in 2000 census. It is the county seat of Howard County.

History

Cresco was platted in 1866 at the time the railroad was expanding into the area. Cresco is a Latin phrase meaning "I grow". Cresco was incorporated on June 6, 1868,

Geography

Cresco's longitude and latitude coordinates in decimal form are 43.374491, −92.115121.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.35 square miles (8.68 km2), all of it land.

Climate

Cresco experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with long, cold, snowy winters and very warm, humid summers.

Climate data for Cresco
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 54
(12.2)
63
(17.2)
83
(28.3)
91
(32.8)
91
(32.8)
100
(37.8)
102
(38.9)
101
(38.3)
98
(36.7)
92
(33.3)
75
(23.9)
62
(16.7)
102
(38.9)
Average high °F (°C) 21.5
(-5.83)
27.6
(-2.44)
40.0
(4.44)
55.6
(13.11)
68.7
(20.39)
78.3
(25.72)
81.9
(27.72)
79.7
(26.5)
71.6
(22)
59.2
(15.11)
41.4
(5.22)
26.7
(-2.94)
54.35
(12.417)
Average low °F (°C) 2.8
(-16.22)
9.4
(-12.56)
21.9
(-5.61)
34.0
(1.11)
45.8
(7.67)
55.5
(13.06)
59.6
(15.33)
57.3
(14.06)
47.9
(8.83)
36.2
(2.33)
23.5
(-4.72)
9.4
(-12.56)
33.61
(0.894)
Record low °F (°C) −35
(-37.2)
−36
(-37.8)
−29
(-33.9)
−1
(-18.3)
23
(-5)
34
(1.1)
40
(4.4)
34
(1.1)
24
(-4.4)
10
(-12.2)
−16
(-26.7)
−30
(-34.4)
−36
(-37.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.02
(25.9)
0.88
(22.4)
2.21
(56.1)
3.52
(89.4)
3.92
(99.6)
4.65
(118.1)
4.54
(115.3)
5.17
(131.3)
3.69
(93.7)
2.40
(61)
2.36
(59.9)
1.27
(32.3)
35.63
(905)
Snowfall inches (cm) 10.0
(25.4)
6.9
(17.5)
6.4
(16.3)
2.5
(6.4)
trace 0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.4
(1)
4.9
(12.4)
9.0
(22.9)
40.1
(101.9)
Source: NOAA

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 912
1880 1,875 105.6%
1890 2,018 7.6%
1900 2,806 39.0%
1910 2,658 −5.3%
1920 3,195 20.2%
1930 3,069 −3.9%
1940 3,530 15.0%
1950 3,638 3.1%
1960 3,809 4.7%
1970 3,927 3.1%
1980 3,860 −1.7%
1990 3,669 −4.9%
2000 3,905 6.4%
2010 3,868 −0.9%
2020 3,888 0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
CrescoIowaPopPlot
The population of Cresco from US census data

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,868 people, 1,660 households, and 962 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,154.6 inhabitants per square mile (445.8/km2). There were 1,821 housing units at an average density of 543.6 per square mile (209.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.3% White, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.

There were 1,660 households, of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.0% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 39.8 years. 25.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.2% were from 25 to 44; 23.6% were from 45 to 64; and 19.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.

Arts and culture

Museums and other points of interest

The Mighty Howard County Fair is held annually in Cresco every June. 2014 was the 121st year that the fair was held.

Cresco Community Theatre is a non-profit organization open to anyone with an idea or the desire to contribute. The decision of which shows to be produced on the Cresco stage are reached by the contributing members, and range from famously named productions to the locally written plays.

Cresco is home to the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa that had its first inductee banquet in 1970. As of April 2010 there are 97 members who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of amateur wrestling.

Although Cresco is no longer on a railroad line, it is home to a restored Milwaukee Road FP7 diesel engine which is known as the Heritage Train and displayed in Beadle Park at the center of the city on Highway 9. Cresco is also headquarters for Featherlite Trailers.

The Cresco post office contains a mural, Iowa Farming, painted in 1937 by Richard Haines. Murals were produced from 1934 to 1943 in the United States through the Section of Painting and Sculpture, later called the Section of Fine Arts, of the Treasury Department. The mural recalls his earliest days in Marion, Iowa depicting a farm scene with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, and family members performing chores as a mother reads a letter just delivered by the postal service.

Attractions

Education

Cresco is home to one of the largest school districts in Iowa in terms of square miles, the Howard–Winneshiek Community School District. The district was formed from the merger of the Cresco, Lime Springs/Chester, Elma, and Ridgeway school districts, opening on July 1, 1960. As of 2019 Crestwood Secondary School is the secondary school.

Notre Dame Catholic School in Cresco, and Trinity Catholic school in Protivin, offer private education to elementary school students. There was previously a Notre Dame High School in Cresco. Notre Dame High School graduated its final class in 1989.

Notable people

  • Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize laureate
  • Charles Bowers, cartoonist and filmmaker
  • Ellen Church, the world's first female flight attendant
  • Edward Aloysius Fitzgerald, the fourth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona
  • Maurice C. Gregory, United States Marine Corps brigadier general
  • Hal Holmes, United States congressman
  • Edward Howard, Roman Catholic archbishop of Portland, Oregon
  • Edouard Izac, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Frank J. Lowry, United States admiral
  • Oliver Munson, Wisconsin state senator
  • Harold Nichols, Iowa State University wrestling coach
  • Robert E. Smylie, 24th governor of Idaho; raised in Cresco
  • Elmarie Wendel, American actress and singer
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