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Creston, Iowa
Creston, IA.jpg
Location of Creston, Iowa
Location of Creston, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Union
Established 1869
 • Total 5.25 sq mi (13.60 km2)
 • Land 5.19 sq mi (13.44 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
1,312 ft (400 m)
 • Total 7,536
 • Density 1,452.30/sq mi (560.78/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 641
FIPS code 19-17265
GNIS feature ID 0455716

Creston is a city in, and the county seat of, Union County, Iowa. The population was 7,536 at the time of the 2020 Census.


West end old station
The old CB&Q depot, constructed in 1899.

Creston was originally settled in 1868 as a survey camp for the workers with the Burlington and Missouri Railroad. The campsite was on the crest on the railroad line between the Missouri and Mississippi, hence the name "Creston."

Creston was chosen as the division point for the railroad (now the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe, which built machine shops, roundhouse and a construction camp to the new town. The town was incorporated in 1871.

A new railroad station was constructed in 1899 and the three-story structure served passengers for 69 years. The depot was renovated in 1978 to serve as a City Municipal Building. The old machine shop building was destroyed by a tornado in 1946. The remainder of the roundhouse burned down in 1981.

Creston has a long railroad history. Today, Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Creston, operating its California Zephyr daily in both directions between Chicago, Illinois, and Emeryville, California, across the bay from San Francisco. Creston is also a stop on the BNSF Railway. Rail crews based in Creston work from Creston to Galesburg, Illinois and Lincoln, Nebraska. The former Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad depot, a 2-story, yellow-brick, red tile-roofed French Provincial structure, now serves as Creston's City Hall.

2012 Tornado

On April 14, 2012 the town was hit by a tornado. The tornado was rated an EF2 and caused considerable damage to the hospital, community college, and high school. The town's tornado sirens for some reason did not activate and the tornado caught people off guard. Patients at the hospital were transferred to the gymnasium of the nearby community college. The college suffered roof and window damage to its dorms and students were transferred to local hotels for the rest of the school semester. Fourteen people suffered minor injuries, but no deaths occurred. The Greater Regional Medical Center was just two weeks away from an open house to unveil a major renovation when the tornado severely damaged it. One year after the tornado and $10 million in renovations later, the hospital was fully restored.


Creston is located on U.S. Route 34 in southern Iowa, about 80 miles (130 km) east of Omaha, Nebraska. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.25 square miles (13.60 km2), of which, 5.19 square miles (13.44 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.

McKinley Lake lies within a large, multi-purpose municipal park within the city limits, and three additional recreational lakes are located within seven miles of Creston: Green Valley State Park, Summit Lake, Twelve Mile Lake and Three Mile Recreation Area.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1870 411 —    
1880 5,081 +1136.3%
1890 7,200 +41.7%
1900 7,752 +7.7%
1910 6,924 −10.7%
1920 8,034 +16.0%
1930 8,615 +7.2%
1940 8,033 −6.8%
1950 8,317 +3.5%
1960 7,667 −7.8%
1970 8,234 +7.4%
1980 8,429 +2.4%
1990 7,911 −6.1%
2000 7,597 −4.0%
2010 7,834 +3.1%
2020 7,536 −3.8%
Source: and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,834 people, 3,378 households, and 1,973 families living in the city. The population density was 1,509.4 inhabitants per square mile (582.8/km2). There were 3,773 housing units at an average density of 727.0 per square mile (280.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.0% White, 1.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 3,378 households, of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.6% were non-families. 35.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.87.

The median age in the city was 38.8 years. 23.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.9% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 17.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.


Creston is served by the Creston Community School District:

  • Creston High School
  • Creston Middle School
  • Creston Elementary School

Private Schools in Creston include:

  • St. Malachy School (K-8) of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines
  • Mayflower Heritage Christian Academy (K-8)


  • Southwestern Community College
  • Buena Vista University – Creston Campus

Notable people

  • Harry Archer, Broadway composer and bandleader
  • William Bell, tubist
  • Julee Cruise, actor and singer
  • Walter Cunningham (born 1932) astronaut on the Apollo 7 mission
  • Sherry Edmundson Fry, sculptor and co-founder of the American Army Camouflage Corps
  • Dick Wick Hall, writer and humorist
  • Jerry Harrington, Major League Baseball player
  • Bob Hawk, radio personality
  • Jerome C. Hunsaker (1886–1984), designer of flying boats and airships
  • James M. McCoy, 6th Chief Master Sergeant of the United States Air Force.
  • Edward E. Miller, U.S. representative from Illinois
  • Frosty Peters, American football player
  • Frank Phillips, founder of the Phillips Petroleum Company
  • John Robinson (born 1954), one of the most recorded drummers in history
  • Ray Sorensen, member of the Iowa House of Representatives
  • Phyllis Thede (born 1954), lived here as a child; since 2009 she has served as an Iowa state representative
  • Marcia Wallace (1942–2013), actress
  • Kiersten Warren, actress

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Creston (Iowa) para niños

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