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Estherville, Iowa
Public Library, Estherville, Iowa
Public Library, Estherville, Iowa
Location of Estherville, Iowa
Location of Estherville, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Emmet
 • Total 5.39 sq mi (13.95 km2)
 • Land 5.39 sq mi (13.95 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,296 ft (395 m)
 • Total 5,904
 • Density 1,095.97/sq mi (423.17/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 712
FIPS code 19-25860
GNIS feature ID 0456397

Estherville is a city in Emmet County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,904 in the 2020 census, a decline from 6,656 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Emmet County. Estherville is home to the main campus of Iowa Lakes Community College.


Estherville was laid out in the late 1850s, and the town was incorporated in 1881. The city was named after Esther A. Ridley, one of the first white female settlers in the area.

Features and attractions

Estherville Lincoln Central Community School District will open the 2016-2017 school year with the elementary, middle, and high schools on a single campus. This is the final stage of a plan which has seen the construction of new elementary and middle school buildings as well as renovation of the high school. The district is in the process of implementing 1:1 technology, beginning with Chromebooks for all high school students during the 2015-2016 school year.

The recently completed Regional Wellness Center was a joint project of Estherville Lincoln Central Community School District and the National Guard. Beyond standard gym equipment, the facility boasts an indoor track, pools with slides, and multiple group fitness classes.

Estherville Iowa is home to a beautifully restored Carnegie Library. Library services include free public wireless internet.

The intersection of Iowa Highways 4 and 9 features a statue of the Estherville meteorite breaking up in flight.

Fort Defiance State Park offers a variety of trails and outdoor meeting areas. Another park along the West Fork Des Moines River offers popular fishing spots, a historic swinging footbridge, a walking trail, and the community outdoor pool.


Estherville's longitude and latitude coordinates in decimal form are 43.404375, -94.833592.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.32 square miles (13.78 km2), all of it land.

Estherville is nearby to Okoboji and Spirit Lake, Iowa.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1870 168 —    
1880 138 −17.9%
1890 1,475 +968.8%
1900 3,237 +119.5%
1910 3,404 +5.2%
1920 4,699 +38.0%
1930 4,940 +5.1%
1940 5,651 +14.4%
1950 6,719 +18.9%
1960 7,927 +18.0%
1970 8,108 +2.3%
1980 7,518 −7.3%
1990 6,720 −10.6%
2000 6,656 −1.0%
2010 6,360 −4.4%
2020 5,904 −7.2%
Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census
The population of Estherville, Iowa from US census data

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,360 people, 2,607 households, and 1,546 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,195.5 inhabitants per square mile (461.6/km2). There were 2,892 housing units at an average density of 543.6 per square mile (209.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.6% White, 0.8% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 5.4% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.0% of the population.

There were 2,607 households, of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.7% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 37.2 years. 23.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.3% were from 25 to 44; 23.9% were from 45 to 64; and 18% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.3% male and 49.7% female.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,279, and the median income for a family was $41,042. Males had a median income of $27,500 versus $20,441 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,488. About 5.0% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.4% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.


Steineisenmeteorit Estherville (Emmet Co, Iowa)
A piece of the stony-iron mesosiderite
found near Estherville
Estherville 1879 meteorite - Smithsonian
Estherville 1879 meteorite, at the Smithsonian

On May 10, 1879, a 455-pound meteorite fell to earth in Emmet County a few miles north of Estherville, and has become known as the Estherville Meteorite. When it struck it buried itself 15 feet in the ground. It is made of mesosiderite. Portions of the meteorite are on display in the Estherville Public Library, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Museum Reich der Kristalle in Munich and the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.


Estherville was home to minor league baseball in 1912. The Estherville team won the Championship in the 1912 Iowa State League, an Independent level league. The team was managed by Harry Welch.


Estherville–Lincoln Central Community School District operates area public schools. It was established on July 1, 1997, by the merger of the Estherville and Lincoln Central school districts.

Notable people

  • William M. McFarland (1848–1905), McFarland started the Brooklyn Chronicle newspaper in Brooklyn, Iowa, and then the Estherville Vindicator newspaper in Estherville. While living in Estherville, McFarland served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1888 to 1892 and was a Republican. He then served as Iowa Secretary of State from 1891 to 1897.
  • Christopher Morphew (born 1967) grew up in Estherville. He is a noted American academic and the current dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education. He has held leadership positions in the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the American Educational Research Association.
  • Sherie Scheer (born 1940), photographer Born in Estherville, Iowa.
  • Frank P. Woods (1868–1944), five-term US Representative from 1909 to 1919

See also

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