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Indianola, Iowa
National Balloon Classic in Indianola, Iowa
National Balloon Classic in Indianola, Iowa
Location of Indianola, Iowa
Location of Indianola, Iowa
Indianola, Iowa is located in the United States
Indianola, Iowa
Indianola, Iowa
Location in the United States
Country United States
State  Iowa
County Warren
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Total 11.44 sq mi (29.62 km2)
 • Land 11.44 sq mi (29.62 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
968 ft (295 m)
 • Total 15,833
 • Density 1,384.61/sq mi (534.60/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 515
FIPS code 69-38280
GNIS feature ID 0457810

Indianola is a city in Warren County, Iowa, United States, located 14 miles (23 km) south of downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The population was 15,833 at the time of the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Warren County. Indianola is home to the National Balloon Classic, a nine-day hot air balloon festival held annually in the summer, the Des Moines Metro Opera, a world renowned major American Summer Opera Festival, and Simpson College.


Indianola was founded in 1849 as the county seat of Warren County. The town was located near the geographic center of the new county. The town's name was taken from a newspaper account of a Texas town of the same name.

Indianola was incorporated in 1863.


Indianola is located at 41°21′42″N 93°33′47″W / 41.36167°N 93.56306°W / 41.36167; -93.56306 (41.361756, -93.562987). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.25 square miles (29.14 km2), all of it land.

The Summerset Trail's southern terminus at Indianola.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1860 836 —    
1870 1,428 +70.8%
1880 2,146 +50.3%
1890 2,254 +5.0%
1900 3,261 +44.7%
1910 3,283 +0.7%
1920 3,628 +10.5%
1930 3,488 −3.9%
1940 4,123 +18.2%
1950 5,145 +24.8%
1960 7,062 +37.3%
1970 8,852 +25.3%
1980 10,843 +22.5%
1990 11,340 +4.6%
2000 12,998 +14.6%
2010 14,782 +13.7%
2020 15,833 +7.1%
Source: U.S. Decennial Census

In 2005, a special census was conducted that revised Indianola's population to 14,156.

As of 2013, there were 15,108 people, 5,477 households, and 3,579 families living in the city. The population density was 1,314.0 inhabitants per square mile (507.3/km2). There were 5,893 housing units at an average density of 523.8 per square mile (202.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.9% White, 0.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

Of the 5,477 households 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.7% were non-families. 28.6% of households were one person and 13.5% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.98.

The median age was 34.1 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 15.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 22.1% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.7% male and 53.3% female.

Arts and culture

Indianola is also the home of the National Balloon Classic and National Balloon Museum.

Points of interest

Buxton Park Gazebo Indianola Iowa
Gazebo and flower gardens in Buxton Park Arboretum
National Balloon Museum Indianola Iowa
National Hot Air Balloon Museum


  • Indianola has a municipal, Gigabit-capable, fiber optic network and entrepreneurial development programs that links STEM-related activities at its schools and Simpson College to the local tech economy.


Public school system

Indianola is served by the Indianola Community School District.

Indianola has four elementary schools:

  • Whittier Elementary
  • Emerson Elementary
  • Irving Elementary
  • Wilder Elementary

Indianola Middle School is the only middle school.
Indianola High School is the only senior high school.

Colleges and universities

Simpson College, a liberal arts college of the United Methodist Church, is in Indianola, and was founded in 1860.




Iowa Highway 92 runs east and west through the city and crosses US Highways 65 and 69 southeast of the central business district.


Indianola no longer has railroad service. At one time, it served as a terminal point for a branch line of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad which came off the CB&Q mainline at Indianola Junction which was 4 miles west of Chariton. There was a brick and stucco depot that stood across the tracks from the Rock Island depot. This line was abandoned in the early 1960s.

The other railroad was the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad which branched off a branch line from Carlisle, Iowa which is just southeast of Des Moines to Summerset Junction a few miles north of Indianola and on into Winterset. The Winterset to Summerset Junction portion of the line was discontinued in the early 1960s leaving the Indianola to Carlisle line in place. There was a brick Rock Island depot just to the west of US Highway 65 & 69 in the center of Indianola. This line maintained sporadic service until the Rock Island went bankrupt in 1980. The line was then operated by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad until the early 1990s at which point the line was abandoned back to Carlisle. The line was converted to the Summerset Trail from Indianola to Carlisle after abandonment.

The Rock Island and CB&Q lines both came in from the east and paralleled each other as they came into Indianola. They could interchange cars and there was at one point, first class Pullman passenger trains came down the Rock Island and then moved the CB&Q railroad to Chariton and on to St. Joseph Missouri. The Rock Island purchased a portion of the CB&Q after it was abandoned. Freight cars were sometimes stored there.

Air Service

Scheduled passenger service and general aviation services are provided by Des Moines International Airport which is 13 miles NW of Indianola. There is two privately-owned airports near Indianola. Nash Field is 4 miles south of Indianola and is open to the public. Laverty Field is 3 miles north of Indianola and requires prior permission to land.

Notable people

“FI0002378,” Indianola, IA 1990. Donated by Boylan Margie / Fortepan Iowa. CC-BY-SA,
  • Casey Blake, baseball player and assistant coach for the Indianola High School girls basketball team
  • FI0002379
    “FI0002379,” Indianola, IA 1990. Donated by Boylan Margie / Fortepan Iowa. CC-BY-SA,
    Todd Blythe, former football player for the Arena Football League, NFL, and the Canadian Football League
  • George Washington Carver, botanical researcher and agronomy educator
  • Dayton Duncan, writer and documentary filmmaker
  • Junior D. Edwards, posthumous Medal of Honor honoree
  • Erasmus Haworth, geologist
  • James C. Hickman, actuary
  • Paul Homan (1893–1969), economist
  • John Paul Jones, painter
  • Lane Sisters, four sibling singers
  • Ralph Parcaut, wrestler
  • Steve Spray, golfer
  • Chris Street, Iowa Hawkeye basketball player
  • Edwin Edgar Voigt, bishop of the Methodist Church
  • Ilo Browne Wallace, Second Lady of the United States, wife of Vice President Henry A. Wallace
  • Ed Yost, inventor of the modern hot air balloon
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