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Osceola, Iowa
20160614 168 Osceola, Iowa.jpg
Location of Osceola, Iowa
Location of Osceola, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Clarke
 • Total 7.60 sq mi (19.68 km2)
 • Land 7.26 sq mi (18.81 km2)
 • Water 0.33 sq mi (0.86 km2)
1,142 ft (348 m)
 • Total 5,415
 • Density 745.56/sq mi (287.85/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 641
FIPS code 19-59835
GNIS feature ID 0459906

Osceola is a city in Clarke County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,415 at the time of the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Clarke County.


Osceola is located at 41°2′3″N 93°46′6″W / 41.03417°N 93.76833°W / 41.03417; -93.76833 (41.034179, -93.768354), at the junction of Interstate 35 and U.S. Routes 34 and 69. It lies 35 miles (56 km) north of the Missouri border, and about 40 miles south of Des Moines.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.68 square miles (17.30 km2), of which, 6.48 square miles (16.78 km2) is land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) is water.


Masonic Bldg Osceola Iowa
The historic and endangered Masonic Building

Osceola was named after a Seminole Indian leader of the same name. Osceola is an anglicised form of Asiyahola: assi, from a ceremonial yaupon holly tea or "black drink" and yaholi, the name of a Creek god intoned when the drink was served.

The Masonic Building stands on the public square in Osceola. Built in 1872, this Italianate building was used by Osceola Lodge No. 77 of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, and the main floor was a bank and hardware store. This building was placed on the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance’s Most Endangered list due to its poor repair and lack of preservation plan. In 2011 the building was renovated with help from various grants. The second and third floors were converted into upscale apartments. The China Star restaurant was remodeled and now utilizes both halves of the lower level. The exterior received an overdue face lift to restore the building to its original appearance. All of the windows were replaced and the stucco was repaired and painted. Structural improvements included foundation work and a new roof. The front entrances were replaced with a more traditional wood columns and tall glass windows.

Lakeside Casino Resort operates on West Lake. The river boat-themed casino has been in continuous operation since about 2000, although it has been bought and sold twice since it has opened. Terrible Herbst gaming purchased the casino around 2005. After a major renovation to the complex, which included a $1 million 132-foot-tall sign along the adjacent interstate, took place around 2006. The parent company filed for bankruptcy and the casino was sold yet again. The original and familiar Lakeside name was brought back and the large cowboy sign along the interstate was converted into a slightly smaller, more traditional sign.

A Pilot truck stop was built in late 2010 along the interstate, in place of the former Terribles Casino gas station.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1870 1,298 —    
1880 1,769 +36.3%
1890 2,120 +19.8%
1900 2,505 +18.2%
1910 2,416 −3.6%
1920 2,684 +11.1%
1930 2,871 +7.0%
1940 3,281 +14.3%
1950 3,422 +4.3%
1960 3,350 −2.1%
1970 3,124 −6.7%
1980 3,750 +20.0%
1990 4,164 +11.0%
2000 4,659 +11.9%
2010 4,929 +5.8%
2020 5,415 +9.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

At the 2010 census there were 4,929 people, 1,974 households, and 1,208 families living in the city. The population density was 760.6 inhabitants per square mile (293.7/km2). There were 2,184 housing units at an average density of 337.0 per square mile (130.1/km2). The racial makup of the city was 91.0% White, 0.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 17.6%.

Of the 1,974 households 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.8% of households were one person and 15.8% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.10.

The median age was 36.8 years. 26.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.5% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 17.3% were 65 or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Osceola, operating its California Zephyr daily in both directions between Chicago and Emeryville. A bus connection is available from Osceola to Des Moines.


Notable people

  • Dorothy Clark, author known under joint pen name Clark McMeekin; born in Osceola
  • Dwight Harken, surgeon and cardiac surgery innovator
  • Edgar Howard, Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska and sixth-term member of the [[United States House of
  • W. Ward Reynoldson, Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court
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