Charles City, Iowa
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Charles City is a city in and the county seat of Floyd County,
Iowa Iowa () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states: Wiscon ...

Iowa
. Charles City is a significant commercial and transportation center for the area. U.S. Routes 18 and
218 Year 218 ( CCXVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday A common year starting on Thursday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or wikt:bissextile, bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additi ...
,
Iowa Highway 14 Iowa Highway 14 is a state highway that runs from north to south across the state of Iowa. Highway 14 is 188 miles (302 kilometers) long. The southern terminus of Iowa Highway 14 is Corydon, Iowa, Corydon at an intersection with Iowa Highway 2. T ...
, and the
Canadian National The Canadian National Railway (french: Canadien National) is a Canadian Class I freight railway headquartered in Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the second-most populous city in Canada Canada is a country in th ...
and
Canadian Pacific The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) , known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996 and simply Canadian Pacific, is a historic Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada Canada is a count ...
railroads serve the city. The population was 7,396 at the time of the 2020 census, a decrease of 5.3%, from 7,812 in 2000.


History

The
Ho-Chunk people The Ho-Chunk, also known as Hoocągra or Winnebago, are a Siouan languages, Siouan-speaking Native Americans in the United States, Native American people whose historic territory includes parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. Today, H ...
, also known as Winnebago, had long occupied this area and had a village along the Cedar River. In 1851 Joseph Kelly, the first-known European-American settler in the area, came here after the Ho-Chunk had been pushed out. He believed that the site was ideal for a town, as it had water from the Cedar River and adjacent timberland to supply building needs. The settlement was first called "Charlestown" after his son. By 1852, twenty-five other settler families had joined Kelly. The town name was changed, first to "St. Charles" and then to "Charles City," to avoid duplication of other Iowa town names. Charles City became the county seat after Floyd County was established in 1851 and officially organized in 1854. Floyd County was named for Sergeant
Charles Floyd Charles is a masculine given name predominantly found in English language, English and French language, French speaking countries. It is from the French form ''Charles'' of a Germanic name ''Karl''. The original Anglo-Saxon was ''Churl, Ċea ...
, a member of the 1804
Lewis and Clark Expedition The Lewis and Clark Expedition from August 31, 1803, to September 25, 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the United States expedition to cross the newly acquired western portion of the country after the Louisiana Pur ...
. Charles City is known for the role it played in the history of the American
tractor A tractor is an engineering vehicle Heavy equipment or heavy machinery refers to heavy-duty vehicle Truck classifications are typically based upon the maximum loaded weight of the truck, typically using the gross vehicle weight ratin ...

tractor
. A native son
Charles Walter Hart Charles Walter Hart (July 6,1872–March 14,1937) was an American mechanical engineer, inventor, and businessman. Together with Charles Henry Parr, he founded a company that produced a commercially successful line of gasoline-powered tractors. Afte ...
, whose father owned three local farms, met Charles H. Parr in college. After graduating from the
University of Wisconsin A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several Discipline (academia), academic disciplines. Universities typi ...
, Hart and Parr developed a two-cylinder gasoline engine. They set up their Hart-Parr Gasoline Engine Company in Charles City in 1897. In 1901 the two founders coined the word "tractor", with Latin roots and a combination of the words "traction" and "power". In 1903 the firm built fifteen "tractors", the first successful production-model tractor line in the U.S. The 14,000-pound No. 3 is the oldest surviving internal combustion engine tractor in the United States. It is displayed at the Smithsonian
National Museum of American History The National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center collects, preserves, and displays the heritage of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Ame ...

National Museum of American History
in Washington D.C. In 1929, Hart-Parr was one of the four companies that merged to form
Oliver Farm Equipment Company The Oliver Farm Equipment Company was an American farm equipment manufacturer from the 20th century. It was formed as a result of a 1929 merger of four companies: the American Seeding Machine Company of Richmond, Indiana; Oliver Chilled Plow Wor ...
and finally the White Farm-New Idea Equipment Co. At its peak in the mid-1970s, the sprawling plant complex encompassed 23 acres and employed nearly 3,000 workers. The 1980s farm crisis and other economic pressures led to the closing of the plant in 1993. As of 2013, the vacant site stands ready for re-use. Although best known for producing tractors, the Hart-Parr company also made some of the first washing machines. They sold for $155 in the 1920s, and the buyer had the option of ordering either an electric or gasoline engine. The Floyd County Historical Museum preserves the plant's history and memories in an extensive collection of documents and artifacts. Charles City is the location of the last
lynching Lynching is an extrajudicial killing An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution or extralegal killing) is the homicide, killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any Judiciary, judicial proc ...

lynching
in Iowa, that of James Cullen in 1907. National women's rights leader
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt
spent her girlhood years on a farm south of Charles City. Catt is well known as a prominent leader of the woman's suffrage movement and was instrumental in gaining passage of the 19th Amendment, ratified on August 18, 1920, which granted women the right to vote. Carrie Catt also founded the
League of Women Voters The League of Women Voters (LWV) is a nonprofit organization in the United States that was formed to help women take a larger role in public affairs after they won the right to vote. It was founded in 1920 to support the new women suffrage rights ...
. Her home and a visitor's center are open for public viewing. On June 9, 2008, record flooding caused major damage in the town. Charles City's historic suspension bridge, which crossed over the Cedar River, collapsed. Numerous homes around the city were also destroyed. A new bridge, built with
FEMA The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the Federal government of the United States, U.S. United States fe ...

FEMA
and state funding, opened in early 2010. Charles City is the location of the Dr. Alvin L. Miller House, a
Usonia Usonia () is a word that was used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to refer to the United States in general (in preference to ''America''), and more specifically to his vision for the landscape of the country, including the urban planning ...
n house designed by
Frank Lloyd Wright Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, designer, writer, and educator. He designed more than 1,000 structures over a creative period of 70 years. Wright believed in designing in harmony with humanity and t ...

Frank Lloyd Wright
.


Tornadoes

Charles City is in a location subject to tornadoes, and has been severely damaged by them many times in its history. In the summer of 1858 (possibly July 21), while still known as the village of St. Charles, a "Terrific Tornado" was recorded. There were 16 deaths, 13 inside the village. The property value of buildings destroyed was into the thousands of dollars (1858 dollars), and the loss of crops was said to be "beyond competition", according to the newspaper account. On June 8th 1908 a tornado destroyed or substantially damaged around 200 homes and barns. Residents W. R. Beck and a child were killed. The path of the tornado ran through the southeast part of the city, missing the business district. Loss of property was fifty thousand dollars (1908 dollars). Many people around the region remember Charles City as the site of a devastating F5 tornado that ripped through town on May 15, 1968. It resulted in 13 dead, hundreds injured, and was one of the largest twisters ever recorded in the state, this storm destroyed much of the downtown – 256 businesses and 1,250 homes. Damage estimates were of more than $20 million.


Geography

According to the
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
, the city has a total area of , of which is land and is water.


Climate


Demographics

The peak of population was in 1950. The loss of industrial jobs has led to a decline in residents.


2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,652 people, 3,440 households, and 1,964 families residing in the city. The
population density Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

population density
was . There were 3,761 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the city was 92.7%
White White is the lightest color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the Unite ...
, 2.5%
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
, 0.2%
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
, 2.5%
Asian Asian may refer to: * Items from or related to the continent of Asia: ** Asian people, people in or descending from Asia ** Asian culture, the culture of the people from Asia ** Asian cuisine, food based on the style of food of the people from Asi ...
, 0.1%
Pacific Islander Pacific Islanders, Pacificer, Pasifika, or Pasefika, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) ...
, 1.0% from
other races Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon novel), a 1971 horror novel by Tom Tryon * The Other (short story ...
, and 1.1% from two or more races.
Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and ...
or
Latino Latino or Latinos most often refers to: * Latino (demonym), a term used in the United States for people with cultural ties to Latin America * Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States * The people or cultures of Latin America; ** Latin Am ...
of any race were 2.6% of the population. There were 3,440 households, of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.9% were non-families. 38.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.86. The median age in the city was 42.9 years. 23% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.7% were from 25 to 44; 24.5% were from 45 to 64; and 23.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.0% male and 53.0% female.


2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,812 people, 3,339 households, and 2,083 families residing in the city. The
population density Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

population density
was 1,269.9 people per square mile (490.4/km2). There were 3,597 housing units at an average density of 584.7 per square mile (225.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.92%
White White is the lightest color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the Unite ...
, 0.44%
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
, 0.15%
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
, 0.65%
Asian Asian may refer to: * Items from or related to the continent of Asia: ** Asian people, people in or descending from Asia ** Asian culture, the culture of the people from Asia ** Asian cuisine, food based on the style of food of the people from Asi ...
, 0.19%
Pacific Islander Pacific Islanders, Pacificer, Pasifika, or Pasefika, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) ...
, 0.79% from
other races Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon novel), a 1971 horror novel by Tom Tryon * The Other (short story ...
, and 0.86% from two or more races.
Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and ...
or
Latino Latino or Latinos most often refers to: * Latino (demonym), a term used in the United States for people with cultural ties to Latin America * Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States * The people or cultures of Latin America; ** Latin Am ...
of any race were 2.12% of the population. There were 3,339 households, out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.82. Age spread: 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 24.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.8 males. The median income for a household in the city was $30,568, and the median income for a family was $38,297. Males had a median income of $29,536 versus $19,904 for females. The
per capita income Per capita income (PCI) or total income measures the average income earned per person in a given area (city, region, country, etc.) in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area's total income by its total population. Per capita i ...
for the city was $16,659. About 8.5% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the
poverty line The poverty threshold, poverty limit, poverty line or breadline is the minimum level of income In microeconomics, income is the Consumption (economics), consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, w ...
, including 14.6% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.


Education

Charles City is served by the Charles City Community School District., which includes the Charles City High School. There were two former institutions called Charles City College, the first a Methodist college that was absorbed into
Morningside College Morningside University is a private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church and located in Sioux City, Iowa. Founded in 1894 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, Morningside University has 21 buildings on a campus in Sioux City (ar ...
in the 1910s, and the second a short lived branch of
Parsons College Parsons College was a private university, private Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college located in Fairfield, Iowa. The school was named for its wealthy benefactor, Lewis B. Parsons Sr., and was founded in 1875 with one b ...
in the late 1960s. The Charles City Public Library hosts the Mooney Art Collection, a set of original art prints by Rembrandt, Dali, Picasso, and Goya.


Media

Charles City is served by the following local media outlets: ; Radio * KCHA-FM 95.9 – North Iowa's Best Variety! * KQOP-LP 94.7 FM, Charles City Educational Association * KCHA-AM Fabulous 1580 – The Fab Oldies Channel! ; Newspaper * Charles City Press ; TV * KIMT, CBS 3 * KAAL, American Broadcasting Company, ABC 6 * KWWL (TV), KWWL, National Broadcasting Company, NBC 7


Notable people

*Jeff Betts (born 1970), three time Association football, Soccer All Star and the 2000 World Indoor Soccer League Coach of the Year *Pansy E. Black (1890–1957), science fiction and fantasy writer *Carrie Chapman Catt (1859–1947), president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, NAWSA, founder of the
League of Women Voters The League of Women Voters (LWV) is a nonprofit organization in the United States that was formed to help women take a larger role in public affairs after they won the right to vote. It was founded in 1920 to support the new women suffrage rights ...
and International Alliance of Women, IAW *Robert Coover (born 1932), author and academic *James E. Gritzner (born 1947), United States federal judge *
Charles Walter Hart Charles Walter Hart (July 6,1872–March 14,1937) was an American mechanical engineer, inventor, and businessman. Together with Charles Henry Parr, he founded a company that produced a commercially successful line of gasoline-powered tractors. Afte ...
(1872–1937), Hart-Parr Gasoline Engine Company, coined the word tractor *Mark Kuhn (born 1950), politician and Iowa State Representative from the 14th District *Vive Lindaman (1877–1927), professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1906 to 1909 *Marlys Millhiser (1938-2017), author of mysteries (Charlie Greene series) and stand-alone horror novels,, such as The Mirror (Millhiser), The Mirror *George Nelson (astronaut), George Nelson (born 1950), astronaut participated in three missions *Henry Otis Pratt (1838–1931), two-term Republican U.S. Representative from Iowa's 4th congressional district *Paul F. Riordan (1920–1944), WWII veteran, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II during the Battle of Monte Cassino *Helen M. Schultz (1898-1974), founder of the Red Ball Transportation Company, originally headquartered in Charles City *Survivor: Gabon, Susie Smith (born 1960), runner-up on ''Survivor: Gabon'' *Robert James Waller (1939-2017), author of the 1992 best-selling novel ''The Bridges of Madison County'', which was adapted as a 1995 movie starring Meryl Streep and producer and director Clint Eastwood. *Wimpy Winther (born 1947), professional football player in the National Football League from 1971 to 1972


See also

*Floyd County Court House


References


External links


Official Charles City website

Chamber website

Charles City Community website

Charles City Schools website

Charles City Public Library website

Official Floyd County website


Comprehensive Statistical Data and more about Charles City, Iowa
Floyd County Museum

{{authority control Charles City, Iowa, Cities in Iowa Cities in Floyd County, Iowa County seats in Iowa