Algona, Iowa is a small town located in Kossuth County. The town has a rich history and has played a significant role in shaping Iowa's history. From its inception to modern times, Algona has witnessed several historical events that had a significant impact on the town and the state. Here are seven historical events that have taken place near Algona, Iowa.
1. Algona's Founding
Algona was founded on May 1, 1854. The town got its name from the Algona Plantation located in Virginia. The town's founders, Ambrose A. Call and Asa C. Call, were from the state of New York, and they named the town after a Native American word that meant "surrounded by trees."
2. Underground Railroad
Algona played a significant role in the Underground Railroad as the town was home to several abolitionist families who helped slaves escape to freedom. The local courthouse and school were reportedly used as stops on the Underground Railroad, and many runaway slaves passed through Algona on their journey to freedom.
3. The Civil War
Algona played its part in the Civil War. Over 300 men from Kossuth County fought in the war, and several historic sites pay homage to those brave souls. The Kossuth County War Memorial is one such site that honors the soldiers from Algona and surrounding areas.
4. The Great Railroad Strike of 1888
The Great Railroad Strike of 1888 was a pivotal moment in Algona's history, as it led to the formation of one of the first labor unions in the state. Algona was a key rail center, and the town's railway workers went on strike in support of their rights. The strike lasted about two weeks and ended with the workers getting a wage increase.
5. The Algona Tornado of 1899
June 28, 1899, is a day that residents of Algona will never forget. A massive tornado swept through the town, destroying homes, businesses, and churches. The devastating twister caused over $100,000 in damage and claimed the lives of several residents. This event serves as a reminder of the severe weather that can occur in the Midwest.
6. The Farm Crisis
During the 1980s, farmers throughout the nation experienced a severe economic recession known as the Farm Crisis. Algona was no exception, and the town was hit hard by the crisis. Many farmers faced foreclosure, and several farm families were forced to sell their land and leave their homes.
7. Algona POW Camp
During World War II, Algona was home to a prisoner of war camp that housed over 3,500 German prisoners. The prisoners were used as laborers on local farms and factories, and they were paid for their work. The Algona POW camp served as an essential source of labor during the war and contributed to the town's economy.
In conclusion, Algona has been witness to several historical events that have shaped Iowa's history. From the town's founding to modern times, Algona has played a part in shaping the story of the state. These events serve as a reminder of the town's rich history and the significant role it has played in the state's development.
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