Founding date/year: 1886

Population: 146 (2020 Census)

In 1880, Dickens was first settled by the Dickerson brothers and believed to be one source for the "Dickens" name along with the story of a lady exclaiming "Dickens" when their first town name choice was already taken for Iowa.



Founding date/year: 1901

Population: 575 (2020 Census)

Famous Alumni: 1960s Cattlefeeder girl’s team members Jeannette Olson Lietz and Peg Peterson Tyler, Iowa Basketball Hall of Fame

Everly was settled in 1884 and originally named Clark after a local farmer but, after finding another Iowa town by the name of Clarke, they changed it to Everly in 1886.The Everly Bank was robbed by Bonnie and Clyde on May 3, 1934 and is believed to be one of the last banks robbed by the duo.



Founding date/year: January 30, 1912

Population: 230 (2020 Census)

Fostoria was first settled in 1882 due to the railroad line from Spencer to Spirit Lake. In 1895 a group of farmers created the Fostoria Creamery Company that earned the reputation for the best "sweet cream butter." This butter was shipped and sold in New York City until after WWII when population of dairy cows declined in the area and the creamery closed in 1963.


Gillett Grove

Founding date/year: 1874

Population: 32

First settlers appeared in Gillett Grove in 1856 and the town, named after the Gillett brothers, was incorporated on May 13, 1874. The town was originally located west of the river and one and half miles North until 1899 when it was moved to the east side of the river along with the arrival of the railroad.



Founding Date/Year: 1916

Population: 30 (2020 Census)

Albert and Lizzie Greene settled in 1869 half mile south of the current Greenville location. 1900 saw the railroad pass through from Storm Lake to Spencer, easily connecting Greenville to both communities. Greenville was incorporated in 1916. The town also was the earliest Friends Church in Clay County, being present from 1879 until 1981 when the church closed.



Founding date/year: 1856

Population: 325

Peterson was established in 1856 by a small group of families, including the Kirchner's. The Kirchner's were visited on November 23, 1856, by Inkpaduta's band of Native Americans. Inkpaduta's band visited again on February 14, 1857, before going north to Spirit Lake. Originally the Kirchners called the area "Long Grove" and Howard Peterson, owner of the mill, wanted to name the area "Howard" but due to another Howard, Iowa the federal postal department named the area "Peterson" instead. The first frame house was built by the Kirchners and still stands in Peterson along with another of the Kirchner homes in town available for tours. The first county seat was Peterson from 1860 until 1871 when the county put it to a vote and moved the seat to Spencer.



Founding date/year: 1923

Population: 49 (2020 Census)

Rossie began in 1900 as the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad line passed through the county from Des Moines to Sibley. Originally residents wanted to name the community Davis but due to Davis, Iowa already existing they came up with Rossie. Rossie was incorporated in 1923 and had one of the few banks in the county to survive the Great Depression.



Founding date/year: 1910

Population: 379 (2020 Census)

Started April 27, 1900, when Mr. C. Mortensen purchased 160 acres from the Northern Iowa Land Co. Lots were platted soon after. Eliza Nelson chose the name of Royal as the first postmaster of the town. Royal was incorporated in 1910.



Founding date/year: 1871

Population: 11,356 (2020 Census)

Famous Alumni: Vicki Myron, bestselling author of Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World; Alumni Lt. Gen. Michelle D Johnson of the Air Force, former senior vice president and head of referee operations for the National Basketball Association 

Claim to fame: Spencer Fire - On June 27, 1931 a fire started in a downtown business that ultimately destroyed 80 businesses, caused $2 million in damage and led to Iowa and other states banning fireworks.
Bulldog Foot Feed - One of the early foot pedals/ gas pedals was made here in Spencer by Walter Thomas called the Bulldog Foot Feed.
Clay County Fair - Born out of a series of homestead era fairs, agricultural society expositions, a state high-wheel-bicycle meet, a trotting association and community barbecues and picnics, the fair made its debut in the modern era in 1917. The fair now, starts mid-September annually, attracts more than 300,000 visitors.

Spencer was first settled in 1866. The city was named in the honor of U.S. Senator George E. Spencer. In 1871, the city became the county seat of Clay County, which was organized in 1858. Spencer is considered to be a hub of Northwest Iowa, with the largest population in Clay County and a retail pull of over 70,000 people.



Founding Date/Year: 1900

Population: 138 (2020 Census)

Webb was founded in 1900 as a rural based community with strong family values. Webb was originally known as Glenora, but F.D. White changed the name to Webb, in honor of his mother’s maiden name.  The town once boasted four grocery stores, two creameries, three filling stations, and a band stand.  Stores were open on Saturday nights and free movies were shown in the summer. Disaster struck the town in 1913 and 1914, when fires destroyed first the east business block and then the west business block of the town.


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