Marshalltown, Iowa

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Marshalltown, Iowa
Main Street Marshalltown (2011)
Main Street Marshalltown (2011)
Location within Marshall County and Iowa
Location within Marshall County and Iowa
Coordinates: 42°2′30″N 92°54′52″W / 42.04167°N 92.91444°W / 42.04167; -92.91444Coordinates: 42°2′30″N 92°54′52″W / 42.04167°N 92.91444°W / 42.04167; -92.91444
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedMarch 5, 1923[1]
 • MayorJoel Greer[2]
 • City AdministratorJessica Kinser
 • Total19.31 sq mi (50.01 km2)
 • Land19.28 sq mi (49.93 km2)
 • Water0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
942 ft (287 m)
 • Total27,552
 • Estimate 
 • Rank17th in Iowa
 • Density1,400/sq mi (550/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code641
FIPS code19-49755
GNIS ID0458824
WebsiteOfficial website

Marshalltown is a city in, and the county seat of, Marshall County, Iowa, United States.[6] The population was 27,552 in the 2010 census, compared to 26,009 in 2000.[7][8]


Henry Anson was the first European settler in what is now called Marshalltown. In April 1851, Anson found what he described as “the prettiest place in Iowa.”[9] On a high point between the Iowa River and Linn Creek, Anson built a log cabin. A plaque at 112 West Main Street marks the site of the cabin.[10] In 1853 Anson named the town Marshall, after Marshall, Michigan, a former residence of his.[11]

The town became Marshalltown in 1862 because another Marshall already existed in Henry County, Iowa (In 1880, Marshall's name changed to Wayland). With the help of Potawatomi chief Johnny Green, Anson persuaded early settlers to stay in the area. In the mid-1850s, Anson donated land for a county courthouse. Residents donated money for the building's construction. In 1863 the title of county seat transferred from the village of Marietta to Marshalltown. The young town began growing. By 1900, Marshalltown had 10,000 residents. Many industries began developing in Marshalltown, like Fisher Controls, Lennox International and Marshalltown Company.


Adrian Constantine "Cap" Anson, son of Henry and Jennette Anson, was the first European child born in the new pioneer town and is today known as Marshalltown's “first son”. Adrian became a Major League Baseball player and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. He was regarded as one of the greatest players of his era and one of the first superstars of the game.[12]

Adrian Cap Anson

Baseball steadily became popular as Marshalltown grew in the mid-1800s. Adrian's brother Sturgis also became a talented baseball player and both went to play on intra-school teams at the University of Notre Dame. Both later returned to Marshalltown to play baseball for the town team. Along with their father Henry, the town's founder, they put together a team and became the most prominent team in the state of Iowa.[13] The Marshalltown team, with Henry Anson at third base, Adrian's brother Sturgis in center field, and Adrian at second base, won the Iowa state championship in 1868. In 1870 Marshalltown played an exhibition game with the talented Rockford Forest Citys. Although Marshalltown lost the game, Rockford's management offered contracts to all three of the Ansons. Adrian accepted the contract, which began his professional career in baseball in 1871.

Baseball continued its popularity in Marshalltown. In the early 1880s Billy Sunday played for the town baseball team.[14] In 1882, with Sunday in left field, the Marshalltown team defeated the state champion Des Moines team 13-4.[15] Marshalltown later formed a minor league team naming it after the Anson family, the Marshalltown Ansons. From 1914-1928 the team played in the Central Association and Mississippi Valley League.

2018 tornado[edit]

On July 19, 2018 at 4:32 p.m. local time, an EF3 tornado with peak winds of 144 mph devastated the north side of Marshalltown. It destroyed the spire from the top of the courthouse, along with several homes, businesses, and historic downtown buildings. It left a path of destruction 1200 yards wide (.682 mi) and just over 8.9 miles long.[16] There were no deaths as a result of the storm or its aftermath.[16]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.31 square miles (50.01 km2), of which 19.28 square miles (49.93 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.[3] Neighboring counties include Hardin and Grundy to the north, Tama County to the east, Jasper to the south, and Story County to the west.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201827,068[5]−1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 27,552 people, 10,335 households, and 6,629 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,429.0 inhabitants per square mile (551.7/km2). There were 11,171 housing units at an average density of 579.4 per square mile (223.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.8% White, 2.2% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 7.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.1% of the population.

There were 10,335 households of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.9% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.18.

The median age in the city was 37.3 years. 26.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 16.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the Census[18] of 2000, there were 26,009 people, 10,175 households, and 6,593 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,442.7 people per square mile (557.0/km²). There were 10,857 housing units at an average density of 602.2 per square mile (232.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.8% White, 1.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 8.6% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.6% of the population.

There were 10,175 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.02.

Age spread: 24.5% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,688, and the median income for a family was $45,315. Males had a median income of $32,800 versus $23,835 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,113. About 8.8% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.


Local businesses[edit]

  • Marshalltown Company, a manufacturer of American tools for many construction and archaeological applications, is based in Marshalltown.
  • The Big Treehouse, a large tourist attraction located outside of Marshalltown.

Top employers[edit]

According to Marshalltown's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[19] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 JBS USA (formerly Swift & Company) 2,400
2 Emerson Electric - Fisher Flow Controls 1,135
3 Marshalltown Community School District 950
4 Lennox Industries, Inc. 915
5 Iowa Veterans Home 865
6 UnityPoint Health 400
7 Hy-Vee 340
8 Walmart 300
9 Marshalltown Community College 245
10 City of Marshalltown 199
11 McFarland Clinic PC 185
12 Marshall County 183


Marshalltown Community School District serves Marshalltown.

The first schoolhouse in Marshalltown was a log cabin built in 1853. The building stood on Main Street between Third and Fourth Streets. Neary Hoxie served as the first teacher.[20]

In 1874 high school classes were held in an old building on North Center Street. The high school had 45 students and C.P. Rogers served as the school's superintendent.[20]

Prior to 1900 Anson School on South Center Street functioned as a primary school. The building was divided into two sections, one for grades 1 through 4 and another for grades 5 through 8. The curriculum included reading, arithmetic, spelling, geography, history, and writing. The upper grades also received teaching in agriculture and hygiene.[20]

In 1883 a schoolhouse was built which was destroyed by fire in 1892. Until a new school could be built, classroom space was rented on Main Street. On September 6, 1894 a new school was built at a cost of $70,000. The structure had two floors of classrooms, a basement, and an auditorium on the third floor. The building was constructed of St. Louis pressed brick, Portage red sandstone, with oak, cypress and yellow pine woodwork. The senior high later moved to a new building in 1927.[20]

Franklin Elementary School was originally built in 1913, but was later destroyed and replaced with another one in its place with the same name. The new building was constructed in the early 1990s and opened at the start of the 1995-1996 school year. The school currently enrolls 400 students and employs 60 staff members.

Lenihan Intermediate School was initially built in 1965 as a Catholic high school at a cost of $775,000. It was designed to house 300 students. After five years in operation the administrators of Lenihan High School found it was financially impossible to continue providing quality education for their students. At the same time, the public school in Marshalltown was overcrowded with students at the junior high school level. The solution decided upon by both parties was to sell Lenihan to the public school system and to make the school a 7, 8, 9 junior high. The transaction was completed and Lenihan Junior High became a reality in the fall of 1970. The Catholic school name, mascot and school colors were all retained in the new public junior high school.

The need for additional space at Lenihan Junior High resulted in the construction of six rooms on the east side of the building in 1975. The addition consisted of three regular classrooms, an art room and two industrial arts facilities.

In the late 1970s Lenihan Junior High's enrollment was in the 470's but then declined to a total of approximately 400 students. In 1984, the 6th grade was added to the school, which briefly put the enrollment over 500. However, with declining enrollment the school housed between 400-450 students in grades 6-9 in the later part of the 1980s. In the spring of 1988, the school board voted to close Lenihan at the end of the 1989 school year. An increase in population coupled with troubles equally distributing resources between two middle schools—Miller Middle School and Anson Middle School—led to a reorganization and unification of grades 5 and above within the city. Anson Middle School was closed as a school and now houses the district's Building and Grounds Department. Lenihan Junior High after its closure had served in various administrative functions, but the Marshalltown Community School District renovated it and the building became Lenihan Intermediate School which opened for the 2006-2007 school year.[21]



US 30.svg U.S. Highway 30 bypasses the town to the south, while Iowa 14.svg Iowa Highway 14 runs through the center of town. An expressway, Iowa 330.svg Iowa Highway 330 connects Marshalltown to Des Moines.

Marshalltown has bus (Marshalltown Municipal Transit or MMT) and taxicab services. It is also served by Trailways Coach Nationwide.

A municipal airport serves the county approximately four miles north of town. The closest commercial airport is Des Moines International Airport, 53 miles (85.3 km) miles to the southwest.

There currently is no passenger rail service.

Notable people[edit]

Sister city relations[edit]


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External links[edit]