History of Nodaway Iowa


The land, which is the present site of Nodaway, was bought from the government on June 2, 1854 by James Harlow. This was virgin soil with timber covering most of the territory.

A stage coach trail, “The Blue Grass Trail,” lead westward to Council Bluffs, following the East Nodaway River. Noah Odell erected the “Wayside Inn” on this stage line in 1856. This was the home of Gilbert Rider for many years. Now being preserved by Don Narigon as a Historical Site.

The CB&Q Railroad extended through Nodaway by 1869, stretching from Chicago to Denver. A second track was added in 1897. The first passenger train stopped at the depot on July 4, 1870.

Charles Shipley, one of the first settlers, settled 1/4 mile south of Nodaway.

The small settlement was growing on the bank of the East Nodaway river. It was first named “East Nodaway.” A new name, “Rachelle” was proposed, adopted and recorded in Washington D.C. during the 1870’s. The name was unpopular, however, and it was changed to “Nodaway” again. The name “Nodawa” (meaning crossed without a canoe) was applied by a party of The Dakota’s while traveling through this part of Iowa. The name “Nodawa” was recorded in the journal of Lewis and Clark during their 1804 expedition.

The town of Nodaway, Adams County, was incorporated under the Laws of The State of Iowa on May 28, 1900.


Mary Ann (Hendrickson) Dunkin , Excerpts from “Nodaway, Iowa - Past and Present,” by the Nodaway Bicentennial Committee, 1976.

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