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the seat of Allen County; population ~5,550
In January 1859 a meeting was held to locate a town for the express purpose of making it the seat of Allen County, over the Territorial Legislature's choice of Humboldt. A site was ultimately chosen, purchased, and surveyed into lots. The first building erected after the town was surveyed was a dwelling completed early in June 1859, by J. F. Colborn, who had lived on the claim of which the town site formed a part since 1857, and it was for his wife that the town was named.
In 1860, two small general stores moved from Cofachique to Iola. Soon came a dry goods store, a grocery, clothing store, and drug store, and by the end of the year the city had a population of about 150. Growth all but stopped upon outbreak of the Civil War, however, as nearly every able-bodied man in Iola, as well as the county, had entered the army.
Iola finally gained the county seat in 1865. It was incorporated as a city of the second class on February 28, 1870. The railroads arrived that same year, and the population grew to about 1,500.
Due to various local and national misfortunes, the town population remained stagnant for the next 25 years. Then, in 1895, giant natural gas pools were discovered in the area. In just nine years, from 1895 to 1904, Iola grew from a town of 1,567 people to a city of over 11,000.
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This page was last updated on September 22, 2017.