Hometown History

Historic Home Towns In Iowa. Iowa’s past is one rich with history, and even now, you can visit these historic towns to get a little glimpse of how life was back in the day.

October 23rd, 2023 – Featured Place: Monroe County

Tune in to Classic Rock 101.5 KISS FM and Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites 92.7 KTWA this week for our coverage of Monroe County Hometown History!

Monroe County Courthouse

Monroe County, originally called Kishkekosh County after a Fox Indian chief, is named after the author of the Monroe Doctrine and fifth president of the United States James Monroe. The county was established in 1843. When the county was being settled, there was considerable controversy over the location of the county seat. The battle was between the towns of Princeton (now Albia) and Clark’s Point (Clarksville).

On August 5, 1845 a committee appointed to choose the county seat selected Princeton as the county seat. In 1846 the Iowa Legislature changed the name of Princeton to Albia, because there was already a Princeton in Iowa. In 1856 Albia was incorporated as a town. The town was named after Albia, New York, the former home of an early settler.

In the early 20th century, it was a center of bituminous coal mining and in 1910 had a population of more than 25,000. As mining declined, people moved elsewhere for work. In the 2020 census, the population was 7,577.

The town of Buxton in southeastern Iowa was unique in that a majority of its residents were African American. The Consolidation Coal Company worked for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. Having a hard time recruiting white miners, Consolidation Coal sent agents to southern states to hire African-American workers. In 1873, it founded the town of Buxton and opened nearby mines. It grew quickly and, according to one source, became the largest coal town west of the Mississippi. In the 1905 census, the town boasted 2,700 African American and 1,991 whites. Buxton coal production peaked during WWI but afterward, mechanization and conversion of train engines to diesel fuel decreased the demand for coal. By 1919, Buxton’s population had declined to only 400 and The last mine closed in 1927. Very little physical evidence of the town remains today.

Hometown History is Brought to you by:



  • Albia Chamber Main Street
  • Albia State Farm
  • Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative
  • Monroe County Hospital and Clinics
  • The Tie Dye Shop & Boutique

  • Albia and Centerville Hy-Vee
  • Bluff Creek Archery
  • First Iowa State Bank
  • NAPA Auto