About Monona

monona entrance sign

Monona, the Garden City, reflects the best of small town living.  Enjoy the aquatic center, three beautiful parks, and the unique Butterfly Gardens & Trails.  Our Monona Historical Museum boasts the largest known display of hand-carved chains, among other treasures.  Fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, & hiking are enjoyed by locals & visitors alike.

Monona is highly regarded for our well-maintained homes, citizen involvement, excellent school system and quality of life. Winner of Iowa’s First Community Betterment Award and followed by numerous first place awards in many categories, Monona can attribute this success to the energy, cohesiveness, and vision of our citizens, government, and civic organizations.

Monona’s population from the 2010 Census is 1,549.

History of Monona

On July 13, 1840, Phineas Page and David Olmsted, two brothers from Vermont, crossed the Mississippi River and traveled ten miles to what would be their new home. The high rolling prairie, beautiful groves of timber and an excellent spring of water enticed them to stop from their travels on the Military Road that lead to Ft. Atkinson.

They were soon joined by others who took up land in the new territory, so that a plat for the town of Monona was requested in 1851. The town was to be named Winona, but the postal department discouraged that because of the town in Minnesota. The Indian name Mononah was chosen with the H being dropped later. It is the only town in Clayton County with an Indian name.

Businesses thrived, a Postmaster was appointed, a school house was built, and the churches all provided for the new community. The Methodists organized in 1855, Catholics in 1856 and the Lutherans in 1884.

An important event that kept the “City on a Hill” alive, was the arrival of the railroad on March 16, 1864. The potential for business brought settlers at a steady pace to 674 by 1900 and 1049 by 1920. It was dependent on the farming and many businesses supplied those needs.

In the years between the Olmsted’s settling of the Monona township to 1897 when the town was officially incorporated, magnificent changes have taken place. From that high ridge overlooking the vast prairie sprung a vibrant little community – a community that has weathered its share of growing pains in the pursuit of progress.

For more information about Monona please visit the Monona Historical Museum web site.