Oskaloosa is located in the state of Iowa and has a lot of culture to offer as well as great sights and interesting destinations. So if you’re planning a trip to Oskaloosa, you’ve come to the right place!
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Vacation in Oskaloosa
Found in the heart of Mahaska County, Oskaloosa is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Prairie.” This city is Iowa’s 5th largest, with a population of just over 11,000 people. Situated near the Des Moines River, Oskaloosa is home to many different businesses, industries, and cultural attractions.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Oskaloosa is the Maytag dairy farm. This farm is the birthplace of the famous Maytag blue cheese. Visitors can take a tour of the facility and learn all about the process of making blue cheese. At the end of the tour, guests are treated to a free sample of the delicious cheese.
For those interested in the arts, the Orpheum Theatre is a mustsee. This historic theatre first opened its doors in 1915 and has been restored to its original grandeur. The theatre hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including music, dance, and theatre productions.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy spending time at George M. Cohan Park. This park features a ninehole disc golf course, walking trails, and a playground. The park is also home to the Oskaloosa Municipal Band, which performs free concerts on Wednesday evenings during the summer months.
No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in Oskaloosa. This charming city offers a little something for everyone.
Sights in Oskaloosa
Settled along the picturesque Iowa River, Oskaloosa is a historic city rich in culture and heritage. With a population of just under 12,000 people, it’s the perfect size – not too big and not too small. And, it’s just a short drive from some of Iowa’s largest cities, making it the perfect place to live, work and play.
Oskaloosa is filled with beautiful parks, trails and public spaces. The city’s riverfront park, George M. Cowing Park, is a perfect place to enjoy a sunny day. The park features a playground, picnic shelters, a riverwalk and a Veterans Memorial.
Just across the river is Lake Pahoja, a popular spot for fishing, swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. And, for those who love to golf, there are several courses to choose from, including the Oskaloosa Municipal Golf Course.
The city’s history comes to life at the Oskaloosa Heritage Museum, which is housed in a Victorianstyle mansion. The museum features exhibits on the city’s founding, Native American history, the Civil War and more.
For the performing arts lover, Oskaloosa is home to the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts concerts, plays, musicals and other events throughout the year.
Oskaloosa is also a great place to do some shopping. The city’s historic downtown is filled with unique shops, boutiques and antique stores. And, just outside of town is the Outlets of Des Moines, where you can find all your favorite brands at discount prices.
No matter what your interests are, you’ll find something to love in Oskaloosa. It’s a great place to live, work and play.
History of Oskaloosa
Oskaloosa, Iowa, is a city in and the county seat of Mahaska County, in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 11,463 in the 2010 census, an increase from 10,938 in the 2000 census.
Oskaloosa is the home of William Penn University and the George C. Welch Factory Outlet Mall. The Oskaloosa Herald, established in 1856, is Iowa’s oldest newspaper still in publication. The letter “O” in the University of Iowa Hawkeyes’ logo was inspired by the Oskaloosa lettering on the former Maytag factory.
The area that would become Oskaloosa was first settled by Edgar and Almira Welch in 1841. In 1844, more settlers from Pennsylvania arrived to claims. That same year, the Alliance Colony from Ohio made claims in the southeast part of the county. Among these settlers was future vice president of the United States, Levi Morton. The town of Oskaloosa was platted in 1847. It was named Mahaska County’s seat in 1848. The post office was established in 1851.
In 1853, the first courthouse was completed and the county government moved to Oskaloosa from the log cabin of one of the county’s first settlers, Elisha Marshall. The second courthouse was completed in 1876. The present courthouse was built in 1954.
The first newspaper in Mahaska County, The Spectator, was established in Oskaloosa by Thurlow Weed and Moses Hawley in 1855. It was a weekly paper until 1856 when it became a semiweekly. The Oskaloosa Herald, the county’s second newspaper, was first published on October 17, 1856, by Galen Clark. It is Iowa’s oldest newspaper still in print.
In 1857, the first state Bank of Iowa branch west of the Des Moines River was established in Oskaloosa. That same year, the first bridge connecting Oskaloosa with what is now South Oskaloosa was built.
The Oskaloosa Female Seminary was established in 1858. It would later become William Penn College.
In 1863, the Shimmick House hotel was built. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Oskaloosa Public Library was established in 1881.
In 1882, the first Mahaska County Fair was held.
The WCFW radio station went on the air in 1922. It is now KBOE.
The first sidewalk in Oskaloosa was poured in 1884.
The first paving project in Oskaloosa was conducted in 1915.
The first city manager of Oskaloosa was hired in 1910.
The first indoor swimming pool in Oskaloosa was dedicated in 1926.
The first fulltime fire chief in Oskaloosa was hired in 1928.
The first police chief of Oskaloosa was hired in 1893.
The first city hall was built in 1884. The current city hall was built in 1954.
The first hospital in Oskaloosa was established in 1880. The current hospital, Mahaska Health Partnership, was built in 1975.
The first movie theater in Oskaloosa was the Elite Theater, which opened in 1910. The current theater, the Penn Central, was built in 1948.
Construction of the interstate highway system began to affect Oskaloosa in the 1960s. Interstate 80 was built through Mahaska County in 1964, and Interstate 35 was built through the county in 1968.
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