Cherokee, Iowa

Cherokee, Iowa

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Cherokee is a city in Cherokee County
Cherokee County, Iowa
-2010 census:The 2010 census recorded a population of 12,072 in the county, with a population density of . There were 5,777 housing units, of which 5,207 were occupied.-2000 census:...

, Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The population was 5,932 at the 2010 Census
United States Census, 2010
The Twenty-third United States Census, known as Census 2010 or the 2010 Census, is the current national census of the United States. National Census Day was April 1, 2010 and is the reference date used in enumerating individuals...

, up from 5,369 at the 2000 census
United States Census, 2000
The Twenty-second United States Census, known as Census 2000 and conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000, to be 281,421,906, an increase of 13.2% over the 248,709,873 persons enumerated during the 1990 Census...

. It is the county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 of Cherokee County
Cherokee County, Iowa
-2010 census:The 2010 census recorded a population of 12,072 in the county, with a population density of . There were 5,777 housing units, of which 5,207 were occupied.-2000 census:...

. Cherokee is also the home of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute
Cherokee Mental Health Institute
The Cherokee Mental Health Institute is a state-run psychiatric facility in Cherokee, Iowa. It has operated from 1902 until the present day, currently under the authority of the Iowa Department of Human Services.-Early years:...

, under the Iowa Department of Human Services. The nearby Cherokee Sewer Site
Cherokee Sewer Site
The Cherokee Sewer Site is a multi-component Prehistoric Indian Archaic bison processing site excavated in 1973 and 1976 near the sewage treatment plant of Cherokee, Iowa; it is not associated with the Cherokee tribe. It is important because it shows a transition in bison hunting strategy during...

 is a well-preserved prehistoric Indian bison-processing site, which helped to redefine the Archaic period in the Midwest, and the Phipps Site
Phipps Site
The Phipps Site is a Late Prehistoric Mill Creek Culture archaeological site near Cherokee in Cherokee County, Iowa, United States....

 is a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 1000-year-old Plains farming village that may have been fortified.


Cherokee is located at 42.750818°N 95.550472°W. It is situated near the Little Sioux River
Little Sioux River
The Little Sioux is a river in the United States. It rises in southwest Minnesota near the Iowa border, and continues to flow southwest for across northwest Iowa into the Missouri River at Little Sioux. The Little Sioux River was known as Eaneah-waudepon or "Stone River" to the Sioux Indians...


According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (16.6 km²), of which, 6.4 square miles (16.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1035995244 km²) of it (0.31%) is water.


As of the census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 5,369 people, 2,362 households, and 1,393 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 837.8 people per square mile (323.4/km²). There were 2,556 housing units at an average density of 398.9 per square mile (154.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.5% White, 0.54% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.54% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.51% of the population.

There were 2,362 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.0% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 22.9% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,240, and the median income for a family was $42,333. Males had a median income of $28,350 versus $21,333 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $17,846. About 5.0% of families and 7.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.

Annual events

The annual Jazz Festival is held in January, often headlined by Mark Pender
Mark Pender
Mark "The Loveman" Pender is a trumpet player and vocalist who has played with Southside Johnny, Little Steven and Bruce Springsteen. Since 1993 he has performed on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien as a member of The Max Weinberg 7 and The Tonight Show Band...

 a member of the The Max Weinberg 7's  band.

The Cherokee County Fair, and the Cherokee Rodeo are held in the summer.


Cherokee is the home of the Sanford Museum and Planetarium that opened in 1951. The intent of the founders, Mr & Mrs W.A. Sanford, was to create a museum that was free and open to the public. The facility still operated free to the public and has exhibits and activities on a variety of subjects including: archaeology, art, astronomy, geology, history, natural history, and paleontology.

Cherokee may be the smallest town in the world to have its own symphony orchestra, the Cherokee Symphony. This 60-member orchestra has been referred to as "the best kept secret in Northwest Iowa".

Notable people

  • Adam Timmerman
    Adam Timmerman
    Adam Larry Timmerman is a former American football guard in the National Football League. He played for the Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Rams between 1995 and 2006...

    , former NFL lineman and Super Bowl
    Super Bowl
    The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

     champion for the St. Louis Rams
    St. Louis Rams
    The St. Louis Rams are a professional American football team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are currently members of the West Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Rams have won three NFL Championships .The Rams began playing in 1936 in Cleveland,...

     and Green Bay Packers
    Green Bay Packers
    The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Packers are the current NFL champions...

  • Guy M. Gillette, House of Representatives 1930–36, US Senate 1936–45
  • Roger Goeb
    Roger Goeb
    -Life:Roger Goeb was born in Cherokee, Iowa. Although he had studied piano, trumpet, French horn, viola, violin, and woodwind instruments from an early age , he turned to the profession of music comparatively late. He studied agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, earning a BS degree in 1936...

     (1914–1997), composer
  • Joseph A. Green
    Joseph A. Green
    Joseph Andrew Green Graduated West Point in 1906 and attained the office of Chief of the Coast Artillery Corps for the United States Army between 1940 and 1942, and Commanding General of Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command between 1942 and 1944.-References:...

     Chief of Coast Artillery
  • Gen. John D. Ryan
    John Dale Ryan
    General John Dale Ryan was the seventh Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. As chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Ryan served in a dual capacity...

    , US Air Force Chief of Staff, 1969–71
  • Ben F. Laposky
    Ben F. Laposky
    Benjamin Francis Laposky was a mathematician, artist and draftsman in Cherokee, Iowa. He has been credited with making the first computer graphics, utilizing an oscilloscope as the creation medium for abstract art...

    , artist and mathematician
  • Ken Nordine
    Ken Nordine
    Ken Nordine is an American voiceover and recording artist best known for his series of Word Jazz albums. His deep, resonant voice has also been featured in many commercial advertisements and movie trailers. One critic wrote that "you may not know Ken Nordine by name or face, but you'll almost...

    , voiceover
  • Doug Ohlson
    Doug Ohlson
    Douglas Dean Ohlson was an American abstract artist who specialized in geometric patterns.Ohlson was born on November 18, 1936, in Cherokee, Iowa and attended Bethel College before serving in the United States Marine Corps...

     (1936–2010), abstract artist.
  • Laurence Rickels, famous theorist and philosopher, notable for his studies on vampires, the devil, technology and science fiction

External links