Elma History

Founded in 1886 with the establishment of it’s first post office, the town of Elma was named after Elma (Potter) Brandmill. Part of Howard County in Iowa, the territory which came to be know as Elma recorded its first settlement in 1854 along the little Wapsipinicon creek. Early settlers included W.S. Pettibone, James or Joseph Hall, Martin Boardman,Lemuel Potter, Archibald Pooler,Edward Butters, and Wm. P. Hough. The town of Elma incorporated in 1891 and was the chief trading center for the southwestern portion of the county and the northwestern portion of Chickasaw county. When the railroad maintenance shops were located in Elma, the town boasted a population of 1500 people around the early 1900’s. Elma’s early history was centered around the Chicago Great western railway that ran though the East side of town.

Take a trip back in Elma history by reading the following articles or by visiting one of the two museums: Elma Railroad Depot Museum & Elma School Heritage Museum.

Elma’s Railroad History

March 20, 2024

These photos are shared from the Elma history book, “Those Were the Days” which was …

Early Business Directory

March 21, 2019

These photos were taken from the Elma history book, “Those Were the Days”, printed in …

2012 Young Professionals project

November 2, 2012

A local group of individuals came forward in April 2012, stemming from the Young Professionals …