Counties with the oldest homes in Iowa

Written by:
August 27, 2022
en:User:Cburnett // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in Iowa

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Iowa with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built according to 2020 5-year estimates. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built before 1939.

The country's domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Iowa have the oldest homes.

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Kevin Schuchmann // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Mahaska County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.3% (3,494 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.4% (1,123 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,893
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Gvetterick // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Union County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.3% (2,155 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.7% (697 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,937
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Jsayre64 // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Clayton County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.8% (3,364 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.9% (1,085 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,133
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Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Boone County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.3% (4,481 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.3% (1,478 homes)
- Total homes built: 12,017
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Nst101 // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Calhoun County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 33.1% (1,692 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.8% (348 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,108

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C. A. Tucker // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Adair County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.6% (1,319 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.4% (239 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,709
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Scott Romine // Wikimedia Commons

#44. O'Brien County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.1% (2,011 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.0% (670 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,691
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Ann Sullivan-Larson // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Hancock County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.2% (1,720 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.3% (446 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,342
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Daniel Hartwig // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Marshall County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.7% (5,510 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.1% (1,363 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,842
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Winneshiek County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.6% (3,391 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.1% (1,270 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,008

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Dan Breyfogle // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Cerro Gordo County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.4% (6,794 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.6% (1,918 homes)
- Total homes built: 22,364
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Tony Webster // Wikicommons

#39. Woodbury County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.5% (13,381 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.0% (3,820 homes)
- Total homes built: 42,455
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Bill Whittaker // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Webster County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.9% (5,616 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.0% (1,366 homes)
- Total homes built: 17,056
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Alejandro Pulido // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Kossuth County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 33.0% (2,483 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.4% (785 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,526
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en:User:Cburnett // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Wapello County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.5% (5,220 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.7% (1,081 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,080

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Richc80 // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Clinton County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.9% (7,719 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.0% (1,984 homes)
- Total homes built: 22,114
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Lolwhynot3498 // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Grundy County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.6% (1,988 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.2% (456 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,587
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Ian Poellet // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Des Moines County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.6% (7,006 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.8% (1,823 homes)
- Total homes built: 18,613
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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Mitchell County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.8% (1,883 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.1% (505 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,987
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Fremont County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.9% (1,306 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.0% (275 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,444

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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Floyd County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.5% (2,913 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.8% (664 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,571
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Joe Elliott // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Crawford County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.1% (2,833 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.9% (489 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,068
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Coasterlover1994 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Osceola County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 33.7% (998 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.2% (213 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,960
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Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Humboldt County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.6% (1,686 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.5% (308 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,741
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Woodard // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Fayette County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.3% (3,678 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.2% (979 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,606

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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Shelby County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 39.0% (2,172 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.8% (381 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,567
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Robert Thall // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Lee County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 39.4% (6,398 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.5% (1,383 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,235
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Phinn // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Emmet County

- Median year homes built: 1954
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.8% (1,576 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 4.9% (234 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,811
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Ann Sullivan-Larson // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Wright County

- Median year homes built: 1954
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.9% (2,397 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.0% (518 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,499
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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Page County

- Median year homes built: 1954
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.1% (2,665 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.5% (466 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,190

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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Franklin County

- Median year homes built: 1954
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.3% (1,809 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 4.4% (212 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,846
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Ann Sullivan-Larson // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Hamilton County

- Median year homes built: 1954
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.7% (2,788 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.5% (539 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,199
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Billwhittaker // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Butler County

- Median year homes built: 1954
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 39.2% (2,665 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.0% (750 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,804
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Skye Marthaler // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Cherokee County

- Median year homes built: 1953
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.3% (2,195 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.0% (343 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,734
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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Cass County

- Median year homes built: 1953
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 41.2% (2,711 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.6% (434 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,583

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Jason McLaren // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Greene County

- Median year homes built: 1952
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.8% (1,857 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.9% (314 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,546
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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Monona County

- Median year homes built: 1952
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 41.8% (1,973 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.3% (438 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,723
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Bill Whittaker // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Tama County

- Median year homes built: 1952
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 42.1% (3,281 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.1% (787 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,788
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User:Magicpiano // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Sac County

- Median year homes built: 1951
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.3% (2,174 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 5.4% (289 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,398
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Ann Sullivan-Larson // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Hardin County

- Median year homes built: 1951
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.4% (3,310 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 2.9% (241 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,193

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Worth County

- Median year homes built: 1951
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 41.1% (1,445 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 5.9% (207 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,519
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Nst101 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Audubon County

- Median year homes built: 1950
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 42.3% (1,263 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 5.9% (176 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,988
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Jared Winkler // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Taylor County

- Median year homes built: 1950
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 42.5% (1,320 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.6% (266 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,105
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Scott Romine // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Harrison County

- Median year homes built: 1950
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 45.3% (3,097 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.3% (634 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,837
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Pettingills // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Pocahontas County

- Median year homes built: 1949
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.1% (1,468 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 2.2% (80 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,657

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Jatakuck // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Howard County

- Median year homes built: 1949
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.7% (1,780 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.4% (455 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,376
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Scott Romine // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Ida County

- Median year homes built: 1949
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 43.3% (1,494 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.1% (209 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,450
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Judd Furlong // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Montgomery County

- Median year homes built: 1949
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 43.6% (2,278 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 3.8% (198 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,220
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en:User:Cburnett // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Keokuk County

- Median year homes built: 1947
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 46.6% (2,274 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.5% (416 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,880
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Jason McLaren // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Adams County

- Median year homes built: 1944
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 46.6% (938 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.8% (198 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,011

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