"The Coldest Spot in Iowa"
Washta is a community tucked along the banks of the Little Sioux River in the Cherokee County countryside. This cozy village has both the colorful history and pioneering spirit that make it a welcome addition to the area's personality. The local economy is agriculturally based with residents commuting to surrounding cities for manufacturing jobs. Washta's major resources include sand, gravel and the fertile farmland within the Little Sioux River Valley. The people of Washta are well aware of the fact that they can hold their own against the challenges that lie ahead.
Washta was founded by the Whisman family when they relocated from Illinois to northwestern Iowa in 1867. Mr. Whisman managed to keep his family alive through a harsh first winter by hunting the area's abundant wildlife. One day while hunting, he happened upon two Native American men who grabbed his rifle only to hand it back with the words, "Wash-ta, Washta." These words meant "approval" in their native language, and the area's identity came into being. Not long after the encounter, and at the request of the locals, Mr. Whisman set up the first post office and became the town's first postmaster.
The community continued to grow adding a schoolhouse, hotel, and restaurant by the late 1800's. In 1918, a highly destructive fire wiped out most of the Main Street businesses halting development for a short while. The undying spirit of the township managed to prevail and rebuild much of what was lost. Washta hit a peak of success in the early 1900's. Recent years have seen the community maintain it's economic climate at a steady pace, making Washta, Iowa a cozy place to call home.
Current Economic Climate
Washta encourages the spirit of entrepreneurship. Western Iowa Coop has expanded its operation. The Cargo Express Convenience Store offers fuel, groceries, and a delightful dining menu. Central Bank has a branch office here. The River Valley School District bus barn is in Washta. The public library is also part of the school system.
Washta is part of the River Valley School District, an educational umbrella that encompasses Correctionville, Cushing, Quimby, and Washta. Washta hosts the preschool-fourth grade elementary classes. For more information, please contact:
River Valley School District
100 South 5th Avenue
Washta, IA 51061
Little Sioux River and the Ranney Knob Park
The park and river outlet lies on the west side of the Washta community. It is maintained by the Cherokee County Conservation Department. These areas provide and opportunity for fishing, camping, picnicking, and canoeing on the Inkpaduta Canoe Trail. This combination of unspoiled nature and picturesque views makes for a relaxing and beautiful environment.
Barb Slota, City Clerk
For more information about making Washta your hometown, click here.