The site of Indianola was selected in 1849 as the future seat of Warren County; it is located in the center of the new county, between the Middle and South rivers. The town was platted and first settled in 1850. A single unusual feature of its grid layout was the central courthouse square, which was originally laid out as an octagon rather than the usual square block. In 1860, the Indianola Seminary was founded, and this school later emerged as Simpson College.
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