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The county commission originally selected a site 4 miles west of Leon for the county seat, but in 1883 it was moved to Leon. This section of Decatur County was described as “high, gentle and rolling prairie, through which runs the main road from Fort Des Moines to Independence, Mo.” 9Andreas's bird's-eye view of the community illustrates how commercial businesses grew up around the courthouse square, how a branch of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad entered the town from the northwest, and how the forest along the banks of the Little River formed almost a windbreak to the west. By 1900, the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy had been extended south and a second railroad, the Des Moines and Kansas City, also went through the community. By virtue of the post-World War II episode of freeway building within the state, Leon now lies 5 miles west of the north-south route of Interstate 35.


Andreas, Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875, 497.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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