Washta, Iowa - "The Coldest Spot in Iowa."


County Seat
Cherokee County Courthouse
520 West Main
Cherokee, IA 51012


This little town, nestled in the valley of the Little Sioux River, has one claim to fame...


   On January 12, 1912, a temperature of forty-seven degrees below zero was recorded and "the smoke went straight up that day" so there was no wind chill figured in!  The man who took the temperature that day was an official weather observer for the National Weather Service and had a nursery where he grew shrubs, trees & plants.  It was recorded that Cherokee had a forty-three below temperature that day.

   Washta's name dates back to 1868.  A local man named Whisman turned his farm into a trading post/mail stop for the freight train going from Correctionville to Cherokee when he was asked to be the official postmaster for the area.  When asked what the name of his town would be, he recalled an interesting encounter with two Native Americans the year before.  While Whisman was out hunting these two Indians came upon him, removed his gun, looked at it, and handed it back while saying, "Wash-tay, Wash-tay," meaning good.  Changing the pronunciation slightly, Whisman decided he would call the town Washta.