City of Delmar  
City Government
Business Directory

About Us

The Beginning

The location that became the town of Delmar was originally farmland in Bloomfield township. The severe winter of 1869 that caused a crisis for Bloomfield farmers was the catalyst for the creation of the town. Transporting crops to the river markets, the major source of transportation, was normally costly and time consuming. In 1869 the cost was prohibitive, more than the crops were worth, resulting in some farmers leaving their crops in their fields.


In an effort to save their farms, Bloomfield township farmers S.S. Norton, E.F. Sparks, W.T. Willey and Amos Hurst joined together to give up some of their land and hired a surveyor, Ben Rich, to plat a town as an incentive to bring railroads to the area. Their goal was to provide a less expensive and more efficient market access for their crops and live stock.


The farmer's efforts were successful. In 1871, with the completion of the Sabla, Ackley and Dakota Railroad and the Davenport and St. Paul railroad tracks that intersected the Midland Railroad, a major crossroad was created and the town prospered. By 1905 six separate rail lines passed through Delmar and a new Victorian style depot was built, replacing the railroad car that acted as the station until then.

Delmar's link to the rails began in 1871 and lasted until the early 1960's when passenger trains no longer passed through, leaving only five or six freight trains passing through Delmar until the early 1980s.

How Delmar Got Its Name

On its inaugural run, rather than continuing straight through into Maquoketa as did the Davenport and St. Paul line, the Midland train paused to name the new station. In keeping with the alphabetical order of stations coming from Clinton (Almont, Bryant and Charlotte,) the conductor wanted this stop to begin with the letter "D". There were six ladies on the train with the first names of: Della, Emma, Laura, Marie, Anna, and Rose. Using the first letter of each ladies' name, they came up with the pronounceable name of "Delmar".

Education - Then and Now

Education was a high priority in the budding new town. In 1872 Ben C. and Jennie E. Rich conducted a select school for 18 pupils in their home. By 1874 the population was 317 and an independent school district was organized and in 1875 a two-story brick schoolhouse costing $5,000 was built.


Today Delmar is proud of its K through 6 elementary school. Considered one of the best in the state, Delwood School has the amenities and equipment of larger city schools with a low student to teacher ratio. Although the atmosphere is relaxed and reminiscent of an earlier time, the educational opportunities for our children are robust and up-to-date. Parents, teachers, administration and other staff get to know the students and each other, enhancing the one-on-one attention teacher's give to their pupils.

Norton Park

Located where the railroad tracks once ran through the center of town is Norton Park. With a gazebo, two pavilions, and a playground, it's a perfect spot for family gatherings or civic events. In warm weather you are sure to see people walking, children playing, and families gathering in this beautiful environment.

City of Delmar
613 1/2 Main Street
P.O. Box 175
Delmar, IA 52037-0175

Phone: 563-574-4256
E-mail: [email protected]


Designed and Hosted by