Adel, Iowa

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Adel is a city along the North Raccoon River in Dallas County in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 3,435 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Dallas County[1] and the birthplace of 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick.

Adel is part of the Des MoinesWest Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Originally called Penoach, Adel was Incorporated in 1847, and changed its name sometime in 1849, although no specific information can be located within the city records. The town is situated on the west bank of the North Raccoon River, and at the time of its founding, along the only county road, making Adel the oldest town within Dallas County.[2]

In 1855 there were about twenty-five houses in Adel, and only three stores. From that time onward, the city began to grow at a faster rate.

Situated along the river, Adel had a good supply of water-power for a flour mill. It was to be situated on a section of property owned by Noeingerl Cantrel & Co. J. H. Strong of Des Moines, and H. H. Moffatt built the mill in 1856-57 at a cost of $20,000. The dam was constructed with about eight feet of head water.

The mill was kept in good repair, able to average from twelve to fifteen bushels per hour, with a capability of thirty per hour.

An item of historical interest occurred on March 6, 1895. Two men entered town in a buggy and attempted to rob the bank. They shot a teller, who, though wounded, managed to close the vault and turn the tumblers, preventing the thieves from taking off with a substantial amount. George W. Clarke, a lawyer, had an office on the second floor. As Clarke descended the stairs, a robber fired his gun. However, the weapon misfired, sparing Clarke's life, who went on to be elected as lieutenant governor for four years and governor from 1913-1917.[3][4]

Adel's history was enhanced when the city decided to keep its brick streets. In addition, the Dallas County Courthouse, an edifice dedicated in 1902 at a cost of about $109,000, sits center stage, dominating downtown Adel.[5] The image to the left gives a good view of the French architecture with the accompanying rounded corners and windows.

“In that era it was a competition almost between the counties to erect an edifice that would be of importance and of character to their becoming of age.” Mark A. Hanson, Dallas County Supervisor


Adel is located at 41°37′0″N 94°1′18″W / 41.616667°N 94.02167°W / 41.616667; -94.02167 (41.616773, -94.021731)[6].

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