Kalona, Iowa

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Kalona is a city in Washington County, Iowa, United States. It is part of the Iowa City, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,293 at the 2000 census.



Amish settlement in what is now the Kalona area began in the 1840s, placing the Amish among the very first European settlers in the area. Other Amish groups came later. The Beachy Amish, for example, first arrived in the 1920s.[1]

The Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway built a 66-mile branch from Iowa City to What Cheer via Kalona in 1879[2][3] Kalona was established by the railroad on August 6, 1879. The name was suggested to the railroad by a Mr. Myers, who owned a bull of that name. The town remained unincorporated until 1890.[4]

Kalona is home to a burgeoning craft, antiques and local products industry. Its proximity to both Iowa City, Iowa and a large Amish settlement have allowed growth in population and industry in recent years. The town is home to a variety of locally owned shops and restaurants. This quaint city centers around the historic old town business section of Kalona, which features many local businesses that are popular with tourists.

Amish and Mennonites

Not far from Kalona is located one of the largest Amish settlements west of the Mississippi, and the oldest in Iowa.[5] Kalona is the home of the Iowa Mennonite Archives, located at the Kalona Historical Village. The Iowa Mennonite School is located a few miles northwest of Kalona.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.3 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 2,293 people, 947 households, and 597 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,119.9 people per square mile (431.9/km²). There were 986 housing units at an average density of 481.6/sq mi (185.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.08% White, 0.22% African American, 0.48% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.09% of the population.

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