About Our Town

Rosa R. Clermont Logo


An Early History of the Town of Clermont
Clermont is a small town in northeast Iowa located in the valley on the banks of the Turkey River, overlooked by Montauk, home of the late Ex-Governor Larrabee.
Tradition establishes Andrew Moates as the first settler, although the time of his coming is somewhat obscure; and it is understood that a man by the name of Delaplaine laid claim to lands where the town of Clermont now stands, and in 1848 built a cabin there.  A year later Carlton and Thompson, a mill firm at Elkader, came to the Turkey at the same point and bought the claim from Delaplaine and erected a saw mill there.  Carlton and Thompson let the building contract to Carlton and Sawyer, who moved here in June 1849 and built two log cabins on what is now block 24 in Clermont, located about 20 rods east of the first saw mill.  These were the first houses in Clermont after Delaplaine’s rude claim cabin, located near the mouth of the Dibble creek.  Mr. Carlton opened the first stock of goods in the fall of 1849.
The township was established by county commissioners in 1850; and the name was fixed by them, although the spelling was then “Claremont.”  In 1850, Edwin Stedman, John Hendershott, and Chancy Leverich with their families, J.B. Hough and Andrew Martin settled in the vicinity of Clermont.  In 1851 the town of Clermont was laid out by John Thompson and C.D. Carlton, proprietors; and here beside the waters of the Turkey River came the Yankees, the Swiss, the Irish, the Swedes, and the Norwegians to settle and cultivate the opulent land.

Taken from Historic Clermont – First Edition 1968 – A book compiled and written by the Clermont Historical Society


Timeline of Clermont, Iowa History

100 BC – 1492 Red Ochre and Hopewell Indians settled the area followed by the Effigy Mound builders.
1492-1848 Sioux, Algonquin, Illini, Sac, Fox and Winnebago Indians lived in the region.
1846 Iowa statehood.
? Andrew Moates first settler.
1848 A man named Delaplaine lays claim to lands of present-day Clermont – builds cabin.
1849 Carlton & Thompson (mill firm at Elkader) buy claim from Delaplaine and erect sawmill on Turkey River.
June 1849 Sawmill contracted to Carlton & Thompson.  Two log cabins built (first houses in Clermont after Delaplaine’s rude cabin claim).
Fall 1849 Mr. Carlton opens first stock of goods .
1850 Township established, originally spelled “Claremont.”
1850 Edwin Stedman, John Hendershott, Chancy Leverich, J.B. Hough, and Andrew Martin families settle in vicinity.
1851 Town of Clermont laid out by John Thompson & C.D. Carlton, proprietors.  Yankees, Swiss, Irish, Swedes, and Norwegians settle in the area.
  Log workshop converted to school building and public meeting place by Edwin Stedman with wife as teacher.
1851 Rev H.S. Brunson delivers first sermon.  Mr. Brunson came to Clermont to build hotel, but after completing only about half of what was later known as the “Clermont or Browns’s House,” he left.  Hotel was completed by the mill company and opened to the public by C.D. Carlton.
1851 First Elections held.
1854 Thompson & Carlton begin construction of the Clermont flour mill.  The same year they also opened the White store.
1855 Merchandising was carried on by Thompson & Carlton and blacksmithing by William Davis.  This same year the Dibble brickyard was in operation.  Since barrels for the flour mill were needed, a cooper shop was started that also supplied barrels for pork and tubs for butter. 
1855 *Although the town of Clermont was laid out by John Thompson and C.D. Carlton, the plat was not laid recorded until 1855.  Mr. Thompson later purchased his partner’s interest and decided to call the town “Norway.” 
1856 Residents objected to the name of “Norway” and it was decided to call the town the original name of “Claremont.” When recorded by legislature July 15, 1856, it was spelled as “Clermont.” 
1875 Clermont was incorporated as a town on August 16, 1875.
First mayor was S.G. Clark; John Crowe and Alex McKinley were among the first councilmen.
Jul 4, 1859 First celebration held at Clermont.  A celebration of Independence Day fed 500 people (8 years earlier only nine voters participated in the first election).
1886 Clermont native William Larrabee becomes 12th governor of Iowa serving two terms.  (Mr. Larrabee held interest in the Clermont Mill, eventually owning it, started a private bank in Clermont, served as a representative for Fayette County in the State Senate for 18 years, wrote the valued work entitled, “The Railroad Question.” and donated the Larrabee School to the town of Clermont to name just a few of his accomplishments/donations).
1909 Mill converted to an electric power plant.  The plant furnished power and light to the towns of Clermont and Elgin , and later expanded to Central States Power and Light, servicing a major part of northeast Iowa. (This was the nucleus that later became of what is now the Interstate Power Company).
1909 Height of Clermont brick-making.  Large brick yards in the Clermont area employed many people and supplied brick to surrounding states.  The name “Brick City” has stuck to Clermont from early days, probably because brick was made there in pioneer times and continued without intermission for about 75 years.

This amazing little town packs a large historical punch. Nowhere in any other surrounding town will you find the treasures that Clermont has to offer. This is in large part due to the philanthropy of the town’s most well-known residents, the Larrabee family. William Larrabee was the 12th governor of Iowa from 1886-1890. Along with his wife, Anna, and their seven children, they have left a legacy of monuments and historic buildings. The grandest of which is his own residence, Montauk, which overlooks the town.

Another factor that makes the town so unusual is its high number of brick buildings. Clermont enjoyed a thriving brickmaking industry in the second half of the nineteenth century. They were so famous for their brick, the town earned the name the “Brick City.”

Congratulations to Gabrielle Hemesath – 2015 American Honey Queen!


American Honey Queens and Princesses

2015 American Honey Queen Gabrielle Hemesath

Gabrielle Hemesath is the daughter of Mary and Russell Hemesath of Clermont, Iowa. She became interested in beekeeping at a young age and began working in a commercial beekeeping operation in 2008.  Through her work, Gabrielle found a great love for honeybees and now owns two hives of her own. Gabrielle is a student at Iowa State University, studying marketing. During her free time, Gabrielle enjoys reading, biking, and baking.



Eagle Scout Projects Completed in Clermont

Nathan Wagner  – Corn Crib

Chris Spies – Old Jail

Jacob Tessmer – Trail

Josh Butikofer – Cemetery Kiosk – 2008

Zach Monroe – Recreation Trail Kiosk – 2009

Steven Kress – FFA Canoe Landing – 2010

Nick Wander – Ball Diamond Dug Out Roofs – 2011

Johnny Wander Natural Playground at Valley School – 2013

One Response to About Our Town

  1. Luke says:

    This towns residents pay on average $1,000,000 a year for the electricity used. Why is it we have the remnants of an hydroelectric power plant that supplied Clermont, Elgin and other surrounding communities? If the dam was put back into operation there would be a large increase in the revenue generated from the Power Plant and the booming tourist rush. It would also help us control flood waters on the river. Im not sure I can think of any cons, but I sure can think of a whole list of Pros.

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