City of Chester

On the very northern most edge of the state, the Upper Iowa River traverses a picturesque landscape formed of high rocky bluffs and deep narrow limestone gorges. Clear, cold fast-running streams cut through steep-sided hills covered by oaks, hickory, maples, and basswood. Nestled quietly among all of natures beauty is the scenic town of Chester, Iowa.

Chester is just a few miles north of Hayden Prairie, the largest prairie area in the state of Iowa. It lies right on the border of Iowa and Minnesota. It is just 45 minutes south of Rochester, MN. Chester has all the perks of a small town, the smiling faces, where everyone knows everyone. Ample hunting and canoe access along the Upper Iowa River just adds to the small town charm. Chester offers a convenience store, auto services, dining, retail, an indoor Roller Rink, and many other specialties that small towns have.

Join us on the second weekend of June for Old Settlers Day.

Chester City Hall

    Pam Wendel, City Clerk


302 Main St, Chester, IA

PO Box 38 Chester, IA 52134

History of Chester

The small community of Chester is located within shouting distance of Minnesota along the Upper Iowa River. As early as 1854 people searching for new opportunities out West began entering the Chester area. A few of the early settlers to Chester included W.A. Kingsley, C.M. Sawyer, and Josiah Laws. The following year of 1855 saw land claims made by Artemus Eaton, Joseph Cray and many other families. It was not until the Spring of 1857 that these claims became legal property of the settlers through the great land sale.

As many other Howard County communities, the railroad was of great reasoning for settlement, growth, and expansion in the town. Along with the railroad came the incorporation of local businesses. Some of the early places of commerce included a bank, hotel, butcher shop, funeral home, barber shop, pool hall, grocery store, clothing store, and restaurant.

Like many river towns, the milling industry also erupted in Chester. The first mill was built around 1886 by Bidwell and Harding.