World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Clear Lake, Iowa


Clear Lake, Iowa

For the Lake of Clear Lake, see Clear Lake.

Clear Lake, Iowa
Historic Downtown Clear Lake
Historic Downtown Clear Lake
Location of Clear Lake, Iowa
Location of Clear Lake, Iowa
Country US
State  Iowa
County Cerro Gordo
 • Mayor Nelson Crabb
 • City Administrator Scott Flory
 • City Attorney Charles H. Biebesheimer
 • City Clerk Jennifer Larsen
 • Tourism Director Libbey Patton
 • Total 13.44 sq mi (34.81 km2)
 • Land 10.80 sq mi (27.97 km2)
 • Water 2.64 sq mi (6.84 km2)
Elevation 1,237 ft (377 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 7,777
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 7,741
 • Density 720.1/sq mi (278.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 50428
Area code(s) 641
FIPS code 19-14025
GNIS feature ID 0455465
Website .comclearlakeiowa

Clear Lake is a city in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States. The population was 7,777 at the 2010 census. The city is named for the large lake on which it is located. It is the home of a number of marinas, state parks and tourism-related businesses. Clear Lake is also a major stop on Interstate 35 with many restaurants, hotels and truck stops.

Nelson P. Crabb was elected mayor of Clear Lake in 2005 and began his term as mayor in January 2006.


  • History 1
    • The Day the Music Died 1.1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
  • Arts and culture 4
  • Education 5
  • Other topics 6
    • Churches 6.1
  • Notable people 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The region around the lake that would later be called Clear Lake was a summer home to the Dakota and Winnebago American Indians. During a land survey of northern Iowa done in 1832 by Nathan Boone, the son of the famous explorer, Daniel Boone a map was made showing the lake and other bodies of water in the area.[4]

In 1851, Joseph Hewitt and James Dickirson brought their families to camp on the east side of Clear Lake, soon building a cabin, and began a friendship with the Winnebago natives. By 1853, many more white settlers had also came to settle in the area. By the year 1855, the first Clear Lake school was built and the first steam saw mill. In 1855, a hotel was built by James Crow.[4]

By 1870, the town had 775 residents and by 1871 the streets were graded and sidewalks were made of raised boards, a sure sign of thriving new city.[4][5] The city of Clear Lake was incorporated on May 26, 1871.[6] The first bandstand built in Clear Lake was in 1877 at the City Park. The town grew and built its first library in 1889. In 1909, Bayside Amusement park opened for the first time. The first North Iowa Band Festival was organized by John Kopecky and others in 1932[4]

In 1933, the Surf Ballroom open up on the site of the old Tom Tom ballroom that had been destroyed by fire. The opening dance night had approximately 700 couples attending. In 1947, the Surf Ballroom burned down and a new Surf Ballroom was built across the street in 1948. The Bayside Amusement park closed down in 1958.[4]

The Day the Music Died

Monument at crash site

In the early hours of February 3, 1959, a Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, who had been performing at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, took off from the local runway in nearby Mason City, on its way to the next show in Moorhead, Minnesota.

The plane crashed soon after takeoff, killing all aboard. This event was later eulogized by folk singer Don McLean in his famous song, "American Pie", in which the death of these '50s icons serves as a metaphor for greater changes within American society as a whole.

In June 1988, around 600 people gathered to witness the dedication of the monument to the deceased rock and roll legends. Clear Lake also replaced street signs officially changing 2nd Place North to Buddy Holly Place in honor of the late singer.[4]


Clear Lake is located at (43.136479, −93.379927).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.44 square miles (34.81 km2), of which, 10.80 square miles (27.97 km2) is land and 2.64 square miles (6.84 km2) is water.[1]


Clear Lake is part of the Mason City Micropolitan Statistical Area.

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 7,777 people, 3,507 households, and 2,087 families residing in the city. The population density was 720.1 inhabitants per square mile (278.0/km2). There were 4,423 housing units at an average density of 409.5 per square mile (158.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.3% White, 0.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 3,507 households of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.5% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.78.

The median age in the city was 46.3 years. 20.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.2% were from 25 to 44; 31.9% were from 45 to 64; and 20.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.

2000 census

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 8,161 people, 3,461 households, and 2,239 families residing in the city. The population density was 782.4 people per square mile (302.1/km²). There were 4,156 housing units at an average density of 398.4 per square mile (153.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.99% White, 0.27% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.86% of the population.

There were 3,461 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.86.

Age spread:23.0% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,097, and the median income for a family was $45,589. Males had a median income of $30,266 versus $21,356 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,213. About 5.0% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.0% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

  • Surf Ballroom- Site of Buddy Holly's last concert, the Surf Ballroom still has concerts and can be reserved as a convention hall or reception site. It is also a tourist attraction, and every February has a tribute to Buddy Holly.
  • Lady of the Lake- The stern wheeler ferry boat takes passengers on a scenic cruise around Clear Lake. The Lady of the Lake has an enclosed lower level and an open upper level.[10]
  • Clear Lake Fire Museum- Designed to resemble an early fire station, this museum's highlights include a 1924 Ahrens-Fox pumper truck, the city's 1883 hand-pulled hose cart, and the original fire bell used by the department. Also there is a memorial dedicated to honor all the firefighters who have served Clear Lake.[11]
  • Guardian Angel Roadside Chapel- Built by Jack Kennedy, The Guardian Angel Chapel overlooks Interstate 35 and is open to the public daily.[11]
  • Fort Custer Maze- The maze covers nearly two acres and has over two miles (3 km) of trail. The design is changed weekly during the summer season and prizes are given weekly for the fastest times.[11]
  • Clear Lake Arts Center- This non-profit organization, the Arts Center displays local and regional artists' work along with a sales gallery and art classes open to the public.[11]
  • PM Park, Clear Lake, Iowa- Site of The Patriarch Militants camp established in 1914, turned into a historical eating and lodging venue.
  • The Mirror Reporter is a newspaper serving the Clear Lake area, published weekly.
Downtown Clear Lake Rowhouses



Clear Lake School District has five schools[6]

  • Sunset View Elementary: Currently an "Alternative School" for students with learning disabilities.
  • Clear Creek Elementary: Pre-K to 5th grades.
  • Clear Lake Middle School: 6th to 8th grades.
  • Clear Lake High School: 9th to 12th grades.

Other topics


  •, Agapé Christian Family Church
  • Church of Christ
  • Clear Lake Christian Church
  •, Clear Lake Evangelical Free Church
  • Clear Lake Regular Baptist Church
  • Clear Lake United Methodist
  • Community of Christ
  • First Church of Christ Scientist
  • First Church of the Open Bible
  • n First Congregational Church
  • Galilean Lutheran Church (ELCA)
  • Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS)
  • Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  •, St. Patrick's Catholic Church
  • Ventura United Methodist
  •, Zion Lutheran Church (ELCA)

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Clear Lake Historical Society". Historical events. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  5. ^ a b "Iowa Data Center" (PDF). Clear Lake. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  6. ^ a b "City Data website". Detailed Profile. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  10. ^ Lady of the Lake Cruise
  11. ^ a b c d Attractions
  12. ^ "Richie Hayward 1946–2010". MODERN DRUMMER. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  13. ^ "KAYNOR, William Kirk". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  14. ^ "Our Founder". McGraw Foundation. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 

External links

  • Official Clear Lake City
  • Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
  • City Data Comprehensive Statistical Data and more about Clear Lake, Iowa

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.