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Clarinda is a city in and the county seat of Page County, Iowa, United States. It is located in Nodaway Township. The population was 5,572 in the 2010 census.
Clarinda was founded in 1851, and incorporated on December 8, 1866. Many stories are told of such notables as Jesse James frequently passing through.
The town is named for Clarinda Buck, who according to legend carried water to the surveyors while Page County was first being surveyed.
The best known national firm in Clarinda for many decades was Berry's Seed Company, a mail order farm seed distribution business founded in 1885 at Clarinda by A. A. Berry. Berry's Seed Company diversified into retail stores in the 1950s, but the stores were sold off over the following decade, and today the company, known as Berry's Garden Center, operates from its one remaining retail outlet in Danville, Illinois.
In 1943 during World War II, an internment camp designed for 3,000 prisoners of war with sixty barracks and a 150-bed hospital was built in Clarinda. German prisoners were the first to arrive at Camp Clarinda, followed in 1945 by Italian and Japanese POWs.
Camp Clarinda was located by what today is the town's municipal airport, Schenck Field (named for aviator/farmer Ray Schenck, who built the original Clarinda Airport on the location).
Early in its history, Clarinda was served by railroads from 5 different directions - all were predecessors to the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q). In 1946, service was lost on the east-west line and the line to Tarkio, MO, through Coin, IA. Service was maintained south of Clarinda until the 1950s and then was trimmed back to a branch serving Clarinda from the main line at Villisca, IA. This line survived a merger into the Burlington Northern but was abandoned in the 1980s. Clarinda now joins a growing list of county seats in Iowa without rail service.
The southeast area of Clarinda was once dubbed "Gun Town" and remains known by that name today.
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