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Decorah is a city in and the county seat of Winneshiek County, Iowa, United States. The population was 8,127 at the 2010 census. Decorah is located at the intersection of State Highway 9 and U.S. Route 52, and is the largest community in Winneshiek County.
Decorah was the site of a Ho-Chunk village beginning around 1840. Several Ho-Chunks had settled along the Upper Iowa River that year when the United States Army forced them to remove from Wisconsin. In 1848, the United States removed the Ho-Chunks again to a new reservation in Minnesota, opening their Iowa villages to white settlers. The first whites to settle were the Day family from Tazewell County, Virginia. According to local Congregationalist minister Rev. Ephraim Adams, the Days arrived in June 1849 with the Ho-Chunks' "tents still standing—with the graves of the dead scattered about where now run our streets and stand our dwellings." Judge Eliphalet Price suggested that the Days name their new settlement Decorah after Ho-Chunk leader Waukon Decorah, who was a U.S. ally during the Black Hawk War of 1832.
During the 1850s and 1860s, Decorah grew quickly as settlers built dams and mills to harness water power at Dunning's Spring and other local streams. In 1851, the town became the county seat of Winneshiek County.
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