Paullina’s History

Since 1883

A pair of brothers, Henry & D. Edward Paullin, gave Paullina its name after the Harvard graduates bought nearly 7,000 acres of land in O’Brien County in 1880. The entrepreneurial duo helped bring the railroad to this part of Northwest Iowa.

According to lore, D. Edward Paullin offered a townsite to the railroad for free if it ran through his property…and named it for him. The agreement was made and the plat for the townsite called Paullina was filed on December 31, 1881 and recorded on January 13, 1882. The first official City Council  meeting was held on November 17, 1883 per the minutes. Original ordinances Numbered 1-15 were dated December 16, 1883.

The railroad and agriculture helped found the town into a thriving economic center for Northwest Iowa. While the railroad tracks are no longer part of the town’s landscape, the town’s emphasis on agriculture is even more evident today by the central location of a co-op and grain elevator on Main between the aptly named Commerce and Railroad streets.

Paullina Facts:

Population: 982 (2020 Census)
Location: 42°58′43″N 95°41′13″W (42.978578, -95.687080)
County: O’Brien State: Iowa
Zip Code: 51046
Oldest existing Home: 1878 – Heritage House at 317 N Rutledge
School District: South O’Brien Community Schools (7-12 is here; PK-6 in Primghar)
Parochial School: Zion-St. John Lutheran School (K-8)
Nearby Gems: Mill Creek Park with Paullina Lake; Wonderland Theater.