City of Chelsea, Iowa

600 Station Street
Chelsea, IA  52215
(641) 489-2525


Council meets monthly, 1st Monday, 7 pm
Mayor Craig Forcht
Amy Walters
Doris Frese
Aaron Balvin
Dixie Forcht
Steven VanDeWalle

Less than a mile east of where the present Chelsea is located, Otter Creek Station once existed.  By the end of 1861, the Chicago, Iowa, and Nebraska Railroad, later known as the Chicago and Northwestern, had extended westward that far into Iowa.  When Otter Creek Station was moved about three-quarters of a mile west to the present location of Chelsea, and the railroad extended westward, the name was changed.  One story has it that S.G. Breese, one of the original owners of land near the site, named it for Chelsea, MA, from where he had emigrated.  Another is that John I. Blair named it for Chelsea, England.

In the history of Chelsea, floods have often played havoc with the town and its environs but its citizens return and carry on the tradition of hardiness.

Chelsea lies along the original Lincoln Highway route which was America’s first “coast-to-coast” highway.  The original steel bridge on the Lincoln Highway in Chelsea was replaced in 1928-29 with the Otter Creek Bridge, which in turn had to be replaced in 2007.  Citizens of Chelsea encouraged the preservation of the lamp posts which graced the old bridge railings.  That action brought high accolades from the National Lincoln Highway Association.

9 Comments on “City of Chelsea, Iowa”

  1. cynthia way February 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I was doing some research on my family roots. My great,great grandparents came to Iowa from Pilsen,Bohemia. Their names were Albert & Anna Hach.

    • Gloria Sharkey May 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      I’m looking for family, also. Great grandmother Caroline Chess married Frank Upah but am having trouble finding the Chess family. Know they are from Bohemia but not sure how they got to Iowa. Got any ideas? Thanks, Gloria Sharkey (

    • Martha Benda July 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      Cynthia – Anna Hach was my husband’s great, great grand mother. Anna/Albert’s daughter Katherine Hach married John Frank Benda in 1889. Thanks for the tip about Pilsen, Bohemia Martha

  2. k.zeman October 14, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    My great grandfather planted a vineyard in Chelsea. He came from Prague, Bohemia.
    Last name Zeman. Moved on to Colorado when Iowa went dry.

    • Matt Zeman December 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      There is too many Zemans that went through that area that trying to find anything about them is hard.

  3. Gary Schultz October 25, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    Chelsea was made famous too by citizen L. Sheda, who for years operated a fur buying business in town. People would come from all over the Midwest to sell their furs to “Ludy”. It was a different time – and one I sorely miss.

  4. jessica blazek October 7, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    My great great great grandfather and his wife and two sons as well as other friends etc. left Prague came throught Canada worked on the railroad in Canada to save enough money to arrive in Chelsea. His name was Vaclov Blazek- his sons were Joseph and Vencil. They were from Tabor

  5. Judy Ochs June 24, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Does anyone have any information on the former Dohnalek residence in Chelsea. There were originally 2 houses on the plot and one was torn down and the other moved to it’s present site. Have tried to find pics of the plot before 1925 but to no avail. Would appreciate any info that could be found.

  6. Cathy Smaha March 18, 2018 at 8:34 am #

    I am looking for information on Frank Smaha (3 Oct 1884-December 1973). He came from Bohemia to Iowa in 1910 and settled in Chelsea where he died. It appears he was a single man. My paternal line is Smaha but this Smaha is not connected to my tree and would like to find out more. Does anyone have any information, obit, etc? Thanks so much!

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