Montezuma was first established in 1848, when local veterans of the Mexican-American War named our city after Monteuczomah, the last Aztec emperor of Mexico. Once a hub of regional railroad transport, Montezuma has continued to evolve and grow in a variety of ways. The Poweshiek County Courthouse is the focal point of our beautiful town square, sharing the melodic sounds of the restored carillon that echoes throughout our National Historic Downtown District.
Our agricultural heritage is celebrated in barn quilt art and renewed interest in local preservation has inspired many to continue living out our history. We are the inaugural home to the first town square Bill of Rights monument in the United States. Community volunteers have been working diligently to establish continued public access to our history at the Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society & Museum. The development of Diamond Lake, Lake Ponderosa, and Lake Silverado add to the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities of the area. Green spaces and wildlife areas like Fox Forest offer hiking and equestrian trails, as well as observation of native vegetation and wildflowers. Nearby Fleming Woods State Preserve offers sanctuary to many species of other indigenous plant life and animals. It is believed that Chief Poweshiek and other Native Americans once lived in these areas.
Montezuma has many unexpected surprises for a community our size. We are home to the state’s best competition motocross race track, Fun Valley Motocross. While visiting, you can shop for handmade gifts or fresh flowers downtown, enjoy a cup of Iowa-roasted coffee, or grab a bite at a local eatery, including many hometown favorites. Take a walking tour to discover our growing interest in public monuments, or find a quiet place to read at our new public library.
Life here over the summer season is great for camping and fishing opportunities, especially at Diamond Lake, which continues to expand an extensive system of trails and modern camping sites. The area also boasts several locally owned countryside bed and breakfasts, quaint cabin rentals, and affordable motel rooms conveniently located near just about everything. Practicing your skills at Big Springs Shooting Range before the big hunt, jumping over snowmobile trails, and supporting many community sponsored events, keep Montezuma going throughout the entire year.
Come visit us for our annual Lion’s Pancake Breakfast, All-Iowa Writers Conference, Fall Harvest Market, December Hometown Holiday, and Summer Nights events on the town square featuring entertainment, food and games. The annual Fourth of July “Let Freedom Ring Celebration” culminates with a spectacular waterfront fireworks display that is something you do not want to miss! Fishing derbies on our lakes, Sig’s annual model airplane airshows, or slipping in 9-holes of golf or a dip in the pool at the Montezuma Country Club, followed by a stop at Streetrod Productions to take a showroom tour of awesomely, cool souped-up custom golf carts.
And we have a terrific school system – Montezuma Community School! Education begins in Montezuma with a voluntary pre-school for four year olds and extends through 12th grade. Montezuma was also recognized this year in the Bronze category for academic excellence by US News. Come out and cheer on our champion Braves & Bravettes, support our fine arts programs, and nationally recognized Future Farmers of America chapter! In 2013-2014, $6.7 million in facility improvements will occur, keeping our school system vibrant and relevant for students into the future of our rapidly changing world.
Great things are happening in Montezuma with the launch of the new Montezuma Community Development group, a public-private partnership to inspire continuous improvement for our community. As you can see, we are obviously very proud of our town, and so easy to find! We are one hour east of Des Moines and one hour west of Iowa City. Explore this site for all of our upcoming events and opportunites to discover the best of what we have to offer. Come and share with us in Montezuma, Iowa! See you soon!