Introduction to Decorah, Iowa

Decorah, Iowa, in Winneshiek county, is located 44 miles SW of La Crosse, Wisconsin (center to center) and 131 miles SE of St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 8,172 people live in Decorah.

Decorah History

Day Family was the first settler in Decorah in 1849. A large number of Norwegian settlements in the past years made Decorah famous as a Norwegian - American culture center. The city was named in the honor of Chief Waukon Decorah, who was a Winnebago and cooperated with the American settlers during the Black Hawk War.

Decorah and nearby Attractions

  • Vesterheim Norwegian - American Museum
  • Mary Christopher Park
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
  • Winneshiek County Fairground
  • Olson Hall

Things To Do In Decorah

Tourists can visit several parks including the Mary Christopher Park, Will Baker Park, and Dunnings Spring Park. Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum is also a popular tourist destination. You can visit the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, Farm Park at Decorah, and the Porter House Museum if you area interested in the area's history. Fort Atkinson State Preserve offers a number of recreational facilities. Every year various festivals like the Winneshiek County Fair and the Nordic Fest are hosted by Decorah.

Decorah Transportation

La Crosse Municipal Airport provides facilities for air transportation.

Decorah Higher Education

Luther College is located in Decorah. The other colleges and universities that provide higher educational facilities include Northeast Iowa Community College - Calmar, Upper Iowa University, and Winona State University.


Total Population 8,009
Male Share of the Population 46.7%
Female Share of the Population 53.3%
Senior Citizens 21.4%
Employed Population 16+ 4,703
Age of the Population 33


% of people married 39.3%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 42%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $67,734
% Above Poverty Level 87.9%
% Below Poverty Level 12.1%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 10 minutes
% Working from Home 7.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work 37.9%
% Using Public Transportation %


People Living Alone 39.2%
Median Gross Rent $576
Median House Value $157,300


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 7.2%
US/American 0%
English 9.7%
Irish 12.8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Decorah Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 44 miles SW of La Crosse, Wisconsin (center to center)
Nearest Large City 131 miles SE of St. Paul, Minnesota
County Winneshiek
Standard Zip Codes 52101
Phone Area Codes 563
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 43.303
Longitude -91.785

Decorah Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 0.8 miles
Jan Temp 7 to 25 F
Apr Temp 36 to 59 F
Jul Temp 62 to 84 F
Oct Temp 40 to 61 F
Annual Precip 33.4 inches
Station WAUKON
Distance 15.4 miles
Jan Temp 5 to 23 F
Apr Temp 35 to 57 F
Jul Temp 62 to 82 F
Oct Temp 39 to 60 F
Annual Precip 31.8 inches
Station CRESCO 1 NE
Distance 16.8 miles
Jan Temp 3 to 22 F
Apr Temp 34 to 56 F
Jul Temp 60 to 82 F
Oct Temp 36 to 59 F
Annual Precip 35.6 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Decorah, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Bluffton (52101)

Burr Oak (52101)

Freeport (52101)

Hesper (52101)

Locust (52101)

Nordness (52101)

Quandahl (52101)

Sattre (52101)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Calmar 1,049 $50,859
Castalia 170 $55,625
Fort Atkinson 267 $55,938

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Decorah Public Libraries

Decorah Public Library
Decorah, Iowa
(563) 382-3717
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Decorah Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(563) 283-2911
Emergency Service: Yes

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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Decorah High Schools

Serves 725 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.4

Decorah Colleges

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