Cornell College District


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We invite you to step into the past of Cornell College’s campus, which opened on the Iowa frontier in 1853 as the first college in the state to admit women.

The founder of Cornell College, a Methodist minister George Bowman, started the college with the strong support of Mount Vernon citizens who wanted better educations for their children.

This website and our audio walking tour features 11 historic buildings that help make Cornell one of only two college campuses nationwide to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cornell College was established in 1853, during the Military Road Era. The College expanded during the Railroad Era since it was easier to travel to the “Hilltop.” It was during this same era that many fine homes were built, still within Cornell College’s National Historic District today. During an overlapping Cornell College Era, these residential expansions accompanied construction of several College buildings as well.

Cornell College Resources

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Cornell College Historic District Map

Cornell College Historic District map