A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Ottawa, Iowa
(Polk County)

Nearby Census Genealogy
Cemeteries Tidbits &
Other IA

The location of Ottawa

Introduction ...

Below is our collection of tidbits, odds 'n ends for Ottawa.

This page contains eight sections:

Outdoor Activities ...

As we travel, we like to pursue some of our interests (such as astronomy and bird watching).

When in Ottawa, we use the following websites to find information relevant to Ottawa and the surrounding area.

Weather ...

Before heading outdoors, you should check the weather:

The National Weather Service forecast for Ottawa and surrounding area.

Astronomy ...

Whether using binoculars, a small telescope or the naked-eye, the Heavens-Above website can help amateurs find their way around the night-time sky. In addition to detailed sky charts, their website lists the visible planets, asteriods, comets, satellites and their track across the sky.

To give accurate results, Heavens-Above requires the latitude and longitude of your location. As a starting point, when we link to Heavens-Above, we pass the location for Ottawa. Once you're on the Heavens-Above website, you can improve accuracy by giving a more precise longitude and latitude for your actual position.

The Heavens-Above Website, centered on Ottawa.

Bird Watching ...

We enjoy finding new spots for bird watching and we use the eBird website to find local sighting reports and hotspots.

The eBird website is organized on a county-by-county basis. We have selected Polk County as the starting point when you click on the link below:

The Polk County sighting report from eBird.

Since Ottawa is near Warren County and also Marion County, we have provided a link to their eBird sighting reports:

Sighting report for Warren County

Sighting report for Marion County

Waymarking ...

Looking for somewhere out of the ordinary? Find a unique place and want to share it with others? Then it's time to visit

The website, centered on Ottawa.

How Far From Ottawa to ...

We spend a lot of time looking through Gazetteers, Almanacs & Directories that were published in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Many of the Gazetteers include the distance from a community such as Ottawa to various places of note, such as the White House.

With a nod to our favorite Gazetteers, the straight-line distance<1> beginning in Ottawa and extending to:

  • Des Moines [Map], which is the Seat of Polk County, lies 20 miles [32.2 km] to the North Northwest. If you could walk a straight line from Ottawa to Des Moines, with an average speed<2> of 2.2 miles [3.5 km] per hour, it would take just over a day to make the trip. A horse and buggy averaging 3.2 miles [5.1 km] per hour would take most of a day.
  • Des Moines [Map], which is the State Capital of Iowa, lies 20 miles [32.2 km] to the North Northwest (NNW). The buggy would take most of a day and walking would take just over a day.
  • The White House (Washington, DC [Map]) is 884 miles [1,422.7 km] to the East (E). Driving, with an average speed of 63 miles [101.4 km] per hour, would take most of two days, a buggy would take 35 days and walking would take 51 days.
  • The shortest distance<3> to Jerusalem (specifically the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock [Map]) is 6,419 miles [10,330.4 km] and it lies to the Northeast (NE).<4>
  • The distance to the Great Mosque of Mecca (specifically the Ka'bah - or Kaaba [Map]) is 7,167 miles [11,534.2 km] and it lies to the Northeast (NE).<5>
  • The distance to Saint Peter's Basilica (The Vatican [Map]) is 5,061 miles [8,144.9 km] and it lies to the Northeast (NE).<6>

Communities Also Named Ottawa ...

We have found 15 communities that share the name Ottawa.

Within Iowa, there is just one other community named Ottawa. Using our Gazetteer, we have found another 14 communities in the United States and Canada - with 14 of those located in the United States.

We have broken our list into two sections:

Other communities located in Iowa

Communities outside of Iowa

Communities Outside of Iowa

Jump ahead to ...

KansasNorth DakotaPennsylvania 
KentuckyOhioWest Virginia 


La Salle County

Our profile page for Ottawa, La Salle County   [Map]

Distance: About 241 miles [387.9 km] to the East.


Douglas County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Douglas County

We found mention of this community, but have little information.<7>

Although located in Douglas County, we don't know the location of this community within the county.

Franklin County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Franklin County   [Map]

Distance: About 208 miles [334.7 km] to the South Southwest.


Rockcastle County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Rockcastle County   [Map]

Distance: About 554 miles [891.6 km] to the East Southeast.


Monroe County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Monroe County   [Map]

Distance: About 516 miles [830.4 km] to the East.

Ottawa County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Ottawa County

We found mention of this community, but have little information.

Although located in Ottawa County, we don't know the location of this community within the county.


Le Sueur County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Le Sueur County   [Map]

Distance: About 213 miles [342.8 km] to the North.

North Dakota

Griggs County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Griggs County

We found mention of this community, but have little information.

Although located in Griggs County, we don't know the location of this community within the county.


Putnam County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Putnam County   [Map]

Distance: About 492 miles [791.8 km] to the East.


Ottawa County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Ottawa County   [Map]

Distance: About 315 miles [506.9 km] to the South Southwest.


Our profile page for Ottawa   [Map]

Distance: About 935 miles [1,504.7 km] to the East Northeast.


Montour County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Montour County   [Map]

Distance: About 871 miles [1,401.7 km] to the East.

West Virginia

Boone County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Boone County   [Map]

Distance: About 662 miles [1,065.4 km] to the East Southeast.


Waukesha County

Our profile page for Ottawa, Waukesha County   [Map]

Distance: About 282 miles [453.8 km] to the East Northeast.

Curious and Interesting Names Near Ottawa ...

As we travel, we always see a community with a name that gives pause. While there are names which are interesting or familiar, some catch our attention or strike our fancy. We always talk about such a name. If time permits and the community is not too far, we'll usually try to make a side-trip.

Beech   -   8 miles [12.9 km] to the Northeast of Ottawa   [Map]

Cool   -   7 miles [11.3 km] to the Southwest   [Map]

Greenbush   -   8 miles [12.9 km] to the North   [Map]

Liberty Center   -   7 miles [11.3 km] to the South   [Map]

Pleasantville   -   12 miles [19.3 km] to the Northeast   [Map]

Sandyville   -   7 miles [11.3 km] to the Northeast   [Map]

Scotch Ridge   -   11 miles [17.7 km] to the North   [Map]

Summerset   -   8 miles [12.9 km] to the North   [Map]

Summerset Junction (Historic)   -   9 miles [14.5 km] to the North   [Map]

Wick   -   12 miles [19.3 km] to the West   [Map]

Notable Births & Deaths ...

This is a new section for us and we are still collecting data.

Below is our list of notable people who were born, died or were buried in the area surrounding Ottawa. Please note that while we are collecting data on an ongoing basis, it's a big task and it's unlikely that our list will ever be more than a sample.

Bill Daily     (William Edward Daily, Jr.)

Actor, comedian. He was born in Des Moines (Iowa) on Tueday August 30, 1927 and died in Santa Fe (New Mexico) on Tueday September 4, 2018 at an age of 91.

Des Moines [Map] is located 20 miles [32.2 km] to the north of Ottawa

Find-A-Grave Memorial: Bill Daily<8>

Frank Jenks

Actor, musician. He was born in Des Moines (Iowa) on Tueday November 4, 1902 and died in Hollywood (California) on Sunday May 13, 1962 at an age of 59. He was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery (Los Angeles County, California) [Map].

Des Moines [Map] is located 20 miles [32.2 km] to the north of Ottawa

Find-A-Grave Memorial: Frank Jenks

Ruth Kobart

Actress. She was born in Des Moines (Iowa) on Thursday April 24, 1924 and died in San Francisco (California) on Saturday December 14, 2002 at an age of 78. She was buried at Temple Israel Memorial Park (Hennepin County, Minnesota) [Map].

Des Moines [Map] is located 20 miles [32.2 km] to the north of Ottawa

Find-A-Grave Memorial: Ruth Kobart

Hermas Walter 'Herm' McFarland

Professional baseball. He was born in Des Moines (Iowa) on Friday March 11, 1870 and died in Richmond (Virginia) on Saturday September 21, 1935 at an age of 65. He was buried at Riverview Cemetery (Richmond City, Virginia) [Map].

Des Moines [Map] is located 20 miles [32.2 km] to the north of Ottawa

Find-A-Grave Memorial: Hermas Walter 'Herm' McFarland

Harry T. Robinson

Actor. He was born in Des Moines (Iowa) on Saturday June 1, 1872 and died in Los Angeles (California) on Sunday September 8, 1946 at an age of 74. He was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery (Los Angeles County, California) [Map].

Des Moines [Map] is located 20 miles [32.2 km] to the north of Ottawa

Find-A-Grave Memorial: Harry T. Robinson

John Wayne     (Born as Marion Morrison)

Oscar winning actor. He was born in Winterset (Iowa) on Sunday May 26, 1907 and died in Newport Beach (California) on Friday May 11, 1979 at an age of 72. He was buried at Pacific View Memorial Park (Orange County, California) [Map].

Winterset [Map] is located 26 miles [41.8 km] to the west of Ottawa

Find-A-Grave Memorial: John Wayne

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Community located in Iowa

About Polk County

About Iowa

Off-the-Road Links ...

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Ottawa. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Polk County:

The official website for State of Iowa:

Footnotes ...

<1>Our distances are not driving distances, but are calculated as a 'point-to-point' distance. A straight line distance ignores obstructions like rivers, canyons, lakes, et cetera - it's truly a line from Point A (ie- Ottawa) to Point B.

Our distance measurements begin at a specific point in Ottawa. The point we use is located at these GPS coordinates - Latitude: 41.3119, Longitude: -93.5022     [Map].   In this case, the coordinates for Ottawa have been provided by the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).

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<2>While we have tried to pick reasonable speeds, the rate of travel is very theoretical - obstacles like fences, hills, lakes, river crossings and rest stops have been ignored. When we say 'Days' of travel, we're assuming 8 hours of travel per day.

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<3>The shortest line can be visualized by stretching a string on a Globe from Point A to Point B - this is known as a Great Circle Route. Where you might expect the shortest route from Ottawa to the Middle East to be East and South, the Great Circle Route actually lies to the North and East.

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<4>The calculated bearing (or angle) to Jerusalem is 318.395 degrees.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to Mecca is 315.787 degrees.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the Vatican is 311.661 degrees.

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<7>If we encounter the name of what might be a community, our methodology is to add that name to our Gazetteer as a placeholder. As we find more information about that community, it will be added to our Gazetteer.

Just as a reminder: Our definition of a community is rather broad and includes those places (or areas) where several families lived and had a name which identified that place. For example, you might hear somebody say that they are going over to Bird Creek to see Pete ... Bird Creek is just a gas station and a couple of homes at the crossroads. While it might not be on the map, everybody in the area knows it by that name.

Places of interest include buildings at a crossroad, several families clustered in a hollow or maybe the location of a way station. It also includes places like mines, lumber camps, ferry crossings, etc. The community might still exist, is now gone or only existed for just a short period of time.

Also keep in mind that Ottawa could have been on the original document by mistake, misspelled, the original/alternate name of a community that we've listed elsewhere or was placed in the wrong county. Sometimes a post office or train station would have a different name than the community where it's located, so two names might be referring to the same community - we're working to straighten it all out.

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<8>The Find-a-Grave website is an excellent research tool with information about a cemetery's location and interments. They also offer a forum for their members which can provide additional help. More information about Find-a-Grave can be found on their website:

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This page was last modified: 13 Oct 2019