By Ashley Rullestad
What is now Anamosa was founded as the settlement of Buffalo Forks in 1838 and incorporated as Lexington in 1856. When the young town chose to become incorporated as a city in 1877, the name was changed to Anamosa to avoid mail delivery confusion.
There are many different stories on how Anamosa was chosen as a name, but all of them center around a local Native American girl named Anamosa, which means “white fawn.” When a young Native American family passed through town in 1842, the little girl, named Anamosa, endeared herself to the townspeople. Following the family’s departure from town, local citizens decided to name their town after her.
Interestingly enough, a deaf man who operated the local newspaper was the one who suggested the name Anamosa. His name was Edmund Booth and he was a prominent leader in the national deaf community at the time. In Anamosa’s early days, many important buildings such as the post office and the church were located on the street which used to be land owned by Booth. When Booth died in 1905, every store in town closed to mourn his death.
There’s a local legend surrounding the name of the river that flows through Anamosa, the Wapsipinicon. It is said that a Native American maiden and her lover threw themselves off a bluff overlooking the Wapsipinicon River. Legend has it that one was named Wapsi, the other Pinicon. Origins of this legend are unconfirmed.