Iola is a city situated along the Neosho River in the northwestern part of Allen County, located in Southeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,704. Iola is the county seat of Allen County. It is named in honor of Iola Colborn.
The history of Iola began in 1859. After the location of the county seat at Humboldt, by the legislature of 1858, there was a great deal of dissatisfaction among the residents of the central and northern parts of the county, and a number of citizens selected the present site of Iola, with the intention of ultimately securing the county seat. On January 1, 1859, a large meeting was held at the Deer Creek schoolhouse. It was determined to organize a town company, which was immediately done, and a constitution was then adopted and officers elected. The officers of the company after due consideration of different points selected a site for the proposed town, about two miles (3 km) north of Cofachique, at the confluence of Elm Creek and the Neosho River. The site was owned in part by J.F. Colborn and W.H. Cochrane. The claims on two quarter-sections were bought, and were soon after surveyed into lots.
The town company worked hard to get the town started. A meeting was held to choose a name. Several were proposed, and the choice was determined by ballot. Some one had proposed the name Iola, which was the Christian name of J.F. Colborn's wife. As a result of the vote, this name was chosen. Meetings of the company were held every week during the first year and efforts made to induce settlement. By the close of the year a number of lots had been disposed of, several buildings erected, and other improvements made, as all who bought lots were required to make some improvements at once. The residents of Cofachique, despairing of making their town a success, joined with Iola, and most of them moved to the new site, all working together in the endeavor to secure the location of the county seat at once.