Iola was named after the wife of J.F. Colborn who had built the first frame-style home in the area. The town's beginnings started in 1859 when residents of nearby Cofachique and Humboldt became dissatisfied with Humboldt as the county seat. A large meeting was held in January, 1859, and the result was the organization of the new town of Iola.
By 1860, two small general stores relocated from Cofachique to Iola. Over the next several years, a dry goods store, a grocery, a clothing store, and drug store were established. By 1865, Iola was established as the new county seat, and in 1895, the population surged due to the discovery of natural gas pools in the area.
Iola maintains a variety of attractions including: