The town of Humboldt (population 4,800) was founded in 1863 by Stephen Harris Taft. It was originally named Springvale because of the several natural springs found near the Des Moines River. Taft brought out a group of settlers (including a doctor) in 1863, and they lived together in the few houses that had been built. The grist mill was built, known now as the Corydon Brown House. This house is now the Humboldt County Museum. Springvale was renamed Humboldt after the German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.