From the 1936 WPA Writer's Project
Prescott, located in Adams County, ninety miles southwest of Des Moines and four miles north of Highway 34, was originally name Glendale, but in 1869 it was changed to Prescott in honor of one of the men instrumental in having the Burlington Railroad built through the town. The first settlement was made in 1868 but until the railroad was completed settlers drove to Afton, thirty miles distant for their supplies. The population was at one time about 600 but since the increased use of motor transportation this has decreased until now the total is 428. There is a consolidated school at Prescott where complete elementary and secondary courses may be obtained. Among the notables of the town are Judge Thomas M. Maxwell, at one time a teacher at Prescott and later district judge and Judge Horace Towner, at one time governor of the Philippines and now a resident of Corning, who was born in Prescott.
1984 Adams County History Book
In 1846, when Iowa became a State, the area now known as Prescott was virgin timber with the Nodaway River to the south and a few natives roaming the area. A small 'Indian' burial ground is located a short distance to the south of town. With the building of the Burlington Northern Railroad (C, B & Q) in 1868, the settlement of Prescott then known as Motley and later Glendale, began to develop on the south side of the tracks. The name Prescott came about in 1869, in honor of one of the men instrumental in building the railroad. The railroad played an important part in the early life of Prescott, with its regular stops of passenger and freight trains. Until it was completed in 1869, everyone drove to Afton, some 30 miles away, for their supplies. The orginal plat of Prescott was recorded June 6, 1870.