State Center was, and is, a classic farm-to-market town, created by the arrival of the railroad.
The town was platted by the railroad in 1864, and was first referred to as Centre Station because of its location at the midpoint of the first railroad across the state of Iowa. It was incorporated as State Centre in 1867, the year the rail line reached Council Bluffs. This rail line connected with the Union Pacific Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.
From 1864 until its acquisition by the Union Pacific in 1995, the line built by the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad would be operated and later owned, by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
The town of State Centre eventually changed the spelling of its name to State Center, but the State Center Historical Society and the State Center Development Association currently are working to create the "Centre Station Railroad Museum," with its historical spelling. The groups are bringing a donated 1880s train depot from the town of Zearing to State Center, where it will be located along the Union Pacific line on East Main Street. Once sufficient funds are raised, the museum will tell the history of the railroad’s influence on the settlement of the Midwest and specifically, Iowa and the State Center area.