The area around what is now Templeton first saw settlers in the 1860's, and the first Post Office in the area was established at Elba in 1872. Elba was located approximately one mile southeast of Templeton, and quickly became a memory as Templeton was platted during the construction of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Pacific Railroad line in 1882. Like many communities started along new rail lines in the 1880's, Templeton quickly grew as people began to settle the rich Iowa prairie. Templeton got off to a strong start because of the strength and vigor of the early merchants who set up shop in the community.
Templeton's history is strongly rooted in its farming heritage. Most of the businesses in the community have always been focused on serving the agricultural producers in the area, and that continues to be true today. Of particular interest is the story of Templeton Rye, which was produced in the area during prohibition and came about as area farmers and businesspeople looked for a way to support their families during hard times. Recently, Templeton Rye was resurrected as a legal product, and the Templeton Rye Distillery is a popular tourist stop in Templeton in addition to being a strong contributor to the local economy.
In 1982, Templeton celebrated its Centennial (100 years) with a grand 3-day event, and 125 years of existence was highlighted during the town's Quasquicentennial in 2007. As part of these events, a comprehensive history of Templeton was assembled into two books including "A Century of Memories" in 1982 and "Beyond a Century" in 2007. Both of these books can be purchased by contacting City Hall in Templeton.