39 Interesting Facts About Iowa

Last updated on March 12th, 2020

Iowa is the 31st most populous and the 26th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the midwestern United States. The state attained statehood on December 28, 1846, becoming the 29th state to join the union. Its six bordering states are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Iowa (nicknamed: Hawkeye State) has 99 counties. The state’s capital is Des Moines. The postal abbreviation for Iowa is IA. People who live in Iowa or who come from Iowa are referred to as Iowans and upon occasion, they are referred to as Hawkeyes. With these facts about Iowa, let us learn more about its history, people, geography, economy, culture, nature and wildlife and much more. 

1. It’s the Home of the World’s Largest Bullhead Fish Statue.

The statue is 12 feet long. It sits on a crystal lake which has several hundred real bullhead fish at the bottom. It’s such a breath-taking view for you and your family.[18]

Iowa on the U.S. map.
Iowa (in red) on the map with bordering states.

2. Hogs Out-number the Human Population in Iowa!

Iowa sets the record of the highest number of pigs in the USA. According to the Department of Agriculture, there were 73.5 million in June 2018. About 33.2 million pig babies were born between March and May 2018. It was the highest number since 1970.

3. It Inspired the Americans Gothic Drawing.

It’s the home to the house that Grant Wood painted back in his studio of the Americans Gothic. Grant wood most well-known work was inspired by a farmer and his wife standing outside their white story house.

An illustrative image of strawberries.

4. The Worlds Largest Strawberry Live Here.

It’s a fiberglass statue of a strawberry. Its located on the strawberry point building. It’s not edible but is a perfect strawberry marketing strategy.[17]

5. Iowa is Home to Several Celebrities.

The famous investor, model, and actor featuring in several romantic movies and comedies was born and brought up in Iowa. John Wayne was the son of a pharmacist and grew up to become one of Hollywood’s most famous movie stars. He was born in Winterset, Iowa. Famous baseballer Bob Feller was an Iowa’s farm boy who raised to greatness through the Cleveland Indians in the era of Golden age baseball.

Corn From Iowa

6. Iowa is the Largest Corn Producer in America

Ninety-two percent of Iowa’s land is covered with farms. The best crop is grown to be corn. Corn production provides income for Iowa’s economy. According to the statistics, they say the state produces even more corn than some countries, like Mexico. And it is 2nd to Illinois in soybean production.

7. Register for the RAGBRAI.

The longest, largest and oldest recreational bicycle touring event in the world is held here annually since 1973. Riders ride across Iowa or RAGBRAI hence the name RAGBRAI.[16]

Bread in a Bread Slicer.
Bread in a Bread Slicer.

8. First Bread, the Slicing Machine, was Invented here.

Bread is one of the world’s oldest prepared foods. However, sliced bread has been around for less than a century. The first bread slicing machine was invented in Iowa by Otto Frederick Rohwedder. The first automatically sliced loaves were produced on July 6, 1928.[15]

9. Rivers on East and West

Iowa is the only state bordered by two navigable rivers; the Missouri River to the west and the Mississippi River to the east. The eastern and the western borders of the state are completely formed by the rivers.

Iowa on the map

10. The Shrine of Grotto redemption.

It’s a religious shrine in West Bend Iowa. It has nine caves that portray the life of Jesus. It’s the biggest grotto in the world made of petrifications, shells, and minerals. The largest man-made Grotto in the world, the Grotto contains the largest collection of precious stones and gems found anywhere in one location![14]

11. There is only one town island in Iowa.

Sabula town in Jackson County, Iowa, is located on an island in Mississippi river. It’s the only island town here. With an area of 1.26 sq mi, approximately six hundred people call it home.[13]

12. One Of The Biggest State Fair is held in Iowa.

Since 1854 October, the states of the USA have the annual fair in various cities. It was permanently scheduled to happen in Des Moines, Iowa’s capital. The fair is held over 11 days every year in August and it attracts more than a million visitors. It is the largest event in the entire state and celebrates Iowa’s agriculture,  industry, entertainment, and achievement.[11,12]

Pomme horse exercise athlete
Pomme horse exercise athlete gymnast to competition in gymnastics.

13. Iowa for Best Gymnastics Places.

The world best-renowned dance and gymnastics school is situated in Iowa. If you are looking for an athletes institute with all modern facilities and training, this is where to go.[10]

14. Iowa has the Unique Name in the US.

Iowa is the only state name that starts with two vowels! You can hardly pronounce it on your first trial.

15. The wooden nickel.

You probably never seen a wooden nickel, but here in Iowa, on a farm, is a 12-inch world largest wooden Nickel.[9]

16. Coldwater Cave.

It’s the largest cave in Iowa. It measures approximately sixteen miles and has only one underwater entrance at the base of its 100-foot cliff. It’s a natural water cave worth visiting.

17. Elwood the Tallest Concrete Gnome.

Elwood is the worlds tallest Gnome. He stands in a garden 15 feet tall from his boots to his telltales pointy hat and weighs at least 3500 pounds. He may not be the tallest Gnome, but he is sure is the tallest concrete Gnome.[3]

18. One of the Largest Trail Bridge.

A 25-mile trail bridge winds across five of Iowa towns. It crosses from Woodward to Ankeny across Des Moines river valley. The bridge is half a mile long, and it’s a hundred and thirty feet high. It is considered to be among the largest trail bridges in the world.[2]

Wind turbines.
Wind turbines.

19. Twenty-five Percent is Generated by Wind Power.

In terms of wind power capacity installed, Iowa is the third in the nation after Texas (23,262 MW) and Oklahoma (7,495 MW). However, Iowa leads the nation in per-capita wind power capacity with 2,324 MW/million people.[1]

20. The Day The Music Died

The plane crash of 1959 that caused the death of famous singers and songwriters Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP happened near clear lake Iowa.[20]

21. There are several natural lakes in Iowa.

Iowa is the mother of the famous Spirit Lake, the biggest glacier lake in the state. West Okoboji and East Okoboji lakes the deepest lake in the states. They are recreational centers since they are ice skating spots in winter and fishing and boat-riding venues in summer. However, the majority of the lakes in the state are man-made. 

22. World’s first electronic digital computer

Professor John Atanasoff and student Clifford Berry (both USA) created the world’s first electronic digital computer – the Atanasoff–Berry Computer (ABC) – at Iowa State University, USA, between 1937 and 1942.[19]

23. Most of Iowa’s citizens are Christians.

If you are thinking of moving to Iowa and are Christian, worry not because there are enough churches in Iowa. Eighty-three percent of the citizens is either protestants or Catholics. Other religions are also there but not as many.[8]

24. Manufacturing is the backbone of the state’s economy.

There are countless manufacturing companies in Iowa. Most of which are food processing companies. Electrical equipment, chemical products, publishing, and primary metal companies are a huge source of employment too.

25. Scranton is the oldest water tower.

It’s the oldest water tower in Iowa and top ten oldest water tower in the united states. It was constructed in 1897, and it’s still functional to date![7]

26. 31st president of USA was born and brought up in Iowa.

Herbert Clark Hoover was president of the united states from 1929 to 1933 and was born in Iowa. This had been a period of the great depression. Henry Wallace, who was the 33rd vice president, was also born in Iowa.[6]

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