54 Interesting Facts About Iowa

Last updated on September 7th, 2023

45. The season of Scotcheroo is one of the most awaited times of the year. Scotcheroos is a special kind of dessert that is quite impressive for kids. It can be likened to rice Krispies Treat that is used on steroids. It is made using the basic formula for Krispies with peanut butter, butterscotch, and melted chocolate added as toppings. It is more or less a chewy candy.

Iowa City's Bronze Panels. Iowa fact file.
Iowa City’s Literary Walk features bronze relief panels that celebrate some of the best writers with Iowa ties. Image credit.

46. Iowa City’s Bronze Panels: Iowa Avenue is characterized by a series of bronze panels. They make up Iowa Avenue Literary Walk which pays tribute to authors from the state with their quotes engraved on every panel. Literary Walk quotes plus the biographies of the writers are featured in the Authors section. There are also children’s books and interesting short stories.

47. Waterloo’s Grout Museum District: It was founded in 1932 and is considered a cornerstone of Northeast Iowa culture. There is something to see for everyone from pioneers to pythons, science to stars, veterans to Victorian. The museum covers the Civil War, Iowa’s military history, artifacts, and interviews with veterans.

48. Fort Dodge, Little Chicago: locally, Fort Dodge is known as Little Chicago. The nickname came about when the construction was going on. It was built to mimic Chicago. Many buildings are still standing today. Visitors have the opportunity to wander through history and art at Blanden Art Museum and Fort Museum.

49. First Colby Car: the first Colby saw the streets of Mason City in 1910. A 5-passenger car did well and actually earned a speeding ticket during its test driving. It emerged position 3 at the Indianapolis Speedway Race in 1911. But it went out of the market after the company stopped business in 1914. The remaining Colby cars are well preserved in the Kinney Pioneer Museum.

50. Coldwater Cave: this is the biggest water cave in the state of Iowa with over 16 miles of passages stretching from northeast Winneshiek County, Iowa, to southeast Fillmore County, Minnesota. The natural cave’s entrance was discovered in 1967 when three fearless scuba divers were trying on rudimentary tools. They revealed this discovery to the state after a few years of cave diving.

Ice House Museum, Iowa. Interesting facts about Iowa.
Ice House Museum, Iowa. Image credit – Paul Huber.

51. Ice House Museum: this is a perfect place to learn how life was before refrigeration technology came in. A broad selection of ice-harvesting artifacts and archives are found here. The museum was once the Ice and Fuel Company in 1921. Most of the exhibits are the tools that were utilized to carve out ice from the Cedar River.

52. Gladbrook Naming: Gladbrook was founded by two gentlemen. When they went to complete the area’s paperwork in Chicago, they had to come up with a name for the town. After a lengthy conversation about what is good in Iowa, the two said they were glad to have enjoyed a nice brook from the town. And that is how they came up with the name ‘Gladbrook’.

53. Iowa State Fair: with live entertainment, livestock shows, food, rides, and many more, there is so much fun to enjoy during Iowa State Fair. The event started in 1854 way before America’s great westward movement. Thrill Zone is hard to miss with favorite parks and classics like Ye Old Mill and Giant Slide. The fairgrounds are open from April through October with major events happening in August.

54. The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library (NCSML): the NCSML is a unique institution in Cedar Rapids that acquaints visitors of all backgrounds with the history and culture of Slovak and Czech. With peculiar exhibitions, the museum takes guests through tales of freedom, human rights, family and community that link today and future. Apart from cultural attractions, there are numerous dining experiences.

Sand sculpture of agriculture in Iowa
Sand sculpture of agriculture in Iowa at the state fair. Interesting facts about Iowa. Photo © Iheartcountryphoto | Dreamstime.com

Now that we have seen some interesting Iowa facts, let us read some facts about 10 largest cities in Iowa.

1. Des Moines

From at least 1942 to 2009, Des Moines had a city ordinance making public dancing illegal between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

2. Cedar Rapids

This beautiful city is also known as the City of Five Seasons. It started as an advertising slogan, with the idea that being smaller than some metropolitan areas, residents can enjoy all four seasons with time to spare. With less time spent commuting, there is time for a more relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle — the fifth season.

3. Davenport 

In 1928, Otto Frederick Rohwedder, a resident of Davenport, invented a machine that could slice an entire loaf of bread automatically. By 1933, 80% of bread bakeries in the US sold pre-sliced bread using this invention.

4. Sioux City

Birthplace of Pauline Esther Friedman and her identical twin sister Esther Pauline Friedman. Pauline wrote the famous advice column Dear Abby, under the pen name Abigail Van Buren. Her sister, Esther (Eppie) took over the advice column Ask Ann Landers, under the pen name Ann Landers.

5. Iowa City

On November 20, 2008, Iowa City became the third city in the world to be designated a UNESCO, (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) City of Literature, following the cities of Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia.

6. West Des Moines

James C. Jordan, an early settler in the area, began construction on the Jordan House in 1850. He was a devoted abolitionist, and the Jordan House became a stopover for slaves seeking freedom on the underground railroad. The slaves would hide in the surrounding fields, outbuildings, and barns located on the property.

7. Ankeny

High Trestle Trail is a pedestrian, biking, and running trail that was built over a decommissioned section of track from the Union Pacific Railroad. Views from atop the footbridge offer a wonderful vantage point for taking in the valley below.

8. Waterloo

Home to the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum. Visitors will learn the history of John Deere machines, from their first steel plow to the modern working machines of today. This interactive museum has something for everyone.

9. Ames

On New Year’s Day, 1942 a blizzard dumped 24 inches of snow in just 24 hours. When the storm passed, temperatures dropped to 24 degrees below zero, making Ames the coldest place in Iowa. A reporter for Life Magazine was stranded by the storm but was able to compile a two-page spread of photos he’d taken along Main Street. This spread was featured in Life’s January 19th issue.

10. Council Bluffs

The Pottawattamie Jailhouse, built in 1885, is commonly referred to as the Squirrel Cage Jail.” It is a reminder of the short period when rotating cells were popular. The Pottawattamie Jailhouse was different than most in that its carousel of rotating cells was stacked three stories high.

About the state flag of Iowa

the State Flag of Iowa
Flag of Iowa. Image credit – Public domain

1. The state flag of Iowa was designed by Dixie Cornell Gebhardt. She was born on November 18, 1866, in Knoxville, Iowa, and served as secretary in Iowa’s Daughters of the American Revolution chapter.

2. Iowa’s state flag was not adopted by the state legislature until March 29, 1921, during World War I. This was around 75 years after the state had been established.

3. The flag was designed for civil use, and to honor members of the Iowa National Guard, who were stationed at the Mexican border during the first world war. They asked for a flag they could use to represent their unit.

4. Iowa’s state flag is blue, white, and red. Blue represents loyalty, truth, and justice. White is meant to reflect purity. Red stands for courage. It includes in the center an image of an eagle carrying streamers in its beak, which is an emblem that also appears on Iowa’s state seal. On the flag, the word IOWA is also listed in red letters beneath the eagle.

5. The streamers on the flag are blue and in white letters, they read: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”

Iowa – Quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationIA
State CapitalDes Moines
Largest CityDes Moines
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 56,272 sq miles; Land Only: 55,869 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2022 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodDecember 28, 1846
State rank by population31st
State rank by date of formation29th
State rank by area26th
Number of Counties99
Bordering StatesIllinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointHawkeye Point
1,671 ft (509 m)
Lowest pointConfluence of Mississippi River and Des Moines River
480 ft (146 m)
Length 310 miles (499 km)
Width200 miles (322 km)
GovernorKim Reynolds (R)
Lieutenant GovernorAdam Gregg (R)
Electoral Votes6
State MottoOur liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain
State NicknameHawkeye State
% Water0.70
Noble prize WinnersNorman Borlaug (Peace, 1970)
Edwin G. Krebs (Physiology or Medicine, 1992)
Stanley B. Prusiner (Physiology or Medicine, 1997)
Alan Heeger (Chemistry, 2000)
Famous peopleKurt Warner (Pro Football player)
Dave Bancroft (Baseball player)
Michelle Monaghan
U.S. President Born in Iowa1. Herbert Hoover.
State TreeOak
State BirdEastern Goldfinch
State FlowerWild rose
State rockGeode
Longitude90° 8′ W to 96° 38′ W
Latitude40° 23′ N to 43° 30′ N
Time ZoneCentral Time Zone
Area Codes319, 515, 563, 641, 712
Table last updatedApril 27, 2023