102 Interesting Facts About Iowa

Last updated on May 10th, 2024

57. It has haunted places too!

One of the most haunted places in Iowa is Edinburgh Manor in Jones County. Many paranormal investigators have visited this site to see what makes it so spooky.

58. A haunted road for ghost hunters

Ghost hunters must visit Stony Hollow Road, where a woman named Lucinda committed suicide. According to claims, this road is haunted by her.

59. Can you hear it too?

Visitors to the Villisca Axe Murder House in Vallisca, Iowa, claim to have heard all kinds of unexplained noises from the haunted place.

60. History of Giant Sloths

Giant sloths used to graze the Woodlands of Iowa during the Pleistocene period. It was the time when gigantic glaciers covered most of the state.

61. So many bat species!

Iowa is home to no less than nine bat species. The bats of Iowa play a vital role in helping farmers control the pests and insect population.

62. 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.

63. 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 base baller Bob Feller was an Iowa’s farm boy who was raised to greatness through the Cleveland Indians in the era of Golden age baseball.

64. Charles Floyd rests here in Sioux City

The only person who died during the Lewis and Clark expedition was Charles Floyd. His final resting place can be found in the southern parts of Sioux City, Iowa.

65. 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.

66. Ashton Kutcher was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

67. One of the most affordable places

Iowa has become one of the most affordable places to live in the US. One main reason for that is the availability of affordable housing in this state.

68. 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.

69. Field of Dreams was filmed here

The popular Kevin Kostner movie Field of Dreams was filmed in Dyersville in eastern Delaware County, Iowa. Other locations in western Dubuque County can also be seen in the film.

70. Horror movie: Children of the Corn

The Creepy classic horror movie Children of the Corn was filmed in Iowa. It was filmed in several places all over the state.

71. Slipknot was born here

The American Heavy Metal band Slipknot was formed in Iowa in 1995. Three musicians are natives of Iowa, and the state is featured in a popular album.

72. 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.

73. 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.

74. Corn Picker was invented here

A farm kid from Iowa made it easier for farmers with his corn picker invention. In 1885, a crowd gathered at their farm to see this strange machine harvesting corn for the first time.

75. The first gasoline-powered engine

It was in 1892 that John Froelich invented the first gasoline-powered engine that could be driven backwards and forwards (tractor).

76. A wooden flying machine

August Werner created a helicopter 17 years before the Wright brothers took their first flight. The flying machine was made from wood in 1884.

77. Soy Ink was invented here

Sharon Brower of Newell, Iowa, is the one who invented Soy ink. The invention was stolen from her, but she eventually got what was hers.

78. The first vending machine

The first vending machine was invented by an Iowa native, Francis Wittern, in 1931. He started an engineering company in Clive, Iowa, which produced his inventions.

79. Hybrid Corn was born here

Hybrid corn was introduced by Henry Wallace from Iowa in the 1920s. The first field trials were done by the Iowa Experiment Station, and his hybrid was entered in 1921.

80. Gallup Poll 

The Gallup Poll was a handy invention created by George Gallup from Jefferson, Iowa. It is a statistical method to measure public opinion.

81. Ray Townsend

Inventor Ray Townsend was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. He improved meat processing with his pork belly injector, pork skinner, and sausage linking machine.

82. Trampoline 1903

George Nissen, an Iowa native, invented the trampoline in 1903. The prototype of his invention was built in his parent’s garage in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

83. Who likes Butterfly stroke while swimming?

Head swim coach of the University of Iowa, Dave Armbruster, invented the butterfly stroke. The swimming technique was invented in 1935 and is now a standard style.

84. The first kennel cough vaccine 

William Switzer at the Veterinary Research Institute at Iowa State University developed the first kennel cough vaccine in 1977. Dogs worldwide are protected from this virus.

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

85. 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.

86. The first female lawyer in the United States

In 1869, Arabella Mansfield became the first female lawyer in the United States. She was admitted to the Iowa bar and passed bar exams with high scores.

87. A bridge across Mississippi River

In 1856, the bridge between Davenport and Rock Island was the first to span the mighty Mississippi River.

88. The first moving train robbery

The first moving train robbery in the world happened on July 21, 1873 in Adair, Iowa. The burglars netted some $3,000.

89. 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.

90. 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.

91. The world’s first set of surviving septuplets

On November 19, 1997, a 29 year old Bobby McCaughey gave birth to septuplets, the first time in the U.S. that so many infants in a multiple birth were born alive. They are the world’s first set of surviving septuplets.

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

92. Iowa for Best Gymnastics Places

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

93. America’s first public veterinary school

America’s first public veterinary school was founded in 1879 at Iowa State University. It is the College of Veterinary Medicine at this university.

94. Iowa has 3 State Universities

The state of Iowa has no less than three State Universities. They are the University of North Iowa in Cedar Falls, the Iowa State University in Ames, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

95. With that many State Universities, it is strange that Iowa is not even in the top ten states with the highest SAT and ACT scores.

96. Drones for crop harvesting

A study to use drones to keep an eye on crop harvesting was done by Iowa State University, Department of Agriculture. The drones fly over the field to ensure no crops are left behind.

97. 375 cake pans!

Not just books, but also cake pans are available for lending at the North Liberty Community Library. They have a collection of more than 375 cake pans.

98. Tacos Pizza was invented here

Happy Joe’s in Davenport, Iowa, claims credit for introducing tacos pizza. The original recipe is a must-have experience for every Iowan (and everyone else).

Scotcheroos
Scotcheroos. Image credit –

99. The season of Scotcheroos

A sweet dish that originated in Iowa is the famous scotcheroos. The season of Scotcheroos is one of the most awaited times of the year. Scotcheroos is a special kind of dessert that is quite impressive for kids. It is easy to make, and the first recipe was printed on the back of a Rice Crispy box in the 60s.

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.

100. Steak de burgo

The favorite food from De Moines, Iowa, is steak de burgo, invented in the 1950s. A tenderloin steak is served with a cream or butter-based sauce.

101. Iowa Ham Balls

Another regional favorite food from this state is Iowa Ham Balls. It is made from ham leftovers and drowned in a sweet, sticky sauce.

102. A sweet and tart dessert

For those with a sweet tooth, Snickers salad, a sweet and tart dessert, is made from vanilla custard, snicker bars, sliced apples, and whipped cream.

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/Wikipedia.org

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
Population
3,207,004
(Estimate July 1, 2023 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
DemonymIowan
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
(Actress)
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
Websitewww.iowa.gov
Area Codes319, 515, 563, 641, 712
Table last updatedDecember 21, 2023