State Information

Nickname(s):                        Hawkeye State

Motto(s):                                 Our Liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain

State song(s):                        The Song of Iowa

 Capital & Largest City       Des Moines

Admitted to US                       12/28/1846                  29th State

Brief History

Iowa was included in the Louisiana Purchase. 

Here are a few interesting facts about Iowa:

  • Iowa has a caucus rather than a primary election.  The caucus system involves thousands of people gathering in homes or public places and select delegates who later vote at the various party’s conventions.

  • The Iowa Supreme Court held no “separate but equal” in 1863, an astounding 85 years before the US Supreme Court decision of Brown v Board of Education. 

  • It is the top producer of corn, hogs, and eggs in the US and produces one-eleventh of the Nation’s food supply. 

  • Quaker Oaks, in Cedar Rapids, is the largest cereal company in the world. 

  • Iowa is the largest producer of ethanol in the United States. 

  • Iowa has a very low tax burden and has the 4th lowest unemployment rate. 

  • A few famous people from Iowa include Herbert Hoover (president), Johnny Carson (TV host), Buffalo Bill Cody (frontiersman), John Wayne (actor), Andy Williams (singer), Kurt Warner (football quarterback), and many others.

Interesting Stories

Glenn Miller was born in Iowa.  The band sold more number 1 records and had more top ten hits (69) in four years than any other musician.  That was more than Elvis Presley (38) and the Beatles (33) in their music history.  The song “In the Mood” is played in every swing dance competition.  On December 15, 1944, Major Glenn Miller boarded an airplane in London bound for Paris to perform for the troops.  His plane left in heavy fog and was spotted over the English Channel. He was never heard from again.  The official stories (2) were that the pilot became disoriented in the fog and crashed into the water or mechanical failure.  The only truth we know is that Glenn Miller was spectacularly talented from Iowa, and his music will be with us forever.

Dan Gable was born in Waterloo, IA. He became the most famous wrestler in the world.  He studied his opponents before each match and memorized their moves, weaknesses, and strengths.  Some athletes used smack talk to intimidate.  Not Dan.  His reputation and steely stare were all that he needed.  When the Soviet Union heard that Dan Gable would go to the Olympics, they searched the entire countryside for a competitor.  In the 1972 Olympics, no wrestler scored a point against him.  Dan went on to coach for the University of Iowa and became the winningest coach in the history of wrestling with a record of 355-21-5.  Winning begets winning.

Dr. Norman Borlaug was born in Cresco, Iowa.  He received the Nobel Prize for reducing world hunger with disease-resistant wheat.  Because of Dr. Borlaug’s work, wheat productivity skyrocketed.  He created the “Borlaug Hypothesis,” which proved that increased crop production offsets deforestation.  Dr. Borlaug chose to address changes in the ecology with real solutions.  

George Gallup was born in Jefferson, Iowa.  In 1936, Literary Digest mailed out 10 million questionnaires, and 2.3 million people responded. They wrongly predicted that Landon would win in a landslide over Roosevelt. At the same time, George Gallup conducted a poll where he sent out trained interviewers to demographically representative samples.  Mr. Gallup’s survey correctly projected a Roosevelt victory.  Gallup pioneered survey sampling techniques and is often credited as the developer of public polling.

Jim Grief is a corn farmer in the small town of Monticello, IA.  He has been farming for 41 years.  He has numerous accomplishments, including being president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and serving on the Linn county Farm Bureau.  Among his various achievements, he was also a volunteer firefighter for the Prairieburg Fire Department.  Voluntary fire departments have a well-entrenched history, with origins that can be traced back to ancient Rome in 6 AD.  Like generations before him, Jim stepped up to meet the calling. Not only did he volunteer with the fire department, but he also became Board President for Fire District No. 4.  Jim reminds us that even if you’re born in a small town, you can hold onto tradition while achieving greatness.