NATIONAL IOWA DAY
On February 8, National Iowa Day recognizes The Hawkeye State.
The 29th state to join the United States is known for fertile prairie, rolling hills, raising innovative people and some nostalgic movie moments. From the Mississippi River to the harvests in Plymouth, Harrison or Fremont counties, Iowa’s history, beauty and hospitality flourish.
The state was named for Iowa Native Americans who populated the area when European settlement forced Eastern tribes westward.
Acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Iowa Territory settlement didn’t start to take place until around the 1830s.
One of the later settlements that remain today is the Amana Colony. A congregation of the Community of True Inspiration, their faith and persecution in Germany led them to immigrate to America for religious freedom. Iowa supplied fertile farmland and a home for them to practice their skills and their beliefs. Today, they open their community to the public. Shop for handmade gifts, homemade baked goods, wine and stay for a home-cooked meal.
In the southwestern part of the state, Madison County boasts beautiful covered bridges which were featured in the movie by a similar name. While touring the bridges, be sure to stop by Winterset and take in the birthplace of John Wayne.
Not far from the Mississippi River, The Field of Dreams home is just outside Dyersville. They built it so that you would come.
For fantastic performances in a historic rock and roll venue, check out the events at the Surf Ballroom. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper played their last concerts at the Surf Ballroom the night they perished in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.
Nature lovers will find plenty of adventure in Iowa. Effigy Mounds National Park will satisfy those with a mystical and historical curiosity. Rockhounds should seek out Geode State Park. The Corps of Discovery’s Louis and Clark Trail come through Iowa, too.
HOW TO OBSERVE
From the Quad Cities to Shimek Forest, Iowa offers city and country to explore. Join National Day Calendar as we examine the 29th state’s dynamic people and pioneering history. Travel byways and discovery Iowa’s stunning scenery! Use #NationalIowaDay to share on social media.
In 2017, National Day Calendar began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. There’s so much more to explore!
For a complete list of Texas State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks and www.nps.gov. Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.
Dolliver Memorial State Park – Lehigh
Geode State Park – Danville
McIntosh Woods State Park – Ventura
Shimek State Forest – Farmington
Viking Lake State Park – Stanton
Iowa Old Capitol Building – Iowa City
Salisbury House – Des Moines
Effigy Mounds National Monument – Harpers Ferry
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum – Decorah
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library – Cedar Rapids
Union Pacific Railroad Museum – Council Bluffs
MacNider Art Museum – Mason City
American Gothic House – Eldon
Living History Farms – Urbandale
Sergeant Floyd – Iowa
Museum of Danish America – Elk Horn
Western Historic Trails Center – Council Bluffs
Little Brown Church – Nashua
Historic Squirrel Cage Jail – Council Bluffs
Bentonsport National Historic District – Bentonsport
Beedle Park Heritage Train – Cresco
Amana Heritage Museum – Amana
Antonine Barada - Folk Hero - (August 22, 1807 - March 30 1885)
Half Omaha Indian and half French, Antonine Barada’s legend spread across the plains. Stories of his great size, strength, and marksmanship grew as he became woven into the fabric of pioneer life of Nebraska where he settled.
Buffalo Bill Cody - Scout - (February 26, 1846 - January 10, 1917)
William F. Cody earned a reputation for his skill as a horseman, scout and his willingness to put his life at risk during the Civil War and while working for the railroad. He would bring his exploits to life as entertainment in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.
Carrie Lane Chapman - Activist - (January 9, 1859 - March 9, 1947)
Founder of the League of Women Voters, Carrie Chapman Catt played an instrumental role in the suffrage movement and the passage of the 19th Amendment. As president of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, Carrie Chapman Catt made great strides toward increased membership and state by state lobbying efforts. Her leadership is credited with the surge of support that led to the eventual ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Charles and John Ringling along with their three of their brothers started a circus. With a family history of entertainers from Europe, the boys naturally performed most of the acts themselves. From clowns to acrobats and jugglers, they formed their show until it grew into one of the two most famous circus acts in the U.S.
Lee de Forest - (August 26, 1873 - June 30, 1961)
Lee de Forest’s invention of the Audion vacuum tube made live broadcasting possible. He served as the chief scientist for the first U.S. radio firm, American Wireless Telephone and Radio.
Herbert Hoover - President - (August 10, 1874 - October 20, 1964)
Known as a humanitarian, Herbert Hoover served one term as the 31st U.S. president. Before being elected president, Hoover’s humanitarian efforts during the Boxer Rebellion, World War I and his ability to organize aid at difficult times became a hallmark of his character. During his term in office, the U.S. economy plunged into the Great Depression. Hoover’s extended a few actions to stimulate the economy. Hoover believed aid must come from the local level and in a limited federal government role. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Hoover in his bid for reelection. The Great Depression lasted until 1939.
Eugene Burton Ely - Aviator - (October 21, 1886 - October 19, 1911)
In 1910, the United States Navy partnered with Eugene Ely and Glenn Curtiss to attempt to take off and land a plan on board one of the Navy’s ships. Ely completed a haphazard take off in a Curtiss Pusher from the deck of the USS Birmingham on November 14, 1910, causing damage to the propeller.
On January 18, 1911, Ely successfully landed the Curtiss on the USS Pensylvania where a modified landing deck and a restraining system had been prepared.
Grant Wood - Artist - (February 13, 1891 - February 12, 1942)
Most known for his piece, American Gothic, Grant Wood’s paintings depict American life. American Gothic launched Wood to the forefront of the Regionalist movement while the painting found a permanent place in American culture.
W.H. Carothers - Chemist - (April 27, 1896 - April 29, 1937)
W.H. Carothers invented nylon and neoprene. As a chemist, his contributions led to breakthroughs led to multiple versatile uses in industry and manufacturing.
George Gallup - Statistician - (November 18, 1901 - July 26, 1984)
Combining his journalism background and his polling skills, George Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion in 1935. It would become known as Gallup.
Glenn Miller - Composer - (March 1, 1904 - December 15, 1944)
Glenn Miller led one of the most popular World War II era bands. “Moonlight Serenade” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” name just a couple of his many hits.
Marion Mitchell Morrison - Actor - (May 26, 1907 - June 11, 1979)
Marion Mitchell Morrison, otherwise known as John Wayne, began his acting career under the guidance of director John Ford. Noted for his Westerns, John Wayne would also take on war and political dramas. Nominated for three Academy Awards, The Duke would earn Best Actor for the Western True Grit in 1969.
Winifred Asprey - Mathematician - (April 8, 1917 - October 19, 2007)
Mathematician and computer scientist, Winifred Asprey earned her Ph.D. in mathematics at a time when very few women did. Asprey established the first computer lab at Vassar College in 1967. Vassar soon became the second college to acquire an IBM System/360 computer.
Bob Feller - Baseball Player - (November 3, 1918 - December 15, 2010)
Nicknames like Rapid Robert, Bullet Bob and The Heather from Van Meter quickly sum up the pitching style of Bob Feller. Spending 18 years with the Cleveland Indians, Feller’s wicked fastball kept batters pacing the distance between the dugout and the plate. In 1941, Feller put his career on hold when he enlisted, becoming the first player to volunteer for World War II.
Johnny Carson - Talk Show Host - (October 23, 1925 - January 23, 2005)
Johnny Carson’s early career in broadcasting began in radio and television for WOW in Nebraska. He hosted several shows before being tapped to replace Jack Paar as the host of the Tonight Show in 1962. He successfully hosted the show for 30 years with his sidekick, Ed McMahon.
Dan Gable - Wrestler - (October 25, 1948 -)
Dan Gable earned gold in wrestling at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, West Germany. He would go on to become the wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. Gable has also coached the U.S. Olympic team to multiple gold medals during his career.
Peggy Whitson - Astronaut - (February 9, 1960 -)
Astronaut, Peggy Whiston, holds the record for the most cumulative time in space by an American. At 665 days accrued, Whiston spent her extended mission above the Earth on the International Space Station and broke the record on September 2, 2017.