Iowa Facts
Iowa Facts

21 Fun Iowa Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published June 30, 2021
  • Iowa's nickname is "The Hawkeye State," after the Black Hawk War of 1832, fought between US troops and Sauk warriors led by Black Hawk.[9]
  • The world's largest grotto, or man-made cave, is located in West Bend, Iowa. "The Grotto of the Redemption" was built by Father Paul Dobberstein and celebrates events in the life of Jesus Christ.[13]
  • Iowa is the nation's biggest producer and exporter of pork. At any given time, there are around 24 million pigs being raised on one of Iowa's nearly 6,000 pig farms.[1]
  • Western film star John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, home of the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum.[7]
  • Arabella Mansfield of Iowa became the first female lawyer in the United States when she passed the bar exam in 1869.[4]
  • Iowa became the 29th state of the United States of America in 1846.[9]
  • Over 90% of Iowa's land is used for agriculture.[9]
  • Iowa is the first state to hold presidential caucuses every four years, making it a point of focus at the beginning of each election season.[9]
  • Grant Wood's famous painting American Gothic was inspired by a small house in Elden, Iowa. The house is included in the National Registry of Historic Places.[3]
  • American Gothic Iowa
    Wood painted the sort of people he imagined might live in this house

  • The Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who rose to prominence as a spiritual teacher to The Beatles, purchased Parson's College in Fairfield, Iowa, and turned it into a center for meditation. The most impressive building, the "Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge," is a popular tourist spot.[5]
  • Iowa was originally inhabited by many different Native American tribes. Today the Native American population is less than 1%, much of it in the Mesquakie Settlement, a reservation made up of the Fox and Sauk tribes.[9]
  • Iowa produces more corn than any other state in the United States.[11]
  • Iowa is a leader in national wind power, with 36% of the state's electricity created by wind turbines.[17]
  • Iowa Hobo Museum
    Iowa boasts the nation's only hobo museum
  • The town of Britt, Iowa, is home to the National Hobo Museum and a yearly hobo convention. The dream of three lifelong hobos from Britt, the museum and festival aim to preserve stories of the American hobo.[8]
  • Iowa is home to the annual RAGBRAI, or "Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa." The recreational bicycle tour spans seven days and roughly 468 miles across the state of Iowa.[6]
  • The name "Iowa" was, for many years, mistakenly believed to mean "the beautiful land." In fact, the name likely derives from the Ioway Native American tribe, whose name means "the sleepy ones."[14]
  • The little town of Le Mars, Iowa, is known as the "Ice Cream Capital of the World." Home to Blue Bunny ice cream, Le Mars also boasts over fifty ice cream-themed sculptures around town.[10]
  • Famous Iowan inventions include the bread-slicing machine, the modern trampoline, Eskimo (now Edy's) Pies, and the popular message board Pinterest.[2]
  • Iowa was once home to 17 different Native American tribes.[15]
  • There are around 27,000 documented archaeological sites in Iowa, of civilizations up to 2,000 years old.[16]
  • Iowa is the unlikely location of an island called Sabula. Home to a small city nicknamed "Island City," Sabula is a small island within the Mississippi River.[12]
  • Educational Iowa INFOGRAPHIC
    Iowa Infographic Thumbnail

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