67 Interesting Facts about Iowa, The Hawkeye State

Nestled in the heart of the American Midwest, Iowa is a state of enduring charm and natural beauty. Its landscape is a quintessential representation of the Midwest, with rolling plains, fertile farmland, and picturesque rivers. Often referred to as the “Corn State,” Iowa’s agricultural heritage runs deep. It is a leading producer of corn and soybeans, contributing significantly to the nation’s food supply. The Iowa State Fair, a beloved tradition, showcases the state’s agricultural prowess and vibrant rural culture, drawing visitors from all corners of the nation.

Iowa places a strong emphasis on education, with a reputation for excellence in its schools and universities. The University of Iowa, situated in the cultural hub of Iowa City, is known for its prestigious Writers’ Workshop and acclaimed medical programs. Iowa State University in Ames is a powerhouse in agricultural and engineering research. The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls excels in education and business studies. These institutions underscore Iowa’s commitment to intellectual growth and innovation.

Outdoor enthusiasts find solace in Iowa’s diverse natural landscapes. The state offers a tapestry of scenic beauty, from the majestic bluffs along the Mississippi River at Effigy Mounds National Monument to the unique loess hills in western Iowa. The network of parks, trails, lakes, and rivers caters to a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking, boating, fishing, and camping. Iowa’s commitment to conservation ensures that these outdoor treasures are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Iowa’s true gem, however, is its warm and welcoming communities. Iowans are known for their friendliness and neighborly spirit. Small towns and close-knit neighborhoods often come together for local events, church suppers, and community festivals. This sense of community is a hallmark of life in Iowa and is cherished by residents and visitors alike.

Moreover, Iowa holds a unique place in American politics due to its first-in-the-nation caucuses. Every four years, the state becomes a political epicenter as presidential candidates from both major parties descend upon Iowa to make their case to voters. The Iowa Caucuses mark the start of the presidential primary season and play a significant role in shaping the national political landscape.

Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines

Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines

Do you want to know more about Iowa? Let’s take a look at these 67 interesting facts about Iowa.

  1. Nickname: Iowa is often called the “Hawkeye State” after the fictional character Hawkeye from James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans.”
  2. State Capital: Des Moines is the state capital of Iowa.
  3. Geographic Center: The town of Ames, Iowa, is considered the state’s geographic center.
  4. State Flag: Iowa’s state flag features a bald eagle carrying a banner with the state motto: “Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain.”
  5. State Flower: The wild rose is Iowa’s state flower.
  6. Corn Production: Iowa consistently ranks as one of the top corn-producing states in the U.S.
  7. Educational Prowess: Iowa is known for its strong education system, with high literacy rates and nationally recognized universities.
  8. Hilton Coliseum: Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum in Ames is a prominent venue for college basketball and wrestling events.
  9. Birthplace of John Wayne: The iconic actor John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa.
  10. State Bird: The eastern goldfinch (American goldfinch) is Iowa’s state bird.
  11. State Tree: The oak tree is Iowa’s state tree.
  12. Herbert Hoover: Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, was born in West Branch, Iowa.
  13. Grant Wood: The famous American painter Grant Wood, known for “American Gothic,” was from Iowa.
  14. State Fish: The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is Iowa’s state fish.
  15. State Rock: Iowa’s state rock is the geode.
  16. Loess Hills: The unique Loess Hills, formed by windblown silt, stretch along the western border of Iowa.
  17. Cedar Rapids: Cedar Rapids is known for its Czech Village, celebrating Czech heritage.
  18. Mississippi River: The Mississippi River forms Iowa’s eastern border.
  19. Ice Cream Capital: Le Mars, Iowa, is known as the “Ice Cream Capital of the World” due to its significant ice cream production.
  20. Field of Dreams: The iconic baseball field from the movie “Field of Dreams” is located in Dyersville, Iowa.
  21. Culinary Delights: Iowa is famous for its pork tenderloin sandwiches, breaded pork chops, and loose-meat sandwiches.
  22. Bridges of Madison County: Winterset, Iowa, is home to the famous covered bridges depicted in Robert James Waller’s novel and subsequent movie adaptation.
  23. Missouri River: The Missouri River forms part of Iowa’s western border.
  24. Des Moines River: The Des Moines River flows through the state capital, Des Moines.
  25. State Gemstone: Iowa’s state gemstone is the freshwater pearl.
  26. National Balloon Classic: Indianola hosts the National Balloon Classic, a popular hot air balloon event.
  27. Heritage Byways: Iowa has several scenic byways, including the Loess Hills Scenic Byway and the Great River Road.
  28. World Food Prize: The World Food Prize, recognizing advancements in agriculture and food security, is awarded annually in Des Moines.
  29. Iowa Great Lakes: The Iowa Great Lakes region features beautiful glacial lakes and is a popular destination for boating and fishing.
  30. State Soil: The state soil of Iowa is the Tama soil series.
  31. Truman Library: Independence, Missouri, just across the border, is the site of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.
  32. Largest Wind Farm: Iowa is home to some of the largest wind farms in the United States.
  33. Tornado Alley: Iowa is part of the region known as “Tornado Alley” and experiences severe weather, including tornadoes, in the spring and summer.
  34. Heritage Museums: Iowa has numerous heritage museums, including the Amana Heritage Society and the Norwegian Museum in Decorah.
  35. Iowa State Fair: The Iowa State Fair, held annually in Des Moines, is one of the largest state fairs in the country and features a famous butter cow sculpture.
  36. High Trestle Trail Bridge: The High Trestle Trail Bridge near Madrid is an iconic former railroad bridge turned scenic trail.
  37. Arts and Culture: Iowa has a thriving arts and cultural scene, with theaters, galleries, and music festivals.
  38. Frontier Forts: Iowa was once part of the frontier, and remnants of frontier forts and trading posts can still be explored.
  39. Glacial Erratics: Erratic boulders, carried by glaciers, are scattered throughout the state.
  40. State Amphibian: The barred tiger salamander is Iowa’s state amphibian.
  41. Birthplace of 4-H: The 4-H youth organization was founded in Iowa.
  42. State Beverage: Iowa’s state beverage is milk.
  43. Effigy Mounds: Effigy Mounds National Monument preserves Native American burial mounds.
  44. State Inspirational Rock: The state inspirational rock of Iowa is located in Forest City.
  45. Freedom Rock: A large painted rock known as the “Freedom Rock” is repainted each year with patriotic themes.
  46. Des Moines Arts Festival: The Des Moines Arts Festival is a major annual event showcasing visual and performing arts.
  47. Drake Relays: The Drake Relays in Des Moines is one of the oldest and most prestigious track and field events in the United States.
  48. Heritage Festivals: Iowa hosts heritage festivals celebrating various cultures, including Irish, Czech, and Dutch festivals.
  49. International Wrestling: Iowa is known for its strong tradition of amateur wrestling and has produced many Olympic champions.
  50. State Gem: The state gem of Iowa is the freshwater pearl.
  51. Silo Art: Some Iowa farmers have transformed their silos into works of art with colorful murals.
  52. Missouri Valley Conference: Several universities in Iowa are members of the Missouri Valley Conference, known for its basketball competitions.
  53. Little Brown Church: The Little Brown Church in Nashua is famous for weddings and inspired the song “The Church in the Wildwood.”
  54. State Fossil: The state fossil of Iowa is the brachiopod.
  55. American Gothic House: The American Gothic House in Eldon inspired Grant Wood’s iconic painting.
  56. International Friendship: Iowa has a sister state relationship with Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan.
  57. State Stone: The state rock of Iowa is the geode.
  58. Steamboat Capital: Dubuque, Iowa, was once known as the “Steamboat Capital of the World.”
  59. Amish Communities: Iowa is home to Amish communities, known for their simple, traditional way of life.
  60. State Microbe: The state microbe of Iowa is Lactococcus lactis.
  61. Pioneer Days: Many Iowa towns host Pioneer Days celebrations, offering a glimpse into the state’s frontier past.
  62. Davenport: Davenport, Iowa, is one of the Quad Cities, which also include Rock Island, Moline, and Bettendorf, Iowa.
  63. Iowa Speedway: The Iowa Speedway in Newton hosts NASCAR and other racing events.
  64. State Park: Backbone State Park is Iowa’s oldest state park and offers rugged terrain for hiking and outdoor activities.
  65. Summer Camp Capital: Iowa is often called the “Summer Camp Capital of the World” due to its many summer camps.
  66. State Insect: The state insect of Iowa is the European honeybee.
  67. State Slogan: Iowa’s state slogan is “Fields of Opportunities.”

Iowa stands as a state with an enduring spirit, rooted in its agricultural heritage, commitment to education, and warm sense of community. Its landscapes, from vast fields of corn to scenic rivers and rolling hills, offer a glimpse into the heart of the American Midwest. The Hawkeye State’s rich cultural tapestry, from the heritage festivals that celebrate diverse traditions to the thriving arts scenes in cities like Des Moines, welcomes residents and visitors alike to partake in its many offerings.

Beyond the fields and towns, Iowa’s contributions to American life extend to politics, sports, and the arts. As the site of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, it plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s political landscape. With a strong tradition of amateur wrestling and a penchant for producing Olympic champions, it’s a hub for sports enthusiasts. Artists like Grant Wood and John Wayne found inspiration in its landscapes and people, leaving a lasting imprint on the nation’s cultural heritage. Iowa’s motto, “Fields of Opportunities,” reflects the countless possibilities that await those who explore its beauty, engage with its communities, and embrace the warm hospitality of its residents.