Facts About the State of Iowa That Even Residents Might Not Know
The state of Iowa has been my home since I took my first breath. After all these years, I felt like I knew just about all there was to know about the Hawkeye State. I was wrong.
Here are a few things I didn't know.
Iowa's Island Town Wasn't Always an Island
You're probably familiar with Sabula, Iowa's only town on an island. It sits on the Mississippi River in Jackson County. However, did you know it wasn't always an island? It was attached, if you will, to the rest of Iowa until the locks and dams were built along the river in 1939. They were designed to make river travel easier for towboats. The process put the western part of the town underwater.
Sabula was founded in 1835, only two years after Iowa's oldest town of Dubuque. It now has just over 500 residents. The island town is about a quarter-of-a-mile wide and is just a mile long. Below is the road into town.
The Largest Rural Danish Settlement in the United States is in Iowa
The only operating, authentic Danish windmill in the U.S. was brought from Denmark to Iowa in 1976. More than 300 people helped reconstruct the windmill that was originally built in 1848. Today, it stands in Elk Horn as a testament to the area's heritage and the largest rural Danish settlement in the U.S. People from Denmark began arriving in the area in 1867.
The Red Delicious Apple Originated in Iowa
Madison County isn't just home to some beautiful covered bridges, it's also where the Red Delicious apple originated. According to Iowa Backroads, a nursery in Louisiana conducted a contest in the early 1890s. Their goal was to replace a bland-tasting apple that's popularity was waning. Jesse Hiatt of East Peru, Iowa was the winner. He sold the nursery the rights to the apple which they began calling "Delicious".
By the 1980s, almost 75 percent of apples grown in the state of Washington were Red Delicious. Washington is the top apple producer in America. Iowa isn't in the top ten.
The First Female Lawyer in America Was an Iowan
Arabella Mansfield was born in 1846. She didn't attend law school, instead spending two years studying for the bar exam at her brother-in-law's southeast Iowa law office. Despite a state law that allowed only white men over 21 to take the bar exam, Mansfield did just that in 1869. She passed, making her Iowa's first woman lawyer.
Mansfield didn't end up practicing law, though. She spent her professional career as a professor at Iowa Wesleyan College before becoming a dean at a university in Indiana.
A leader in the suffrage movement to get women the right to vote, Mansfield passed away in 1911. The 19th Amendment would be ratified in Iowa eight years later. In 1980, she was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.
Iowa is Only State Bordered by Navigable Rivers
That's right, none of the other 49 states are bordered by two rivers that can be navigated. They also happen to be the two longest rivers in the U.S.
From its start in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, the Missouri River eventually joins the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri. The longest river in North America, and #4 in the world, it is 2,300 miles long. 179 of those miles are on Iowa's western border.
On the east side is the Mississippi River. It travels over 2,200 miles... the only other river in North America that's more than 2,000 miles long. Over 40 percent of the continental United States drains into the mighty Mississippi, with 312 miles of the river making up Iowa's eastern border.
Do you know any other fascinating facts about Iowa? Please share them below.