20 Interesting And Fun Facts About Iowa [Explained]

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Iowa is a Midwestern U.S. state located in the heartland region of the United States. Featuring a rich history and culture, there are many fun facts about Iowa that make the region a worthwhile visit.

The name Iowa comes from its indigenous Native American tribe, the Ioway Indians, who lived along the Mississippi River. From agriculture and tourism to sports and entertainment, there’s plenty to see and do in this great state. Check out some of these interesting Iowa facts.

Quick Facts And Statistics About Iowa

  • Capital: Des Moines
  • Population: 3.2 Million (31st Populous State in the U.S)
  • Land Area: 58,272 sq mi / 145,746 km² (26th Largest in U.S)
  • Nickname: The Hawkeye State
  • Abbreviation: IA
  • Statehood: December 28, 1846 (29th U.S State)
  • State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch
  • State Flower: Wild Rose

Historical Facts About Iowa

Below are some. of the historical and fun Iowa facts you may not know before.

The Honey War Between Missouri and Iowa began in 1830


In the 1830s, tensions between Iowa and Missouri nearly erupted into open war. Iowa and Missouri were at odds with one another for a few years because of an inaccurate survey.

An initial surveyor drew a boundary four miles more north on the eastern side than the western side; a second officer was dispatched to redo the survey, but his line was still off by almost 2,600 acres.

A Missouri tax collector was detained in Iowa for attempting to collect money from residents of the contested Land. Both governors made battle threats, and militias and volunteers were mobilized to the border.

Federal authorities intervened and figuratively drew the line before any guns were fired. Since a forest of trees housing many honeybees was razed to the ground during the fighting, the conflict has earned the nickname “The Honey War.”

Iowa Is Nicknamed The Hawk-eye

Hawk-eye, the scout from 1826 classic “The Last of the Mohicans”, is the inspiration for Iowa’s state moniker. Twelve years after the book was first published, a local court and publisher succeeded in having the nickname formally recognized.

Iowa Is Divided Into Three Regions

The state of Iowa is divided into three distinct geological regions. In contrast to the Young Drift Plains, which are flat and well-suited for farming, the Driftless Area is primarily composed of pine forests and cliff faces. Finally, the Dissected Till Plains feature ridges formed by rivers cutting into the soil.

Slicing Machine, the First Bread, Invented in this State

Bread is one of the earliest processed foods found in human history. But sliced bread has only been around for perhaps a hundred years. In Iowa, Otto Frederick Rohwedder created the first bread-slicing machine. On July 6, 1928, the first breads were made with mechanical slicers.

Interesting Facts About Iowa For Travelers

This section comprises of top interesting facts about Iowa, especially if you are visiting.

Iowa Is Home To The Shrine of Grotto Redemption

West Bend, Iowa, is home to a sacred site. Nine of the caves depict events from Jesus’s life. The Grotto is the largest artificial Grotto in the world, housing the world’s largest collection of gemstones and other valuable stones.

The petrifications, shells, and minerals that make up this Grotto make it the largest of its kind in the world.

RAGBRAI Is Held In Iowa


Since 1973, this location has hosted the world’s longest, biggest, and oldest recreational bicycle touring event. The name “RAGBRAI” comes from the fact that bikers travel across Iowa. Individuals from the United States and several other countries and continents participate.

Iowa Is Home To One of the Largest Trail Bridge


Five towns in Iowa are connected by a bridge that spans 25 miles. It traverses the Des Moines river valley from Woodward to Ankeny. The bridge is an impressive structure of half a mile in length and 130 feet in height. As far as trail bridges go, this one is up there among the biggest ones in the world.

Iowa Is Home To A Number Of Beautiful, Natural Lakes


Spirit Lake, the largest glacier lake in Iowa, can trace its origins back to Hawkeye State. The combined depth of the West and East Okoboji Lakes makes them the deepest lake in the United States.

They serve as gathering places because they provide ice skating in the winter and fishing and boating opportunities in the summer. However, most of the state’s lakes are artificial.

Iowa Is Around The Same Size As Nepal And Tajikistan

If Iowa were a country, its territory would be about the same size as that of Tajikistan or Nepal.

Des Moines Is The Largest City In Iowa


Des Moines serves as the state capital and the largest city in Iowa. It is the 106th largest city in the United States, with a population of 214,000 (metro 559,000).

Cultural Facts About Iowa

Iowa Is Known As The Corn State


Iowa is known as the Corn State, the Tall Corn State, and the Land Where the Tall Corn Grows. No points for guessing why; Iowa grows more corn than any other state. Corn, and in fact, several agricultural productions are some of the many things Iowa is known for.

Iowa Has High Literacy Rates


Iowa has a 99% literacy rate, making it the best in the country. In addition, ACT and SAT average scores in Iowa are typically high.

Iowa is Home to Several Celebrities

Iowa is home to the famous investor, model, and actor who has been in countless romantic comedies.

John Wayne, the son of a pharmacist, became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Winterset, Iowa, is the place of his birth.

Bob Feller, originally from a farm in Iowa, rose to fame as a member of the Cleveland Indians during baseball’s Golden Age.

Iowa Is The Best Place For Gymnastics Facilities


The Iowa facility is known as the world’s top dance and gymnastics school. This is the place to go if you’re a serious athlete needing state-of-the-art facilities and instruction.

Scary Facts About Iowa

Iowa also has some scary tales you can ever imagine. Here are two scary facts about Iowa if you are into horror stories and legends.

The Stony Hollow Road

A woman named Lucinda committed suicide and is reported to linger on Stony Hollow Road. She was supposedly going to meet the man of her dreams outside of town to elope.

Unfortunately, the man never showed up. Lucinda, distraught at her breakup, jumped off a cliff.

Numerous witnesses have reported seeing the ghost. Local urban legend claims that if you call her name three times, she will arrive, and if she gives you a rose, you will die the next day.

The Ghost of Lover’s Leap

Native American legend tells it that a young woman killed herself by jumping off the original bridge into the ravine below after learning that her sweetheart had been killed in battle in 1880.

It is supposed that the woman is buried somewhere in the gorge below the bridge and that she occasionally appears there to scare travelers. If you go to the bridge late at night, you might be able to hear the woman crying.

Other Cool Facts About Iowa

The Red Apple Originated In Iowa


In an orchard in 1880, a new variety of apples was discovered that would become known as the Red Delicious. The delicious red apple of today is incredibly different from the original apple.

Iowa Means Beautiful

The Ioway were one of the indigenous groups who called the area home, and their name lives on in the state’s official moniker. The Native Americans, said a pioneer, must have thought the Land was so beautiful that they kept shouting, “Iowa, Iowa, Iowa,” which translates to “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.”

Iowa Is The Leading Producer of Pork, Corn, and Eggs In The Country


Iowa’s dominance in the production of pork and corn is well-known, but the state also leads the nation in the generation of eggs, ethanol, and wind power.

In All Of Iowa, You Can Only Find One Town Island

Sabula, Iowa, is an island community in Jackson County, Iowa. This is the only town on the island. It has a population of about 600 and an area of 1.26 square miles.

It is a wonderful refuge, like an island, situated between the Mississippi River and the eastern boundary. They call it “the Island City” all the time.

In the beginning, Sabula was not a separate island. The lowlands on the west side of town were isolated from the rest of Sabula when a dam was built to flood them. Clinton, Iowa, and Fulton, Illinois, were joined for the first time in 1939 thanks to the construction of Lock and Dam.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Iowa

These are just some of the interesting Iowa facts to know about. Iowa is considered the most Midwestern state in the U.S. and offers plenty of historical and cultural experiences.

If you want to learn more about the state, you can visit the wide range of exciting landmarks in Iowa, such as the Iowa State Historical Society or the State Historical Museum of Iowa. You will uncover many more fun facts about Iowa on your trip!



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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