Iowa in History

Historical Events

  • 1830-07-15 Indian tribes, Sioux, Sauk & Fox, sign fourth Treaty of Prairie du Chien giving the US most of Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri
  • 1834-01-05 Kiowa Indians record this as the night the stars fell
  • 1838-06-12 Iowa Territory forms with Burlington as its capital
  • 1838-07-04 Iowa Territory is organised from Wisconsin Territory, lasting until 1846
  • 1846-12-28 Iowa becomes 29th state of the United States of America
  • 1847-02-25 State University of Iowa is approved
  • 1851-09-22 City of Des Moines, Iowa incorporated as Fort Des Moines
  • 1855-04-21 1st train crosses Mississippi River's 1st bridge, from Rock Island, Illinois to Davenport, Iowa
  • 1856-06-09 500 Mormons leave Iowa City, Iowa, and head west for Salt Lake City, Utah, carrying all their possessions in two-wheeled handcarts
  • 1860-06-03 Comanche, Iowa, completely destroyed by one of a series of tornadoes
  • 1863-06-20 1st bank chartered in US (National Bank of Davenport Iowa)
  • 1863-06-29 Very 1st First National Bank opens in Davenport, Iowa
  • 1870-02-03 US state of Iowa ratifies the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution allowing suffrage for all races & colour

Historic Event

1871-06-03 Jesse James & his gang robs Obocock Bank (Corydon Iowa), of $15,000

  • 1871-07-03 Jesse James robs a bank of $45,000 in Corydon, Iowa
  • 1871-07-05 Trial against Kiowa chief Satanta (White Bear) and Big Tree, begins
  • 1871-07-25 Carousel patented by Wilhelm Schneider, Davenport, Iowa
  • 1872-09-29 Kiowa-chief Lone Wolf captures Satanta & Big Tree
  • 1873-07-21 Jesse James and James Younger gang's 1st train robbery at Adair, Iowa
  • 1875-02-25 Kiowa Indians under Lone Wolf (Guipago) surrender at Ft Sill
  • 1879-05-10 Meteor falls near Estherville, Iowa
  • 1882-05-23 6" of snow falls in eastern Iowa
  • 1882-06-16 17" hailstones weighing 1.75 lbs fall in Dubuque Iowa
  • 1882-06-17 Tornado kills 130 in Iowa
  • 1885-01-04 Dr William Grant of Iowa, performs 1st appendectomy in America on Mary Gartside, aged 22
  • 1887-03-03 American Protective Association forms (anti-Catholic) in Clinton Iowa
  • 1893-07-06 The small town of Pomeroy, Iowa, is nearly destroyed by a tornado that kills 71 people and injures 200
  • 1895-09-18 Daniel David Palmer of Davenport, Iowa, gives the first chiropractic adjustment
  • 1896-01-18 First college basketball game with 5 players on each side is conducted by the University of Iowa; invites student athletes from University of Chicago for an experimental game; Chicago beats Iowa 15-12
  • 1901-03-25 55 die as Rock Island train derailed near Marshalltown, Iowa
  • 1901-08-06 Kiowa land in Oklahoma is opened for white settlement, effectively dissolving the contiguous reservation
  • 1912-01-12 -47°F (-44°C), Washta, Iowa (state record)
  • 1915-10-23 1st national horseshoe throwing championship at Kellerton, Iowa
  • 1921-04-11 Iowa imposes 1st state cigarette tax
  • 1922-01-24 Eskimo Pie patented by Christian K Nelson of Iowa (not an Eskimo)
  • 1922-04-28 WOI (Ames, Iowa) country's 1st licensed educational radio station
  • 1924-04-15 WHO-AM in Des Moines Iowa begins radio transmissions
  • 1931-07-27 Grasshoppers in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota destroyed thousands of acres of crops
  • 1932-05-09 WOC-AM in Davenport Iowa merges with WHO to become WHO-WOC
  • 1934-05-21 Oskaloosa, Iowa, becomes first US city to fingerprint its citizens
  • 1934-07-20 118°F (48°C), Keokuk, Iowa (state record)
  • 1934-11-11 WOC-AM in Davenport Iowa splits from WHO-WOC & becomes KICK-AM
  • 1935-03-17 KSO-AM in Des Moines Iowa call sign is given to KWCR
  • 1936-08-18 106.5°F - Hottest afternoon ever in Iowa
  • 1939-12-06 5th Heisman Trophy Award: Nile Kinnick, Iowa (HB)

Historic Invention

1945-03-06 George Nissen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, receives a patent for the first modern trampoline

  • 1946-06-09 19 guests at Canfield Hotel die in fire (Dubuque, Iowa)
  • 1950-01-07 Mental health wing of Mercy Hospital burns, kills 41 in Davenport, Iowa
  • 1955-07-31 KRNT (now KCCI) TV channel 8 in Des Moines, Iowa (CBS) 1st broadcast
  • 1958-12-02 1959 NFL Draft: Randy Duncan QB University of Iowa #1 pick by Green Bay Packers

Plane Crash

1959-02-03 "The Day the Music Died" plane crash kills musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J. P. Richardson and pilot near Clear Lake, Iowa

  • 1959-08-05 42.4 cm rainfall in Decatur Co, Iowa (state record)
  • 1960-08-18 1st photograph bounced off a satellite, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Richardson, Texas
  • 1970-02-28 KIIN (now KUN) TV channel 12 in Iowa City, IA (PBS) 1st broadcast

Music History

1982-01-20 Heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne allegedly bites the head off a bat on stage in Des Moines, Iowa

  • 1989-04-19 Gun turret explodes on USS Iowa, killing 47 sailors
  • 1989-07-19 United Airlines DC-10 crashes at Sioux City Iowa, kills 112
  • 1989-09-11 KSO-AM in Des Moines Iowa changes call letters to KGGO
  • 1991-11-01 Three faculty, and one staff member of the department of physics and astronomy, were killed, along with one administrator, when physics graduate student Gang Lu went on a shooting rampage at the University of Iowa.
  • 1992-08-25 Jamie Solinger, of Iowa, crowned 10th Miss Teen USA
  • 1993-04-19 South Dakota governor George Mickelson and seven others are killed when a state-owned aircraft crash lands in Iowa
  • 1995-06-27 Mason City Iowa's TV news personality Jodi Huisentruit disappears
  • 1996-09-28 Troy Davis of Iowa State ran for 378 yards, 3rd highest in college football games (others: Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas & Alabama)
  • 1997-11-19 McCaughey septuplets born to Bobbi McCaughey in Des Moines, Iowa. First set of septuplets to survive infancy.
  • 2006-04-13 Powerful tornadoes rip through Iowa City, Iowa.
  • 2015-11-14 Second Democratic presidential candidates debate, broadcast by CBS, held in Des Moines, Iowa

Historic Event

2016-01-19 Sarah Palin officially endorses Donald Trump's presidential bid at a Trump rally in Ames, Iowa

  • 2016-01-28 Seventh Republican presidential candidates debate hosted by Fox, held in Des Moines, Iowa
  • 2018-05-02 Iowa passes US's strictest abortion ban, based on a fetal heartbeat
  • 2019-03-18 “Historic to catastrophic flooding" faced by Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota according to US National Weather Service
  • 2019-03-21 Governor of Missouri Mike Parson declares a state of emergency as flooding from Nebraska and Iowa flows downstream into the state
  • 2019-05-23 More than 170 tornadoes reported in a week in US states of Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa, killing seven and causing widespread damage
  • 2019-08-14 Iowa congressman Steve King says without rape and incest "“Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?" in video for "The Des Moines Register"

Famous Birthdays

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 265

  • 1813-12-20 Samuel Jordan Kirkwood, American politician (Gov-Iowa)/US Sect of Interior (1881-82), born in Harford Country, Maryland (d. 1894)
  • 1820-08-26 James Harlan, American politician (Rep-Iowa), US Secretary of Interior (1865-66), born in Clark County, Illinois (d. 1899)
  • 1828-01-27 Samuel Allen Rice, American Attorney General of Iowa and Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Cattaraugus, New York (d. 1864)
  • 1846-02-26 William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Wild West hunter and showman (Buffalo Bill's Wild West), born in Davenport Iowa (d. 1917)
  • 1852-04-17 Cap Anson, American Baseball HOF first baseman (NL batting champion 1881, 88; 8 × NL RBI leader; Chicago White Stockings/Colts) and manager (Philadelphia A's, Chicago White Stockings/Colts, NY Giants), born in Marshalltown, Iowa (d. 1922)
  • 1852-05-18 Gertrude Käsebier, American pioneering photographer, born in Des Moines, Iowa
  • 1855-11-23 Frank Friday Fletcher, American Naval Admiral (Medal of Order for Battle of Veracruz), born in Oskaloosa, Iowa (d. 1928)
  • 1856-08-18 Charles H. Gabriel, American Gospel composer, born in Wilton, Iowa (d. 1932)
  • 1857-09-08 Ida Henrietta Hyde, American physiologist who invented the micro-electrode and the first woman allowed to do research at Harvard Medical School and to be elected to the American Physiology Society, born in Davenport, Iowa (d. 1945)
  • 1861-12-04 Lillian Russell [Helen Leonard], American singer and actress (Great Mogul), born in Clinton, Iowa (d. 1922)
  • 1862-09-19 Adeline De Walt Reynolds, American actress (Son of Dracula), born in Benton County, Iowa (d. 1961)
  • 1867-07-25 Alexander Rummler, American painter, born in Dubuque, Iowa (d. 1959)
  • 1869-12-05 Ellis Parker Butler, American author (Pigs is Pigs), born in Muscatine, Iowa (d. 1937)
  • 1870-03-11 Herm McFarland, American MLB outfielder (first grand slam in AL history), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1935)
  • 1872-10-03 Fred Clarke, American Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder and manager (Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Pirates; World Series 1909 [PP]), born in Winterset, Iowa (d. 1960)
  • 1874-03-29 Lou Henry Hoover, US First Lady (1929-33) and wife of the 31st President, Herbert Hoover, born in Waterloo, Iowa (d. 1944)

Herbert Hoover

1874-08-10 Herbert Hoover, 31st US President (R: 1929-1933), born in West Branch, Iowa (d. 1964)

  • 1875-04-13 Ray Lyman Wilbur, American politician and 3rd President of Stanford University, born in Boonesboro, Iowa (d. 1949)
  • 1875-05-06 William D. Leahy, American admiral and chief of staff (1949), born in Hampton, Iowa (d. 1959)
  • 1878-04-27 Frank Gotch, American professional wrestler, born in Humboldt, Iowa (d. 1917)
  • 1879-09-06 Neal Rev Dodd, American actor (You Belong to Me), born in Fort Madison, Iowa (d. 1966)
  • 1880-06-17 Carl Van Vechten, American writer famous for the controversial novel "Nigger Heaven", born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (d. 1964)

Otto Frederick Rohwedder

1880-07-07 Otto Frederick Rohwedder, American engineer (invented the bread-slicing machine), born in Davenport, Iowa (d. 1960)

  • 1883-05-25 Elsa Maxwell, American writer (Jack Paar Show), born in Keokuk, Iowa (d. 1963)
  • 1884-06-15 Harry Langdon, American comedian (The Strong Man, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp), born in Council Bluffs, Iowa (d. 1944)
  • 1886-01-11 Chester Conklin, American actor (Every Day's a Holiday, Greed), born in Oskaloosa, Iowa (d. 1971)
  • 1887-01-11 Aldo Leopold, American conservationist, professor and co-founder of the Wilderness Society, born in Burlington, Iowa (d. 1949)
  • 1887-07-01 Charles D. Brown, American actor (Barefoot Boy, Disbarred, Night Editor), born in Council Bluffs, Iowa (d. 1948)
  • 1887-07-07 Raymond Hatton, American actor (Girls in Prison, Lady Killer), born in Red Oak, Iowa (d. 1971)
  • 1888-05-17 Selmer Jackson, American actor (The Grapes of Wrath, Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp), born in Lake Mills, Iowa (d. 1971)
  • 1891-02-13 Grant Wood, American painter (American Gothic), born near Anamosa, Iowa (d. 1942)
  • 1891-08-05 Donald Kerr, American actor (Carnival Lady, Devil Bat), born in Eagle Grove, Iowa (d. 1977)
  • 1892-10-05 Remington Kellogg, American naturalist and director (U.S. National Museum), born in Davenport, Iowa (d. 1969)
  • 1893-02-26 William Frawley, American vaudeville, silent and sound screen actor (I Love Lucy - "Fred"; My Three Sons - "Bub"; Miracle on 34th Street), born in Burlington, Iowa (d. 1966)
  • 1895-03-03 Juanita Hansen, American actress (Fast Company, Broadway Love), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1961)
  • 1895-08-09 Nathaniel "Nat" Pendleton, American wrestler (Olympics 1920, Silver) and actor (The Thin Man, Reckless), born in Davenport, Iowa (d. 1967)
  • 1896-03-20 Hal Walker, director (I Married Joan), born in Ottumwa, Iowa
  • 1896-04-27 Wallace Hume Carothers, American chemist and inventor (nylon), born in Burlington, Iowa (d. 1937)
  • 1896-06-07 Vivien Kellems, American industrialist, who battled the Federal tax system as discriminatory against single people, born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1975)
  • 1896-11-14 Mamie Eisenhower, First Lady of the United States (1953-61), born in Boone, Iowa (d. 1979)
  • 1897-03-16 Conrad Nagel, American actor (All That Heaven Allows, Celebrity Time), born in Keokuk, Iowa (d. 1970)
  • 1897-10-29 Hope Emerson, American actress (I Married Joan, Peter Gunn), born in Hawarden, Iowa (d. 1960)
  • 1899-03-28 Buck Shaw, American football player and coach, born in Mitchellville, Iowa (d. 1977)
  • 1899-07-05 Anna Arnold Hedgeman, African-American social activist (NYC cabinet), born in Marshalltown, Iowa (d. 1990)
  • 1901-07-23 Hank Worden, American actor (The Searcher, Red River), born in Rolfe, Iowa (d. 1992)

George Gallup

1901-11-18 George Gallup, American survey sampling pioneer and inventor of the Gallup poll, born in Jefferson, Iowa (d. 1984)

  • 1902-05-18 Meredith Willson, American composer for stage (The Music Man), and screen (The Great Dictator; Little Foxes), born in Mason City, Iowa (d. 1984)
  • 1902-11-04 Frank Jenks, American stage and screen actor (Colonel Flack, Zombies on Broadway), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1962)
  • 1903-01-31 Gardner Cowles, Iowa, publisher/founder (Look Magazine)
  • 1903-03-10 (Leon Bismarck) "Bix" Beiderbecke, American jazz cornetist, considered one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s, pianist, and composer (In A Mist), born in Davenport, Iowa (d. 1931)
  • 1903-04-17 Morgan Taylor, American athlete (Olympic gold 400m hurdles 1924; bronze 1928, 32), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 1975)
  • 1903-05-04 Elmer Layden, College Football Hall of Fame fullback (Notre Dame legendary 4-horsemen, 1st NFL Commissioner), born in Davenport, Iowa (d. 1973)
  • 1903-07-05 Irwin Fischer, American composer and organist (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), born in Iowa City, Iowa (d. 1977)
  • 1904-02-04 MacKinlay Kantor, Webster City Iowa, novelist (Andersonville)

Glenn Miller

1904-03-01 Glenn Miller, American bandleader and jazz composer (Glenn Miller Orchestra - "In The Mood"; "Moonlight Srenade"; "String Of Pearls"), born in Clarinda, Iowa (d. 1944)

  • 1904-04-09 Lyle Latell, American actor (Not of This Earth; Dick Tracy's Dilemma; Sky Dragon), born in Alma, Iowa (d. 1967)
  • 1904-09-22 Ellen Church, American 1st female airline stewardess (United flight in 1930 from San Francisco to Cheyenne), born in Cresco, Iowa (d. 1965)
  • 1905-08-10 Era Bell Thompson, American magazine editor (Ebony), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1986)
  • 1905-08-22 Wade Crosby, American actor (Sign of Wolf, Tales of Robin Hood), born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (d. 1975)
  • 1906-05-05 Frances "Fran" Lee, American actress (Reckless Rosie), born in Eagle Grove, Iowa (d. 2000)
  • 1907-04-04 Nathan M. Pusey, American educator, 24th president of Harvard University (1953-71), born in Council Bluffs, Iowa (d. 2001)
  • 1907-05-11 Kent Taylor [Louis Weiss], American actor (Boston Blackie, Rough Riders), born in Nashua, Iowa (d. 1987)

John Wayne

1907-05-26 John Wayne [Marion Robert Morrison], American actor (Green Berets, True Grit), born in Winterset, Iowa (d. 1979)

  • 1907-09-15 Jack Bailey, American TV host (Queen for a Day), born in Hampton, Iowa (d. 1980)
  • 1907-11-20 Fran Allison, American actress (Kukla, Fran & Ollie), born in La Porte City, Iowa (d. 1989)
  • 1908-03-29 Dennis O'Keefe, American actor and director (T-Men, Fighting Seabees), born in Fort Madison, Iowa (d. 1968)
  • 1908-06-17 John Verrall, American composer, born in Britt, Iowa (d. 2001)
  • 1908-06-18 Nedra Volz, American actress, born in Montrose, Iowa (d. 2003)
  • 1908-10-12 Paul Engle, American poet and writer (Worm Earth, American Song), born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (d. 1991)
  • 1908-12-29 Claire Dodd, American actress (Lady, In the Navy), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1973)
  • 1909-07-18 Harriet (Hilliard) Nelson [Peggy Lou Snyder], American singer and actress (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; Follow the Fleet), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1994)
  • 1909-12-12 Karen Morley, American actress (Scarface), born in Ottumwa, Iowa (d. 2003)
  • 1909-12-21 George Ball, American politician and diplomat (US Ambassador to the UN, Under Secretary of State), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1994)
  • 1910-09-19 Margaret Lindsay, American actress (Take a Guess), born in Dubuque, Iowa (d. 1981)
  • 1911-02-11 Ben Carter, American actor (Crash Dive, Dark Alibi, Maryland), born in Fairfield, Iowa (d. 1946)
  • 1911-04-05 Gordon Jones, American character actor (The Green Hornet, Flying Tigers, Abbott & Costello), born in Alden, Iowa (d. 1963)
  • 1911-04-21 Ivan Combe, American inventor of personal care products (Clearasil), born in Fremont, Iowa (d. 2000)
  • 1911-06-30 Virginia D. Smith, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska), born in Randolph, Iowa (d. 2006)
  • 1912-03-19 Russ Case, America orchestra leader (Julius La Rosa Show), born in Hamburg, Iowa
  • 1913-03-15 MacDonald Carey, American actor (Days of Our Lives, Lock Up), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 1994)
  • 1913-04-04 Rosemary Lane, American actress (An Angel from Texas, 4 Mothers, Harvest Melody), born in Indianola, Iowa (d. 1974)
  • 1913-08-25 Don DeFore, American actor (George-Hazel, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (d. 1993)

George Reeves

1914-01-05 George Reeves [Bessolo, né Brewer], American actor (Adventures of Superman; Gone With The Wind), born in Woolstock, Iowa (d. 1959)

George Nissen

1914-02-03 George Nissen, American inventor (created the trampoline), born in Blairstown, Iowa (d. 2010)

  • 1914-03-19 Jay Berwanger, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (1st Heisman Trophy winner 1935, Chicago), born in Dubuque, Iowa (d. 2002)
  • 1914-05-10 Charles McGraw [Butters], American actor (Spartacus, The Birds, The Killers, Smith Family), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1980)
  • 1914-09-07 James Van Allen, American physicist (discovered Van Allen radiation belts), born in Mount Pleasant, Iowa (d. 2006)
  • 1914-10-09 Roger Goeb, American composer, born in Cherokee, Iowa (d. 1997)
  • 1914-11-07 R. A. Lafferty, American sci-fi author (Devil is Dead), born in Neola, Iowa (d. 2002)
  • 1915-05-28 Scott McKay [Carl Chester Gose], American actor (Stage Door, Guest in House, 30 Seconds over Tokyo), born in Pleasantville, Iowa (d. 1987)
  • 1915-06-03 Iris Meredith [Shunn], American actress (Son of Davy Crockett, The Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 1980)
  • 1916-07-19 James D. Ramage, American Naval Aviator in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War, born in Waterloo, Iowa (d. 2012)
  • 1917-06-12 Priscilla Lane, American actress (Arsenic & Old Lace), born in Indianola, Iowa (d. 1995)
  • 1918-06-12 Samuel Z. Arkoff, American film producer and co-founder of American International Pictures, born in Fort Dodge, Iowa (d. 2001)
  • 1918-07-04 Abigail Van Buren [Pauline Phillips], American columnist and radio show host known for "Dear Abby" advice column, twin sister of fellow advice columnist Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 2013)
  • 1918-07-04 Ann Landers [Eppie Lederer], American advice columnist "Ask Ann Landers," twin sister of fellow advice columnist "Dear Abby" (Abigail Van Buren), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 2002)
  • 1918-10-23 Mary Jeanette "Peggy" Moran, American actress (Double Date, Horror Island), born in Clinton, Iowa (d. 2002)
  • 1918-10-27 Paul Dixon, Ohio talk show host (Paul Dixon Show), born in Albia, Iowa (d. 1974)

Bob Feller

1918-11-03 Bob Feller, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (8 x MLB All Star; AL Triple Crown 1940; 3 x no-hit games; Cleveland Indians), born in Van Meter, Iowa (d.2010)

  • 1919-06-30 Ed Yost, American inventor of the modern hot air balloon and known as "Father of the Modern Day Hot-Air Balloon.", born in Bristow, Iowa (d. 2007)

Famous Weddings

  • 1998-08-29 "Baywatch" actress Traci Bingham (30) weds Robb Vallier at First United Methodist Church in Ames, Iowa

Famous Deaths

  • 1868-08-25 Henry P Scholte, Dutch/US vicar (Iowa), dies at 62
  • 1871-06-08 Satank, Kiowa indian chief, shot to death

Cary Grant

1986-11-29 Cary Grant [Archibald Alexander Leach], British-born American actor (Arsenic & Old Lace, North by Northwest), dies from a cerebral hemorrhage at 82

  • 2005-12-22 T. Cooper Evans, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa), dies at 81
  • 2009-06-24 Ed Thomas, American high school football coach from Iowa, shot and killed by a former player at 58