Becoming Iowa: Iowa History 101

2021 marks the 175th anniversary of Iowa’s statehood. On December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state admitted into the Union. Commemorative publications, programs, and other events are planned by the Iowa Department of Culture Affairs and communities across the state.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about different areas of Iowa history and culture throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the history basics every Iowan should know.

For many non-Iowans, the people and land that make up this state are a mystery surrounded by corn, pigs, and Midwestern friendliness. But as the people who live in Iowa, it is a state full of history, stories, and interesting places. For those who don’t know or need a refresher, we will share the fundamental state facts and then showcase one of our Closed Stacks materials.

As mentioned before, Iowa is the 29th state admitted into the Union on December 28, 1846. It was part of the Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, and lastly the Wisconsin Territory before Iowa became a territory itself with Robert Lucas as governor. At the time of statehood, Iowa City was named as capital with the first state university chartered there. The young state grew with more European immigrants setting and making their home in towns and cities like New Buda (Hungarians in 1850), Pella (Dutch in 1847), and the Amana Colonies (Germans in 1855). In 1856, Davenport was the site of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River. A year later, the state capital moved to Des Moines.

These facts and more can be found in Iowa Profile: Quick Facts About Iowa. The University of Northern Iowa created a timeline for those wishing to learn more about Iowa history.

For those wishing to test their knowledge, the Text and Workbook in the History of Iowa by Carl H. Erbe and published by the Holst Printing Company located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, would help that curious student of history.

This textbooks was intended for use by sixth and seventh graders, although it had many other possible uses including independent study by pupils. It used modern pedagogy of the time to develop skills and knowledge of students.

Below are a few sample pages of this compact Iowa history textbook:

We found some press written in Iowa newspaper about this wonderful little textbook.

We hope we whet your appetite for more this Iowa in the coming months.

(posted by Kathryn)

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