Ten fun facts about Iowa

Sauk chief Black Hawk’s (1767-1838) power was not hereditary: He gained his status through leadership in battle.

  1. In 1848, a group of Germans known as Forty-eighters arrived in the United States after supporting the losing side of a German revolution. Unlike most 19th-century immigrants, many Forty-eighters were well-educated and had financial resources. The Forty-eighters that settled in Davenport became some of the city’s leading professionals.

  2. Editor O.C. Bates of the Estherville Northern Vindicator is credited as the first person to use the word “blizzard” to describe a snowstorm (1870).

  3. The nation’s first train robbery was in Adair on July 21, 1873. Outlaw Jesse James (1847-1882) thought the train would be carrying $75,000 in gold bullion, but it only had $2,300 in cash.

  4. After the U.S. entered World War I, an anti-German campaign resulted in numerous name-changes: Germania in Kossuth County became Lakota, German Measles became Liberty Measles, and sauerkraut became liberty cabbage. Some German-American families even changed their surnames.

  5. The Cow War of 1931 involved Iowa farmers trying to repeal a mandatory testing program for bovine tuberculosis. Some farmers claimed veterinarians were condemning healthy cattle in order to get kickbacks from meat packers in Chicago. The Iowa National Guard was called in to restore peace and to help capture ringleaders.

  6. The infamous concert in which Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a live bat was at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines on Jan. 20, 1982.

  7. A Fort Dodge prison was accidentally labeled as a recreational facility on Iowa’s 1999 state highway map.

  8. The world’s largest Cheeto is in Algona.

  9. Riverside claims to be the future birthplace of starship USS Enterprise captain James T. Kirk. But Kirk isn’t the only Star Trek star to have roots in Iowa: Walter Koenig, who played Ensign Chekov on the original series, graduated from Grinnell College. Kate Mulgrew, who played USS Voyager captain Kathryn Janeway, was born in Dubuque.

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