When most people think of Iowa, family farms, massive corn fields, and wide open spaces probably come to mind. However, there’s more to this Midwestern state than meets the eye. Learn more about the Hawkeye State with these interesting facts.
1 No one is quite sure what the word "Iowa" means, but the state received its name from the Ioway Native American tribe that once lived in this part of the country.
2 In 1912, Iowa resident Otto Rohwedder created a device that could evenly slice a loaf of bread. Sliced bread became available in stores in 1928. That's the coolest thing since...well, sliced bread!
3 Iowa has a reputation for being progressive when it comes to civil rights. For example, women were given the ability to own property and practice law many years prior to other states following suit. The Iowa Supreme Court also ruled against "separate but equal" schools more than 80 years before Brown v. Board of Education.
4 Iowa is home to the most concentrated group of wind turbines in the nation. It's estimated that more than 25% of Iowa's energy comes from wind.
5 The Red Delicious apple was first produced in Iowa in 1872. However, today's Red Delicious is much different than the original.
6 Effigy Mounds in northeast Iowa are thought to have been created as early as 350 AD and are large scale portraits of animals and other figures. The national monument attracts many visitors each year and even was the inspiration for a .
7 Dubuque, Iowa is the state’s oldest city. It was founded in 1833 by Julien Dubuque.
8 Grant Wood received inspiration for his famous painting American Gothic from a home he passed on a trip through Iowa.
9 Many millennia ago, mammoths were abundant across the state of Iowa. So much so that even today it's fairly common for residents to find mammoth bones in their backyards.
10 Kalona, Iowa is considered the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi River.
11 Famous Iowa natives include John Wayne, Donna Reed, Johnny Carson, Andy Williams, Glenn Miller, and Ashton Kutcher.
12 The state bird of Iowa is the eastern goldfinch, and the state flower is the wild rose.
13 Iowa is the only state in the country where the east and west borders are both formed by rivers (the Mississippi and the Missouri, respectively).
14 The world's steepest and shortest railway sits in Dubuque, Iowa. The Fenelon Place Elevator was built in 1882 to help commuters travel to the downtown area faster, and it has since been a landmark for the city. The Elevator takes passengers up 189 feet over a distance of 296 feet.
15 Iowa is the only state in the country with a double-vowel abbreviation: IA.
16 Iowa receives its nickname, the Hawkeye State, as a tribute to Indian Chief Black Hawk.
17 Another of Iowa's nicknames is the Corn State since the state is the country's leading producer of corn (as well as pork and eggs).
18 Iowa's literacy rate is the highest in the nation at 99%.
19 Herbert Hoover is the only U.S. President from the state of Iowa. He grew up in West Branch, IA.
20 The famous film "The Bridges of Madison County" takes place in Iowa, and it features many covered bridges from throughout the state.