Although many people associate Iowa with lush corn fields and other abundant agriculture, the state is linked to some fun facts and trivia not usually found in textbooks.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not cites Burlington’s Snake Alley as the most crooked street in the world, according to 50states.com. Strawberry Point claims the title as home of the world’s largest strawberry. In contrast, Iowa’s smallest city park sits in the middle of the road in Hiteman.
Iowa has some very deep bodies of water. Spirit Lake is the biggest glacier-made lake in the state, while at 136 feet, West Okoboji is Iowa’s deepest lake.
Iowa’s lowest elevation point is 480 feet in Lee County. Many visitors to the state hope to see one of the famous covered bridges in Madison County. Imes Bridge is the oldest of the six.
The only fire tower in the state can be found in Yellow River State Forest. Sabula claims the honor of being the only town situated on an island. Iowa is the only state with eastern and western borders that are completely water: the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
Clarion is the only county seat located at the exact center of its county.
Dubuque claims to be the oldest city in Iowa. It also has the only courthouse with a gold dome.
A full-size bronze sculpture depicting a Norwegian family of the 1860s can be found at the east entry to Lake Mills on Highway 105. Decorah, Iowa hosts a three-day celebration each year to mark the community’s Scandinavian heritage. The largest Danish settlement in the nation is at Elk Horn.
The town of Fort Atkinson marks the location of the only fort the U.S. ever built to protect one Indian tribe from another. Kalona is known as the biggest Amish community west of the Mississippi.
Odds and ends
Visitors can check out more than two centuries of ballooning history at the National Balloon Museum in Indianola.
Iowa State University in Ames ranks as the oldest land grant college in the country. Cornell College is the only school in the country with its entire campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to the history of spring car racing. Dyersville is home to the Saint Francis Xavier Basilica, the only one in the U.S. located outside a major metropolitan region.
Famous people from Iowa
Many Iowans made a name for themselves in the entertainment world, WorldAtlas.com reports. Among them are Fran Allison, Tom Arnold, Lara Flynn Boyle, Neville Brand, Macdonald Carey and William Frawley of I Love Lucy fame. Also on the roster are Fred Grandy, Mary Beth Hurt, Ashton Kutcher, Priscilla Lane, Cloris Leachman, and Stuart Margolin. Other famous Iowans connected to entertainment include Glenn Miller, Michelle Monaghan, Kate Mulgrew, Harriet Nelson, Donna Reed, George Reeves, Jean Seberg, Sada Thompson, Marcia Wallace, John Wayne and Andy Williams.
A number of Iowa natives have been transplanted to the White House. They include First Ladies Mamie Doud Eisenhower and Lou Henry Hoover, President Herbert Hoover and former Vice President Henry A. Wallace.
Iowa has also claimed its share of writers and journalists. Among them are Beth Streeter Aldrich, Janet Dailey, James Normal Hall, Marjorie Holmes, MacKinley Kantor, Joanna Lund, Elsa Maxwell, Chuck Offenburger, David Rabe, Harry Reasonser, Hugh Sidey and Abigail Van Buren.
Adventurers from Iowa include William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Confederate general Lawrence “Sul” Ross and astronaut Loren Shriver. Iowa even has its own Nobel Peace Prize winner, agronomist Norman Borlaug.