Iowa History March 12, 2016
by Michaela Kendall 11 Insane Things That Happened In Iowa You Won’t Find in History Books
Like most states do, Iowa has some pretty weird, pretty crazy stories to tell. For example, there was that one time that we went to war with Missouri, and that other time we built a 380-mile road in one hour. Didn’t know about those things? Well, you’re in for a treat, because here are 11 of the strangest things that have ever happened in Iowa… You won’t find these in a history book!
1. Iowa and Missouri once went to war with each other. The Honey War was a bloodless dispute over territory which led to the militias facing each other, one Missouri sheriff being arrested for collecting taxes in Iowa, and three trees containing bee hives being cut down.
2. On April 16, 1934, infamous crime couple Bonnie and Clyde robbed the First National Bank in Stuart, Iowa.
3. On March 13, 1934, notorious gangster John Dillinger and his crew robbed the First National Bank in Mason City, making away with $52,000.
4. On July 21, 1873, famous outlaw Jesse James and his gang robbed the first train in the West, in Adair, Iowa.
5. In 1910, a total of 10,000 people in Iowa constructed a 380-mile road (the River to River Road) in one hour. The people lined up, and simultaneously worked to create the road, on the request of the governor at the time.
6. In 213 years, Captain Kirk will be born in Riverside Iowa, and go on to pilot the USS Enterprise.
7. Every year since 1900, the town of Britt has named a Hobo King (and sometimes Hobo Queen) as a part of their Hobo Days festival. Britt is also home to the only Hobo Museum.
8. Iowa was (almost) the site of the dinosaur extinction.The Manson Crater near Manson was originally thought to have been the asteroid impact that caused the dinosaur extinction. The crater was later found to have hit 74 million years ago, which was before the extinction.
9. After a concert at Clear Lake’s Surf Ballroom in February of 1959, Buddy Holly’s plane crashed into a field, killing him and everyone on board. After the snow melted the next spring, Holly’s iconic glasses were found in the field and turned in to the Cerro Gordo County Sherriff’s office, where they sat filed away for the next 21 years before eventually being returned to Holly’s widow. The glasses can now be seen on exhibit at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas.
10. In May of 1879, a 455 lb. meteorite landed just five miles from Estherville, and left a 15 ft. hole in the ground. The contact shook the ground so hard that china fell off the shelves of nearby houses. Parts of the meteorite are now on display at the Smithsonian.
11. Before winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics, Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner was a star athlete at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. Jenner was recruited from Connecticut on a football scholarship. He was later inducted into its athletics hall of fame, and the university even named their sports complex after him (the Bruce Jenner Sports Complex).
There are so many more strange things that have happened here in Iowa… Do you know of any more that should be on this list? Share your thoughts with us!
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