Iowa History Timeline: Text Version

 


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
1900:
U.S. Event

Where Have All the Buffalo Gone?

Only 40 wild buffalo are left in America. Only 100 years before, there were an estimated 30 million.

Find out about animals in Iowa.

1900:
Iowa Event

Iowa's Population: 2,231,853

Federal Census of Iowa's population: 2,231,853

Find out more about the people of Iowa.

1900:
Iowa Event

Carrie Chapman Catt Elected President of National Woman Suffrage Association

Carrie Clinton Lane Chapman Catt was the most famous woman suffrage leader in history, holding her post as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association for 28 years. Born in Wisconsin, she grew up near Charles City, Iowa and graduated from Iowa State College. She taught school in Mason City. Her long service as President of the National Woman Suffrage Association was of record length, and after the 19th amendment was ratified, she founded the League of Women Voters.

Find out about Iowa innovators.

1900:
Iowa Event

Coal Mines in Iowa Increase

In 1900 there were over 400 coal mines in Iowa.

Find out more about coal mining in Iowa.

1900s-1960s:
Iowa Event

Center Street in Des Moines

Des Moines's Center Street, was home to much of the city's black population. In the 1960s most of the buildings were torn down to make room for a freeway. The businesses were forced to relocate or close permanently. Residents had to find new homes.

Find out more about the Center Street neighborhood.

Early 1900s:
Iowa Event

Iowans Design Car

Edward Mason of Des Moines hired brothers Fred and August Duensenberg to design a car. Soon the Mason Motor Car Company was producing and selling the brothers' design.

Find out more about automobile manufacturing in Iowa.

1900:
Iowa Event

Iowans Manufacture Tractors

Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr, began to manufacture tractors in Charles City, Iowa.

Find out more about the industries in Iowa.

1900:
Iowa Event

Iowa First in Oats

For the first time Iowa took first in national oat production.

Find out more about grist mills in Iowa.

1900:
Iowa Event

The Capitol Improvement Commission Founded

The Capitol Improvement Commission was founded. Its job was to coordinate repairs, adorn and complete the Capitol building in Des Moines.

Find out more about art in Iowa.

1900:
Iowa Event

Buxton is Big

Buxton, Iowa, was the largest coal mining town west of the Mississippi River.

Find out more about Buxton.

Top

1901:
Iowa Event

Fort Des Moines Established

Fort Des Moines, Iowa, was built in 1901 on 400 acres near Des Moines. It opened in 1903 with the arrival of the all-black 25th Infantry prisoner guard. It would become well known for training black officers during World War I.

Find out more about Fort Des Moines.

1901:
Iowa Event

Cummins Elected Governor

Albert Baird Cummins was known as a "progressive" governor and also as a national leader of the Progressive wing of the Republican party, when he became a U.S. senator.

Find out more about Iowa government.

1901:
Iowa Event

Jesse Field Shambaugh Starts 4-H Clubs

The clubs started by Jessie Field in the rural school she taught in Page County served as the prototype for the boys' and girls' 4-H clubs. Later, as superintendent of schools for Page County, she furthered the movement although she actually called these groups the 3-H clubs. The 4-H club emblem was designed in Clarion, Wright County, Iowa. Field chose the words represented by 4-H as Head, Heart, Hand, and Home, but home was later changed to Health.

Find out how 4-H has become part of the State Fair.

1901:
U.S. Event

The Army Nurse Corps Formed

The Army Nurse Corps was established by Congress. The group paved the way for women to serve in the military.

Find out about women in the military in Iowa.

1902:
Iowa Event

Extension Department Starts at Iowa State College

The Extension department at Iowa State College was extremely important in improving the lives of farm families in Iowa. Better farming methods, improved methods for farm women in food preservation, and many other skills were taught by the extension "agents" through their offices in each county.

Find out how the extension service promoted the science and technology of agriculture.

1902:
Iowa Event

Meredith Willson was Born

On May 18 Robert Meredith Willson was born in Mason City, Iowa. He would later become famous for his contribution to the world of music.

Find out more about Meredith Willson.

1902:
Iowa Event

Publishing in Iowa

Meredith Publishing Company opened in Iowa.

Find out more about the communications industry in Iowa.

1902:
Iowa Event

The 1902 Factory Act

Congress passed this act which prohibited children under the age of 16 from cleaning machines in motion, but allowed most kids to continue to work if they signed a paper saying the employers were not responsible for injuries.

Find out more about child labor in Iowa.

1903:
U.S. Event

Ice Cream Cone Invented


1903:
Iowa Event

Bix Beiderbecke Born

Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke was born in Davenport. He became a talented jazz performer in the 1920s.

Find out more about Bix Beiderbecke.

Top

1903:
U.S. Event

Women Workers Unionize

The Women's Trade Union League was formed by laundry, garment and telephone workers. They worked for the 8-hour day, minimum wage and an end to child labor.

Find out about labor unions in Iowa.

1903:
U.S. Event

First Flight

The Wright brothers flew the first engined airplane.


1905:
Iowa Event

First Iowan Killed in Auto Accident

F. A. Harriman became the first Iowan to die in an automobile accident two miles south of Hampton on U.S. 65. The first automobile accident casualty was just a forecast of things to come. By the second decade of the 20th century one of the major movements in Iowa was to surface the roads for the new vehicles, the automobile, to travel on in all weather. Automobiles broke the physical isolation of the farms and small towns, and were also the leading cause of the decline of businesses in small towns, after people could drive to larger towns for shopping.

Find out more about highway safety in Iowa.

1905:
U.S. Event

Einstein Published Theory

Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity.


1905:
Iowa Event

Niagra Movement

George H. Woodson, an attorney from Buxton, Iowa, co-founded the Niagra Movement. The association later became the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Find out more about Buxton.

1906:
Iowa Event

Monroe County Produces Coal

Monroe County was the largest coal producer in Iowa. It produced 1,183,143 tons of coal in 1906.

Find out more about Buxton.

1906:
U.S. Event

TB is the "White Plague"

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries tuberculosis (TB) killed one out of seven Americans.

Find out more about tuberculosis.

1906:
Iowa Event

Women Work at Cigar Factory

The Bradley Bros. Cigar Factory in Dubuque started to employ women to roll cigars. The women worked more than 50 hours a week and were paid about $3 a week.

Find out more about working women in Iowa.

1906:
Iowa Event

Jay

Jay "Ding" Darling was employed with the Des Moines Register and Leader newspaper as a cartoonist. His cartoons drew attention to conservation problems.

Find out more about

1907:
Iowa Event

Woman Improves Incubator

Rebecca Johnson of Maxwell, Iowa, first invented her chicken incubator in the late 1880s, but added an alarm to it in 1907. She later added a thermostat so the temperature adjusted automatically.

Find out more about the improvements to the incubator.

Top

1907:
Iowa Event

Maytag Begins in Iowa

The Maytag Company in Newton, Iowa, started manufacturing washing machines.

Find out more about the industries in Iowa.

1907:
Iowa Event

Iowa's TB Treatment Facility

Oakdale, a sanatorium for treatment of TB, was built on 280 acres near Iowa City.

Find out more about tuberculosis.

1908:
U.S. Event

Model T Ford Produced

Henry Ford sold his first Model T for $950.


1908:
Iowa Event

Iowa Congressional Record Holder Dies

William Boyd Allison died, after serving almost 44 years in United States Congress as both representative and senator. Allison holds the record for length of service by an Iowan in Congress. His last election was also the first time senators were elected by popular vote, instead of by the state legislature.

Find out more about Iowa government.

1908:
Iowa Event

Garst Becomes Governor

Lieutenant Governor William Garst became the governor of Iowa.

Find out more about Iowa government.

1909:
Iowa Event

College Changes Name

The name of the college in Cedar Falls was changed to Iowa State Teachers College.

Find out more about higher education in Iowa.

1909:
U.S. Event

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Formed

W.E.B. Du Bois and others formed the NAACP to end segregation and racial discrimination.

Find out about African-Americans in Iowa.

1909:
Iowa Event

University of Iowa's Art Department Established

Charles Atherton Cumming, an Iowa native, was invited to establish the art department at the University of Iowa.

Find out more about art in Iowa.

1909:
Iowa Event

NAACP

The Niagra Movement, co-founded by a Buxton, Iowa, native, became known as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Find out more about Buxton.



Questions to Consider:
When viewing information in the timeline, consider the following questions:

  • What time in history did this event occur? What else was happening at that time?
  • What events led to this event? What events followed it? Does this event begin or end something? Is this event part of a sequence of other events?
  • How did this event influence the present? How might it influence our future?


 

Sources:
Several entries for this timeline were adapted from Prairie Voices Iowa Heritage Curriculum, Annotated Iowa History Timeline, State Historical Society of Iowa, 1995. Used with permission.

Additional Sources:

  • Agriculture in the Classroom: Growing a Nation: The Story of American Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Discovering Historic Iowa Transportation Milestones, Iowa Department of Transportation, 2000.
  • Downey, Mathew T. American History 1 and 2. Chicago: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
  • History and Life: The World and Its People. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1980.
  • Keenan, Sheila. Scholastic Encyclopedia of Women in the United States. New York: Scholastic Reference, 1996.
  • National Standards for History, UCLA National Center for History in the Schools, 1996.
  • Randy Lyon, This Month In Iowa History, State Historical Society of Iowa.
  • The Challenge of Freedom. River Forest, Illinois: Laidlaw Brothers, 1982.
  • William Kovarik, Ph.D., Environmental History Timeline, Radford University,
  • World Adventures in Time and Place. New York: Macmillan McGraw-Hill, 1997.

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