Iowa History Timeline: Text Version

 


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
1920:
U.S. Event

Women Vote

In America women won the right to vote.


1920s:
U.S. Event

First Radios

The first radio shows were broadcast.

Find out about the communications industry in Iowa.

1920s:
U.S. Event

Movies Come to Rural America

The first movies came to rural America when movie houses opened in small towns. The first movies were silent films.

Find out about arts and culture in Iowa.

1920-21:
U.S. Event

Farm Recession

Farmers experienced a deep recession as overseas markets dried up with the end of World War I. This signaled the beginning of the Great Depression for many farmers.

Find out more about farm economics.

1920:
Iowa Event

Iowan Elected President of United Mine Workers of America

Born in Cleveland, Iowa, in 1880, John L. Lewis grew up in a family of Iowa miners. He became one of the most influential individuals in the country's labor movement

Find out more about John L. Lewis.

1920:
Iowa Event

Iowa's Population: 2,404,021

Federal Census of Iowa's population: 2,404,021

Find out more about the people of Iowa.

1920:
Iowa Event

First Air Mail Flight Lands in Iowa

The first sack of air mail delivered by a military pilot arrived in Des Moines. Air mail was a refinement of the communications system of the day. Iowa was on the first transcontinental air mail route.

Find out more about the beginnings of air mail in Iowa.

1920:
Iowa Event

Iowa's First State Park

Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920. It was Iowa's first state park. Backbone is named for its narrow and steep ridge of bedrock carved by a loop of the Maquoketa River. Folklore named this high ridge of rock the "Devil's Backbone." Many of the buildings on the park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from 1933 to 1941 as part of an effort by the Roosevelt administration to provide work for unemployed Americans during the Great Depression.

Find out more about Iowa parks.

1920:
U.S. Event

Gandhi Leads Nonviolent Protest in India

Mohandas Gandhi began his nonviolent protest against British rule in India.


1920s:
Iowa Event

Farm Families Get Phones

By the 1920s most Iowa farm homes had telephones.

Find out more about telephones on the farm.

Top

1920s:
U.S. Event

Golden Age of Sports

The 1920s are often referred to as the Golden Age of Sports.

Find out more about sports and recreation in Iowa.

1920:
U.S. Event

Nineteenth Amendment Passed

The 19th amendment gave women the vote.

Find out more about civil rights.

1920:
U.S. Event

Ku Klux Klan Resurgence

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) gained strength after WWI. In 1920 the KKK hired a paid recruiter and started a serious movement.

Find out more about the Ku Klux Klan in Iowa.

1920s:
Iowa Event

Radios are Popular

By the 1920s most families in Iowa owned a radio.

Find out more about the communications industry in Iowa.

1920s:
Iowa Event

Health Insurance for Hospital Care

One of the nation's earliest forms of health insurance for hospital care started in Grinnell, Iowa. Grinnell College offered hospital care to students and faculty for a fixed monthly fee.

Find out more about the insurance industry in Iowa.

1920:
Iowa Event

Eskimo Pie Invented

Christian Nelson created the Eskimo Pie in Onawa, Iowa.

Find out more about an ice cream treat invented in Iowa.

1921:
Iowa Event

First High School State Wrestling Tournament

The first high school state wrestling tournament was held when Cedar Rapids Washington defeated 19 other schools to become state champions.

Find out more about wrestling in Iowa.

1922:
Iowa Event

Black Newspaper Expands

Black businessman J.B. Morris bought The Iowa Bystander. With the help of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), his wife and brother, Mr. Morris launched the Bystander statewide.

Find out more about The Iowa Bystander

1922:
Iowa Event

State Parks

In 1922 there were 14 state parks in Iowa.

Find out more about Iowa's state parks.

1922:
Iowa Event

First Woman Elected to Statewide Office

When May Francis was elected Iowa Superintendent of Public Instruction, she became the first woman elected to a statewide office in Iowa.

Find out more about government in Iowa.

Top

1922:
Iowa Event

First Commercial Radio Station in Iowa

Iowa's first radio station, WSUI, began operating at the University of Iowa in 1919. Station WOC in Davenport became the earliest commercial station in the state in 1922.

Find out more about the communications industry in Iowa.

1923:
U.S. Event

The Cotton Club Opens

Harlem's Cotton Club in New York opened and presented all-black performances to white-only audiences.


1923:
Iowa Event

Wrestling at University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa formed a wrestling team.

Find out more about wrestling in Iowa.

1924:
U.S. Event

Ku Klux Klan's Peak

The Klan's peak year was 1924, when it influenced many elections across the country, including an Iowa race for the U.S. Senate.

Find out more about the Ku Klux Klan in Iowa.

1925:
Iowa Event

National Bar Association

A group of attorneys, including two Iowans--George H. Woodson and Samuel Joe Brown--founded the National Bar Association. The NBA was the first association of African American legal professionals.

Find out more about Buxton.

1926:
Iowa Event

First Girls Basketball High School Tournament

The first girls' high school basketball tournament was held in Hampton, Iowa, with teams from Audubon, Ida Grove, Mystic and Hampton.

Find out more about high school basketball in Iowa.

1926:
Iowa Event

Henry A. Wallace Starts Pioneer Hi-Bred International

Pioneer Hi-Bred International was the first major company to commercially market hybrid seed corn. This revolutionized the corn yields per acre in Iowa and led to Iowa's position as provider of food to the world.

Find out more about Henry A. Wallace.

1926-1927:
Iowa Event

Deadly Flood

From the fall of 1926 to the spring of 1927 heavy rains fell over the Mississippi River valley. Spring floods caused almost 250 deaths.

Find out more about natural disasters in Iowa.

1928:
Iowa Event

Iowan Herbert Hoover Elected President of United States

Herbert Hoover was the first person born in Iowa to be elected president of the United States. His birthplace in West Branch is preserved as a museum by the National Park Service, and his Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch is operated by the National Archives. Hoover and his wife are buried on the site.

Find out more about Iowa's presidential hopefuls.

1928:
Iowa Event

First Woman Elected to Iowa Legislature

Carolyn Pendray was the first woman elected to either house of the Iowa legislature. She was elected to the House in 1928 and the Senate in 1932.

Find out more about Iowa's state legislature.

Top

1929:
U.S. Event

Stock Market Crashed

The Stock Market crashed in October. The crash didn't cause the Great Depression, but many people lost their entire life savings when banks closed as a result of the crash. The crash is generally considered the beginning of the Great Depression.

Find out about the Great Depression in Iowa.



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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