Iowa History Timeline: Text Version

 


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
1930-35:
U.S. Event

Hybrid Corn

Hybrid seed corn became widely used in the Corn Belt.

Find out about the science of agriculture.

1930s:
U.S. Event

Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl covers the Midwest as topsoil was whipped across the country.

Find out about the Dust Bowl in Iowa.

1930:
Iowa Event

Iowa's population: 2,470,939

Federal Census of Iowa's population: 2,470,939

Find out more about the people of Iowa.

1930s:
Iowa Event

Grant Wood's Style

Iowa artist Grant Wood and a group of fellow Midwest artists developed style of art known as "Regionalism."

Find out more about art in Iowa.

1930:
Iowa Event

First School for Disabled in Iowa

Dr. D. W. Smouse donated money to start a school for disabled children. The Smouse School was built in Des Moines and was the first school in the nation built specifically for disabled children.

Find out more about Americans with Disabilities Act.

1930s:
U.S. Event

Decline of the Ice Industry

Because most homes now had electricity and a refrigerator, the need for the ice industry started to decline rapidly.

Find out more about the ice industry in Iowa.

1931:
Iowa Event

Fireworks in Spencer

The Iowa town of Spencer was nearly destroyed by fireworks.

Find out more about the insurance industry in Iowa.

1931:
Iowa Event

Death of Jazz Great Bix Beiderbecke

Bix Beiderbecke was considered one of the greatest jazz musicians of the 1920s. His hometown of Davenport still honors him, erecting memorials, preserving his boyhood home, establishing a museum showcasing his life and work and has held the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival for many years.

Find out more about Bix Beiderbecke.

1932:
Iowa Event

Farmers' Holiday Association Organized

The Farmers' Holiday Association was in response to the suffering of farmers during the depression of the 1920s and 1930s. Its goal was to reduce production and marketing, and thereby increase prices. Efforts were made to convince farmers to withhold products, sometimes by persuasion and sometimes by force. The New Deal under Franklin Roosevelt and his secretary of agriculture, Henry A. Wallace of Iowa, used some of the same goals to end the agricultural depression after 1933.

Find out more about the economics of agriculture.

1932-36:
U.S. Event

Dust Bowl

Terrible dust storms resulted from drought and unusually high winds.

Find out more about the Dust Bowl in Iowa.

Top

1932:
Iowa Event

First Woman Elected Iowa Secretary of State

Viola (Ola) Babcock Miller was an early leader in the state for women's suffrage. In 1932 she was elected as Iowa's first female secretary of state. In 1935 she convinced the legislature that a statewide law enforcement agency was needed, particularly to enforce highway safety laws. The Iowa State Patrol was created in 1935 and placed under Viola Babcock Miller's control. One of the first such agencies in the nation, the Iowa State Patrol grew from a force of 50 patrol officers to 150 officers by 1938 under her leadership.

Find out more about the Iowa State Patrol and highway safety in Iowa.

1933:
Iowa Event

Iowan Elected President of Temperance Union

Iowan Ida B. Wise Smith was elected president of the national Women's Christian Temperance Union, a post she held for 13 years.

Find out more about the early temperance movement in Iowa.

1933:
Iowa Event

Iowans Vote to Repeal Prohibition

The Iowa Legislature ratified the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment which had mandated nationwide Prohibition. The new amendment essentially gave the states control over the sale of alcohol.

Find out more about prohibition in Iowa.

1933:
Iowa Event

Eastern Goldfinch Becomes Official State Bird

The Iowa Legislature designated the Eastern Goldfinch, also known as the Wild Canary, as the official state bird. It was chosen as the state bird because it is commonly found in Iowa and often stays through the winter.

Find out more about plants and animals in Iowa.

1933:
Iowa Event

Bank Holiday Begins

The day after President Franklin Roosevelt took office he declared a bank holiday. This closed all banks for four days. People all over the country had been taking their money out of their banks. Many banks failed because of this. The bank holiday prevented people from taking their money out of the banks. A new law was passed that allowed the federal government to review the accounts in all banks.It was learned that most of the banks had plenty of money to operate and that people didn't have to worry about losing their money. At the end of the bank holiday, many banks reopened and people were reassured about their deposits.

Find out about the Great Depression in Iowa.

1933:
U.S. Event

New Deal Legislation Passed

A series of bills were sent to Congress by President Franklin Roosevelt in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling Americans. One program that affected many farm families was the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). It paid farmers to destroy crops in order to reduce crop surpluses. It was later declared unconstitutional.


1933:
Iowa Event

Segregated Football Teams

Black players were no longer hired for professional football--a practice that lasted for 13 years.

Find out more about football in Iowa.

1933:
U.S. Event

Wallace Becomes Secretary of Agriculture

Henry A. Wallace, an Orient, Iowa native, became the secretary of agriculture under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Find out more about Henry A. Wallace.

1933:
U.S. Event

Farmers Get Help

Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act giving the secretary of agriculture the power to pay farmers to lower their crop production. It was hoped this step would help farmers get better prices for the crops they grew.

Find out more about farmers and farm life.

1934:
U.S. Event

First Mosque in North America Built in Iowa

The first permanent mosque in North America as built in Cedar Rapids. It became known as "The Mother Mosque."

Find out more about Islam in Iowa.

Top

1934:
Iowa Event

Christian Petersen is Named Artist-in-Residence

Christian Petersen, an Iowan native, participated in Iowa's Works Projects Administration (WPA) and was named artist-in-residence at Iowa State College.

Find out more about art in Iowa.

1935:
U.S. Event

Social Security Act Passed

This act provided monthly benefits to retirees and the unemployed and a lump sum benefit at death.

Find out more about programs to help disabled and elderly.

1935:
Iowa Event

Iowan Wins first Heisman Trophy

Jay Berwanger was born in 1914 in Dubuque, Iowa. He played many sports in high school, including wrestling and track, and was an all-state halfback in football. Although he was recruited by Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Purdue, he chose to accept a college scholarship from the University of Chicago. Berwanger won the Heisman trophy in 1935. At that time, football players were expected to play both offense and defense. Berwanger called plays, ran, passed, punted, blocked, tackled, kicked off, kicked extra points and returned punts and kickoffs. Berwanger is also known as the first player chosen during the National Football League's first draft, although due to a contract dispute he never played a game professionally.

Find out more about the early days of football in Iowa.

1936:
U.S. Event

Electricity Comes to the Farm

Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act which provided funding for the development of a system to get electricity to rural areas.

Find out more about the first electricity in Iowa.

1936:
U.S. Event

University of Iowa Writers' Workshop Established

This workshop at the University of Iowa was the first creative writing degree program in the United States.

Find out more about Iowa literature.

1936:
World Event

Basketball at the Olympics

For the first time basketball was played at the Olympic Games.

Find out more about basketball in Iowa.

1936:
Iowa Event

Refrigerators Made in Iowa

George Foerstner of Amana, Iowa, founded a company that made refrigerators.

Find out more about the industries in Iowa.

1938:
Iowa Event

Iowan Heads Up National Labor Group

John Llewellyn Lewis was elected first president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Find out more about John L. Lewis.

1939:
Iowa Event

Iowan Develops First Computer

The Atanasoff-Berry Computer was the world's first electronic digital computer. It was built by John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State University during 1937-42. It incorporated several major innovations in computing including the use of binary arithmetic, regenerative memory, parallel processing, and separation of memory and computing functions. Their experimental work laid the foundation for the modern computer industry.

Find out more about Iowa innovators.

1939-45:
U.S. Event

World War II

Germany, Italy and Japan fought against Britain, France, Soviet Union and the United States. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Over 52 million people were killed over the six years of the war.


Top

1939:
World Event

War in Europe

The start of World War II in Europe helped pull the United States out of the Great Depression.

Find out more about World War II.



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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