Iowa History Timeline: Text Version

 


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
1870s:
U.S. Event

Refrigerated Railroad Cars

The first refrigerated railroad cars made it possible for farmers to transport perishable products longer distances. The development opened up new markets for farmers.

Find out more about railroads in Iowa.

1870:
Iowa Event

Iowa's Population: 1,194,020

Federal Census of Iowa's population: 1,194,020

Find out more about the people of Iowa.

1870:
Iowa Event

Medical School in Iowa

The State University of Iowa opened a medical school that admitted both men and women.

Find out more about medicine in Iowa.

1870:
Iowa Event

Decorah's Opera House in Built

The Steyer's Opera House is one of the oldest opera houses still standing in Iowa. It is in Decorah.

Find out more about opera houses in Iowa.

1870:
U.S. Event

15th Amendment Passed

The 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was passed. It stated that no citizen could be denied the right to vote on basis of "race, color or previous condition of servitude."

Find out more about civil rights.

1870s:
Iowa Event

Meatpacking in Iowa

Meatpacking plants were built in Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City. The processed products were shipped all over the country.

Find out more about Iowa industry.

1870s-1880s:
Iowa Event

Wheat Crop Wiped Out

Wheat was a popular crop on Iowa farms before the 1870s. Between 1870-80 chinch bugs and grasshoppers wiped out the wheat crops and Iowa farmers stopped planting wheat and started planting corn and oats.

Find out more about grist mills in Iowa.

1871:
Iowa Event

Iowan Becomes Famous Baseball Batter

Adrian "Cap" Anson of Marshalltown left his hometown to join a professional baseball team in Illinois. He earned his place in history as a top batter.

Find out more about baseball in Iowa.

1871:
Iowa Event

Bloomer Becomes First President of Iowa Woman Suffrage Association

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was a suffrage and temperance leader from Council Bluffs. She was the first president of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association, 50 years before women gained the right to vote. She is most famous for the short skirt and pantaloon costume which bears her name. But she is most important for her role in promoting the cause of women's voting rights in Iowa and for her newspaper publishing experience in the temperance movement.

Find out more about the temperance movement in Iowa.

1872:
U.S. Event

Yellowstone Park Established

The Yellowstone National Park Act was signed by President Ulysses Grant.


Top

1872:
Iowa Event

Creamery in Iowa

John Stewart started a creamery in Manchester, Iowa. Only four years later, his butter took a gold medal in competition at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

Find out more about creameries in Iowa.

1873:
Iowa Event

Ben Buxton Started a Town

The town of Buxton was established by Ben Buxton. The town was a coal mining town where blacks and whites lived in an integrated society. This was rare for the time.

Find out more about Buxton.

1873:
Iowa Event

Nationwide Economic Depression Causes Trouble for Iowans

Like previous economic depressions, this one led to bank failures, mortgage foreclosures and a decline in employment. It was especially hard on the farmers who were already economically depressed because of adjustments after the Civil War.

Find out more about the economics of agriculture.

1873:
U.S. Event

First Nursing School

The first school for nurses was opened in New York.

Find out more about nursing in Iowa.

1874:
Iowa Event

Herbert Hoover Born

Herbert Clark Hoover born at West Branch.

Find out more about Iowa's presidential hopefuls.

1875:
Iowa Event

Wheat in Iowa

Iowa's wheat production reached its peak.

Find out more about Iowa's agricultural production.

1875:
Iowa Event

Meteor Strikes Amana

A meteor struck the ground near Amana leaving 800 pounds of meteorites.


1875:
Iowa Event

Mill Owners Get Insurance Coverage

The Mill Owners Mutual Fire Insurance Company was started to provide insurance for grain mills. Other companies refused to insure the mills because they were a high risk for fires.

Find out more about the insurance industry in Iowa.

1876:
Iowa Event

Iowa State Normal School Founded in Cedar Falls

A former Civil War orphan's home in Cedar Falls was the first building used by the Iowa Normal School, which, under the name Iowa State Teachers College, because one of the three leading teacher-training colleges in the United States. The school later was named the University of Northern Iowa.

Find out more about higher education in Iowa.

1876:
U.S. Event

Telephone Patented

Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for a telephone. Common use of the telephone was exciting for most Americans, but especially so for rural Americans. The telephone helped farm families "connect" with neighbors and friends.

Find out about the communications industry in Iowa.

Top

1876:
U.S. Event

First Exposition

American's first big exposition was held in Philadelphia.

Find out more about expositions in Iowa.

1876:
U.S. Event

First Bicycle Displayed

At the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia the first bicycle was displayed. It had one large, high front wheel and a smaller back wheel.

Find out more about bicycles in Iowa.

1877:
Iowa Event

Newbold Elected Governor

Lieutenant Governor Joshua Newbold was elected governor of Iowa.

Find out more about Iowa government.

1879:
U.S. Event

Electricity Becomes Practical

Electric lighting had been experimented with for about 50 years when Thomas Edison improved on the idea. He produced a reliable, long-lasting light that was practical for home use.

Find out about electricity coming to Iowa.

1879:
Iowa Event

Meteor Strikes Estherville

A meteorite weighing at least 744 pounds fell to earth near Estherville.


1879:
Iowa Event

State Fair Moves to Des Moines

Planners of the fair decided to make Des Moines the permanent home for the State Fair.

Find out more about the Iowa State Fair.



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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