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What Is Iowa Famous for?

Amanda Holland
Updated May 17, 2024
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Iowa is known for many things, including corn and pork production, political caucuses, and the Iowa State Fair. It became the 29th state in the U.S. in 1846, and it’s the only state to be bordered on two sides by navigable rivers: the Mississippi and the Missouri. Iowa is the birthplace of the Red Delicious apple and sliced bread, and it is home to the American Gothic House depicted in Grant Wood’s famous painting.

Why Is Iowa the Hawkeye State?

Iowa is named for a local Native American tribe, the Ioway, and its official nickname is the Hawkeye State. Most sources agree that the name was inspired by a well-known Native American warrior from the area, Black Hawk, and/or the character of Hawkeye in the novel The Last of the Mohicans. The Hawkeye nickname was officially approved in 1838. Unofficially, Iowa is also known as the Corn State and Land Where the Tall Corn Grows.

What Is The Capital of Iowa?

The capital of Iowa is Des Moines. Named for the Des Moines River, this city is the most populous in the state, and it’s also the county seat of Polk County. There are many exciting attractions in Des Moines, including museums, a zoo, and a botanical garden. The city has a performing arts center, an interactive science museum, and a vibrant art district. Principal Park is home to the Iowa Cubs, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.

What Is the State Song of Iowa?

The official state song of Iowa is (appropriately) The Song of Iowa. Written in 1897 by S.H.M. Byers, the song was officially adopted in 1911 by the Iowa government. It’s set to the tune of O, Tannenbaum, which is a traditional German folk song. The lyrics cover many beautiful aspects of the state, including prairies, cornfields, and sunsets. The song also honors patriotic Iowans who died in war. Iowa has an unofficial state song that some residents prefer, The Corn Song. A less serious and more upbeat number, The Corn Song includes the phrase “where the tall corn grows,” which is an unofficial Iowa state motto.

What Is the State Bird of Iowa?

It might seem like the Hawkeye State’s official bird should be a hawk, or at least a bird of prey, but it’s not. The official state bird of Iowa is the Eastern Goldfinch, which was adopted by the state’s legislature in 1933. Though it’s a subspecies of the American Goldfinch, most people use the names interchangeably. This small bird is about 5 inches long with an 8-inch wingspan. Eastern Goldfinches primarily eat seeds and are especially fond of sunflower and thistle seeds. Male Eastern Goldfinches are easy to spot, especially during the summer mating season, with their bright yellow plumage and jaunty black cap.

What Is the State Tree of Iowa?

The official state tree of Iowa is the oak tree. The 59th Iowa General Assembly designated the oak as the state’s official tree in 1961. Though some sources list the bur oak as the state tree, the official government document doesn’t specify any particular oak species. Oak trees are well known for their large leaves, which can grow up to 12 inches long. Acorns are another notable characteristic of the oak tree. A single mature oak can produce up to 50,000 acorns in a single year. These nuts are food for a wide variety of wildlife, including squirrels, birds, and deer.

What Is Sioux City Known For?

The fourth-largest city in Iowa, Sioux City is the county seat for Woodbury County. Visitors and residents can enjoy many points of interest, including Stone State Park, which features hiking trails and a nature center. There are local history exhibits at the Sioux City Public Museum, and the city has an art museum as well. Trinity Heights Catholic Church displays religious art and sculptures. The Sergeant Floyd Monument in Sioux City is a memorial to the single person who died on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Charles Floyd.

Iowa is a fascinating place with many unique attractions for visitors and locals alike. It has a rich history that’s well worth learning about. If you’re planning a trip to the Midwest, be sure to spend some time in the Hawkeye State.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amanda Holland
By Amanda Holland
With career experiences that have used both math and grammar, Amanda Holland is a freelance writer and America Explained contributor. She spent several years as a signals analyst for the Defense Department, creating and editing reports for the intelligence community. After having two children, Amanda transitioned to freelance writing, allowing her to balance her passion for crafting content with her family life. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and playing video games.
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Amanda Holland
Amanda Holland
With career experiences that have used both math and grammar, Amanda Holland is a freelance writer and America Explained...
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