Recent Stories

In the early 1900s a man could make a living as a rat catcher.

Iowa’s Most Wanted List In 1911

The rat, mice, and ground squirrel populations of Iowa were about to be drastically reduced if the state department of health commissioner had his way. In December 1911 Dr. Guilford Sumner issued a statement that was circulated throughout the state. He wanted to exterminate every rodent that potentially carried the bubonic plague, cholera or leprosy.

Using a high tunnel allows Rob Faux to extend his growing season, but it was also in the path of the spray in 2012 when an airplane accidentally dumped pesticides on his organic crops. The crops had to be destroyed and the fields and the produce in them couldn’t be re-certified as organic for three years, in 2015. This photo was taken April 29, 2016.

Sidebar: Organic Certification And Pesticide Drift

Organic farm certification is automatically reinstated after three years without additional chemical impacts. The three-year window is the same as the requirement that land, upon initial organic certification, must go through a three-year period in which no non-organic products are applied.

Wright County, Iowa, map from 1885

Iowa History: A Real Western Suffragette

In August 1910 the St. Louis Dispatch newspaper devoted a full page to a “Real Western Suffragette.” The reporter was writing about Carrie Vaughn Anderson, a former school teacher who was running for county recorder in Wright County, Iowa.

A corn field in Jasper County, Iowa is shown circa 1939.

Iowa History: State Fair of 1868: Gloomy, But Motivational

Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager. She is the author of four non-fiction books for young people. Double Victory was featured on C-SPAN’s “Book TV” and The Industrial Revolution for Kids was selected for “Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.” Her most recent book, Women in Blue traces the evolution of women in policing. Visit her website at: www.cherylmullenbachink.com

The Iowa State Fair of 1868, the 15th annual, was a disappointment in some ways.