Poor Drainage Criticism Dates to Mid-1800s But For Different Reason In Iowa

It was rumored that a wagon and team of oxen had disappeared from sight as its driver attempted to cross Purgatory Slough. They were never seen again. And the Marshalltown Evening Times Republican reminded readers about the rusty gun barrel and human skeleton that had been discovered in Hell Slough. Both sloughs were located in Calhoun County, but travelers in most parts of the state faced the dangers of the wet, marshy swamps that mired down wagons and caused headaches for human. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: An Iowa History Tale

Civic leaders in Iowa in 1869 were proud of their state. It offered some of the most fertile soils and flourishing towns and cities. Railroads snaked across the landscape north and south and east and west. It was believed there were inexhaustible amounts of coal beneath the earth’s surface in Iowa.

Silos That Last For Generations

Some considered silos indispensable to profitable livestock raising and dairying. Not only were they practical, the structures were considered an ornament to any farm. The conical silo roof, with its curved walls was said to add a very pleasing enhancement to any farmstead.

Sea Of Grass Covered 1830’s Iowa

“Everybody came from somewhere, as nobody was born and raised here,” John F. Fish said in 1914 when the elderly Wapello County pioneer sat down to visit with a local newspaper reporter. John was reminiscing about Iowa in the 1830s—before statehood.

When Tipping Was Illegal in Iowa, And How A U.S. President Broke That Law

Waiters in the state’s restaurants predicted unsatisfactory service for patrons starting in July 1915 after a new law was passed by the 36th General Assembly of Iowa. The Anti-Tipping Law came into effect on July 5 and promised a misdemeanor for employees of hotels, restaurants, barber shops or transportation establishments who accepted tips. Both the giver and the receiver were subject to arrest, a 10-day jail term and a fine of not less than $5 or more than $25. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager.