Crazy Laws in the State of Iowa and Fun Facts
Crazy Laws in the State of Iowa and Fun Facts
Iowa has some crazy, bizarre laws regarding one-armed piano players, fire hydrant-nibbling horses, and fire departments required to practice for 15 minutes before answering fire calls.
Perhaps those legislators just had too much time on their hands.
Crazy Laws in the State of Iowa
• One-armed piano players must perform for free.
That discriminating law is extremely biased. One-armed piano players have to work twice as hard. They should be paid twice as much.
• A man with a moustache may never kiss a woman in public.
Wait a minute. Didn’t I just write about a similar law in Indiana? I did! I did! Do you think that legislator moved to Iowa?
• Kisses may last for no more than five minutes.
Picture this scenario: Juliet: “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?” Romeo: “Hold your horses, Juliet, I’m looking for my stopwatch.”
• A board was created to regulate, among other things, hearing aids.
I didn’t know those darn things were irregular.
• Doctors who treat a person with gonorrhea must report this to the local Board of Health and include the disease’s ‘probable origin.’
What happened to ‘physician confidentiality’? Just askin’.
• All boxes used in storing hops must be exactly 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 23 ¼ inches deep, inside measure.
Save your money, beer brewers. Store your hops in zip-lock freezer bags, squeeze as much of the air out as you can before sealing, and put them in the back of your freezer.
Crazy Laws in the Cities of Iowa
• In Bettendorf – Liquor stores may not place advertisements for beer outside the store.
Of course. Get the customers to enter the store first where they can view your attractive, budget-priced liquor display.
• In Cedar Rapids – it is illegal to tell fortunes or read a person’s palms in the city limits.
If you are a genuine fortune teller, wouldn’t you already know this?
• In Des Moines – no person may pick a flower from a city park.
Buy your flowers from a florist, or grow them on your own.
Don’t pick them from the park; to pay the fine you’ll need a loan.
• In Dubuque – any hotel in the city limits must have a water bucket and a hitching post in front of the building.
I get the feeling this is a very, very old law.
• In Fort Madison – before the local fire department answers a fire call, they are required to practice fire fighting for 15 minutes.
Whaaat? Who tells the fire to wait?
Can you imagine this scenario: House Owner: “Help, Help, my house is on fire!”
Dispatcher – “Thank you for your call. The firemen will respond just as soon as they complete their required 15-minute practice.”
• In Indianola – the ‘Ice Cream Man’ and his truck are banned.
Do you think that lawmaker was a music lover who despised ‘ice-cream-truck’ music.
• In Marshalltown – horses are forbidden to eat fire hydrants.
Were horses really eating fire hydrants? Or just tasting them?
• In Ottumwa – within the city limits, a man may not wink at any woman he does not know.
What a blow to casual … dating.
• In Mount Vernon – softball cannot be played in the dark after 10:30 pm.
A crazy law that makes sense. How could you see the ball in the dark?
Oh, wait a minute. Perhaps the law was enacted to indicate that the lights on the softball diamond cannot stay on past 10:30 pm.
• Firing missiles on any public walkway, highway or building is prohibited without written consent from the city council.
Look on the bright side. It is comforting to know that the city council members have learned to read and write.
Fun Facts and Illustrious Information about Iowa
• Iowa derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many native American tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration.
• Iowa is the only state whose name starts with two vowels.
• Iowa is the only state that has two vowels as its state abbreviation (IA).
• In the very first decision of the Iowa Supreme Court – In Re the Matter of Ralph, decided July 1839 – the Court rejected slavery.
The decision found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War.
• The town of Fort Atkinson was the site of the only fort ever built by the U.S. government to protect one Indian tribe from another.
It was founded to protect the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe from other tribes.
• The Fenlon Place Elevator in Dubuque built in 1893 is the world's steepest and shortest railway.
It is 296 feet long and operates from April through November.
• Iowa is the only state in the United States whose eastern and western borders are formed entirely by rivers – the Mississippi River on the east, and the Missouri and the Big Sioux River on the west.
• Cornell College, Mount Vernon, is the only school in the nation to have its entire campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
• Iowa produces 1/10 of our nation's food supply and is the number one producer of corn and soybeans.
• Iowa is the largest producer of ethanol among all the states in the U.S. With 43 ethanol refineries, the state produced a record 3.9 billion gallons of ethanol in 2014.
• The Meskwaki Settlement west of Tama County is the only American Indian settlement in Iowa. The name is derived from the Meskwaki creation myth, in which their mythological hero, Wisaka, created the first humans out of red clay.
They called themselves Meshkwahkihaki which means ‘the Red-Earths.’
Covered Bridges in Madison County
• There are six covered bridges in Madison County:
- Cedar Bridge built 1883, 76 feet long.
- Cutler-Donahoe Bridge built 1870, 79 feet long.
- Hogback Covered Bridge built 1884, 97 feet long.
- Holliwell Bridge built 1880, 122 feet long.
- Imes Bridge built 1870, 81 feet long.
- Roseman Covered Bridge built 1883, 107 feet long.
• The movie, “The Bridges of Madison County,” based on the popular novel of the same name, took place and was filmed in Winterset, Madison County in 1995. It stars Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Roseman Covered Bridge was featured in the film.
• Iowan Arabella Mansfield (born Belle Aurelia Babb) became the first female attorney in the U.S. in 1869. She was admitted to the Iowa bar, and became a college professor and administrator.
Despite an Iowa state law restricting the bar exam to males, Mansfield took it and earned high scores. Shortly after her court challenge, Iowa amended its licensing statute and became the first state to accept women and minorities to its bar.
• Dyersville is nicknamed ‘The Farm Toy Capital of the World’ because it is the home of the National Farm Toy Museum. It also hosts farm toy shows in June and November.
• Dyersville is home to the famed baseball diamond featured in the film, ‘Field of Dreams,’ with Kevin Costner.
The movie studio built the baseball diamond on two farms, a few miles outside Dyersville. When production completed, the baseball diamond created for the movie was left behind.
• Sabula is Iowa's only town on an island. The construction of Lock and Dam #13 between Clinton, Iowa and Fulton, Illinois in 1939 left the lowlands west of the town permanently flooded, creating the ‘Island City’ as the town is now known.
Sabula is a name of Native American origin meaning ‘sand’ which refers to Sabula’s sandy soil.
• Elk Horn in Shelby County is the largest Danish settlement in the United States and home to The Danish Immigrant Museum.
The community hosts the only authentic, operating Danish windmill in the U.S.
The mill was purchased from Norre Snede, Denmark, shipped and reconstructed in 1976 with the help of over 300 volunteers, and has become one of the most popular and successful tourist attractions in Iowa.
• Kalona is the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi River and the oldest in Iowa (settled in the 1840s).
• Ripley's 'Believe It or Not' has dubbed Burlington's Snake Alley the most crooked street in the world. Snake Alley remains a one-way street, with all traffic heading downhill.
The turns on Snake Alley are sharper than the turns on San Francisco’s Lombard Street.
• Clarion is the birthplace of the four-leaf clover emblem used by the 4-H Clubs of America, conceived of by the local school superintendent, O.H. Benson in 1907.
• Strawberry Point is the home of the world's largest strawberry – made of fiberglass.
• Crystal Lake is home to a statue of the world's largest bullhead fish.
• West Okoboji Lake is the deepest natural lake in the state. Its depth is 136 feet.
• Maynard Reece from Arnolds Park won the Federal Duck Stamp competition five times: in 1948, 1951, 1959, 1969 and 1971. This is the only art competition of its kind sponsored by the U.S. Government.
Are you wondering, what in the world is the Federal Duck Stamp competition?
The Federal Duck Stamp is a large adhesive stamp required by the United States federal government to hunt migratory waterfowl such as ducks and geese. Each year there is an art competition for the winning stamp submission.
• The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses the world’s largest collection of Grant Wood artwork.
Note: Grant Wood's iconic portrait depicts a typical rural farmer and his spinster daughter - not his wife as many suggest.
• A bronze life-sized sculpture of a Norwegian immigrant family (circa 1860) is located on a six- acre restored prairie site located at the east entry to Lake Mills on Highway 105.
• Iowa's only operating antique carousel is located in Story City. The 1913 Herschell-Spillman Antique carousel (merry-go-round) is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
• Knoxville Raceway is a semi-banked 1/2 mile dirt oval raceway located at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa.
Races at the "Sprint Car Capital of the World" are held on Saturday nights from April through September each year.
• Knoxville's National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum is the only museum in the country dedicated to preserving the history of sprint car racing.
• Dubuque is home to the only county courthouse with a gold dome.
• Decorah is the home of the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum, the largest museum in the country devoted to one single immigrant group.
• The National Balloon Museum & Ballooning Hall of Fame in Indianola chronicles more than 200 years of ballooning history.
• Campers and motor homes are manufactured in Winnebago County. They're called Winnebagos. They range in price (new) from $64,000 to $429,000.
An early lower priced model was the Dodge-based Minnie Winnie.
• Maquoketa Caves State Park northwest of Maquoketa contains more caves than any other Iowa state park. A scenic hiking trail links the caves, formations, and overlooks.
• Iowa 80 in Walcott (Exit 284) is known as the world’s largest truck stop. There are separate entrances for truckers and 'others.'
Set on a 220-acre plot of land, it is four times larger than the average truck stop. The site gets 5,000 visitors daily, and features a 67,000 sq. ft. main building, parking for 900 trucks, 15 fuel pumps, and a staff of 450 employees.
There is also a 2-story, 30,000 sq. ft. showroom, the largest trucker's store in the country. The Iowa 80 Kitchen serves 1 million cups of coffee and 90 tons of meat annually.
• In 1945, Fred Ertl began making die-cast aluminum metal toy tractors in his basement in Dubuque. The first model was a John Deere toy tractor. More than 60 million die-cast tractors and farm machinery toys have been purchased by kids and collectors worldwide.
• In the 1880s, on a farm near East Peru, Jesse Hiatt noticed shoots coming from a wild apple tree stump. They produced a fruit he had never tasted before, so he nurtured the tree and entered the apples in a contest in 1895. His apple, which he called the Hawkeye, won the contest. This Red Delicious apple is now one of the best-selling apples in the U.S.
A Few Famous Iowans
Herbert Hoover (President) • Henry Wallace (Vice President) • Marion Mitchell Morrison (John Wayne) • Johnny Carson • Andy Williams • Cloris Leachman • Ashton Kutcher • Donna Reed • Tom Arnold • Glenn Miller • Mamie Eisenhower • Ann Landers • Abigail Van Buren • William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody • Elijah Wood • Jean Seberg • Bob Feller
State nickname – Hawkeye state
State bird – Eastern goldfinch
State flower – Wild prairie rose
State tree – Oak
State rock - Geode
Geodes are found in limestone formations and have a hard outer shell. When carefully broken open, a sparkling lining of mineral crystals, most often quartz and calcite, is revealed.
State song – ‘The Song of Iowa.’ Words by S.H.M. Byers, 1897. Sung to the tune of ‘Die Tannenbaum.’
• Iowans say that if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute.
That’s funny. That’s what they say in all the other states, too.
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."