Iowa Facts and Fiction
Letterboxing continues to teach us such interesting lessons and take us to fascinating spots. Today was no exception. Our first stop in Iowa City (pop, 68,947) this morning was at the local Jewish Cemetery. In the clue for a letterbox planted just outside the cemetery, the letterbox planter provided some fascinating information about the history of the local Jewish community. German Jews were the first to arrive in Iowa City in the 1850s. They built a life in the town and started a synagogue and a cemetery. These early Jews believed in assimilating with the greater community and followed the more liberal Reform interpretation of the religion. In 1873, Moses Bloom was elected the first Jewish mayor of a major U.S. city.
In the 1910s, a wave of Russian Jewish immigrants arrived in Iowa City, bringing with them their stricter Orthodox version of the religion and a more separatist approach to living within the Iowa City community. The two groups proved to be incompatible, and by 1921, most of the first wave of German Jewish families had moved from Iowa City. As they departed, they sold the cemetery, disinterring their relatives and taking them along. Later the Russian Jewish community bought the cemetery back, and it is still in use today.
|The Black Angel|
|Our new friend Byford|
Riverside (pop. 999). This one honored the fictional Star Trek character of Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. Apparently in Star Trek lore, Captain Kirk was/will be born in the town of Riverside, Iowa on March 22, 2228. Capitalizing on this claim to fame, the town erected a plaque behind a former barbershop and holds an annual celebration of Kirk's birthday. A starship "Riverside" is on display near the town museum.
As we traveled south, time was running out and so was Iowa but we still had a letterbox to plant before we left the state. About three miles north of the Missouri border, we chanced upon a perfect little home for our letterbox. It even has a nice view of a pond.
|Martin Pond (letterbox hidden here)|
- Land area: 56,271 (26th largest state)
- Population: 3,062,309 (30th)
- Highest point: Hawkeye Point - 1,671 ft.
- Statehood: 1846 (29th state)
- Capital and largest city: Des Moines
- Nickname: Hawkeye State
- Famous natives: Herbert Hoover, Bill Bryson, Harry Reasoner, Grant Wood, Johnny Carson, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wayne, Andy Williams, and Donna Reed.
- Known for strong spring weather: 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year & average of 37 tornadoes per year
- Claims to fame:
- only state whose east and west borders are formed entirely by rivers
- contributed proportionately more men to Civil War military service than did any other state, north or south
- nation's largest producer of ethanol and corn
- State caucuses have become the starting points for choosing the two major-party candidates for president.
- credited with the start of the high school movement in the U.S.
- third highest high school graduation rate in the nation
More Photos from Today
|Black Angel, Iowa City|