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The Nickname

The nickname of "The Hawkeye State" came early on in the history of Iowa. It is said to have originated from two promoters of Iowa from Burlington.


2000 - 2,926,324

Population density: 52.0 persons per square mile in 2000


Longitude: 89° 5' W to 96° 31' W
Latitude: 40° 36' N to 43° 30' N
Geographic Center: 5 miles NE of Ames in Story County at Longitude: 93° 23.1'W Latitude: 41° 57.7'N
Length: 310 miles
Width: 200 miles
Highest Point: 1,670 feet above sea level at Sterler Farm, north of Sibley in Osceola County.  The site was renamed Hawkeye Point in 1998
Lowest Point: 480 feet above sea level at the Mississippi River
Average elevation: 1,100 feet above sea level.

Borders:  To the north is Minnesota and Missouri is to the south.  On the east are both Wisconsin and Illinois and to the west is South Dakota and Nebraska

Total land area: 55,875 square miles
Total water area: 401 square miles
Total area: 56,276 square miles, the 26th largest state


The Iowa Indians lived in this area and the Iowa River was named after this tribe.  The actual tribal name is “Ayuxwa.”  The spelling was changed by various groups.  The English spelled it “Ioway” and the French spelled it “Ayoua.”  The state was also named for this tribe.


The most common nickname for Iowa is the “Hawkeye State.”  It is said the name is from the James Fennimore Cooper book, The Last of the Mohicans. A Judge Rorer and a newpaper publisher, James Edwards promoted the name and the territory gave its approval to it in 1838.  Edwards was a friend of Chief Black Hawk.  He wanted to have his friend remembered in some way, thus the name was coined.

Iowa is also known as the “Corn State.”  Iowa provides much of the nation’s corn thus earning the state this nickname.  The open prairieland here gave way to the last nickname, the “Land of the Rolling Prairie.”

More information on the symbols for Iowa

The flower - Wild Rose - was chosen in 1897 because it was on the silver service donated to the battleship USS Iowa that year. It blooms in different shades of pink.

The bird - the American or Eastern Goldfinch - is found in abundance in Iowa and even stays through the winter! It is small and looks much like a yellow canary

The tree - the Oak - is seen all over the state. It is said to be a great contributor to the wildlife ecosystem of the state.

The rock - the Geode - is fairly rare and very beautiful inside. When a geode is broken open, it reveals a lining of mineral crystals

The Great Seal of the State of Iowa has a local soldier standing in a wheat field surrounded by farming equipment and industrial tools. The Mississippi River is shown in the background. An eagle flying through the air hauls a banner on which is written the state motto.

The state Motto - "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain" - is shown on the state banner and on the Great seal for Iowa.

Weather and Climate:

Average monthly high temperature: 86.2 degrees F.
Average month low temperature: 6.3 degrees F.
Record high temperature: 118 degrees F. on 20 July 1934 at Keokuk
Record low temperature: -47 degrees F. on 12 January 1912 at Washta.

Child Care Resource & Referral of Iowa for Southwest and South Central Iowa
Toll-free: 1-800-945-9778
Leon, Iowa office 641-446-4155

Famous Iowans
Actor John Wayne from Winterset
Musician Glenn Miller from Clarinda
Former First Lady, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, from Boone
Actress Donna Reed from Denison
Frontier Scout and showman, Buffalo Bill Cody from Davenport



State Historical Society of Iowa

Iowa GenWeb Project


Iowa and the Civil War


Government Links page for Iowa
Great links page for all levels of government in Iowa


Iowa Dept of Business & Economic Development

Division of Tourism
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Iowa State Fair


Find the weather for anyplace in the USA


This page was created 26 January 1999

This page was last updated 16 September 2006 at 5:51 pm

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