Iowa, the 29th state admitted to the union, was named for the Native American people that once inhabited the area. The borders of Iowa are defined by the Big Sioux, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers. The rolling hills add to the beautiful landscape. Citizens of the Hawkeye state are proud of the state and its rich history. Many historical societies have formed to assure significant sites are preserved for future generations. These three important historical sites are educational opportunities for locals and visitors to the Hawkeye State.
- Blood Run National Historic Landmark: The area was designated a historic landmark in 1970. The state acquired 200 acres 15 years ago to allocate as part of the Blood Run Landmark. Federal funding and private contributions will enable further park development. Oneota Indigenous Peoples occupied the area from 1300 AD to approximately 1750 AD. The location was a center for social gatherings, trade, and ceremonies until the Native Americans abandoned the area around 1750.
- Toolesboro Mounds National Historic Landmark: The landmark is located on a bluff overlooking the Iowa River. An ancient culture flourished in Louisa County, Iowa from 200 BC to 300 AD. Archaeological excavation has revealed insight into the burial practices and life of the Hopewellian people. High-status individuals were buried in conical burial mounds. The burial rituals included placing exotic trade goods in the mound with the body. Sometimes the bodies were cremated, while others bodies were placed in a lying or sitting position inside the mound. Currently, there are seven mounds. However, archaeologists believe there may have been as many as twelve at one time.
- Western Historic Trails Center: Visitors to the center will learn about four historically important journeys by early pioneers and the landmarks along the routes. In the early 1800’s, Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark took an expedition consisting of over 8,000 miles across what is now the United States. Clark was the cartographer for the journey. The two commanding officers formed a lasting friendship while searching out a water route to the Pacific Ocean. A group of Mormons crossed Iowa in 1846. The California trail was mostly utilized during the gold rush, before the transcontinental railroad was completed. Pioneers seeking land in the west traveled along the 2,000 mile Oregon Trail during the 19th century.
(Photo is courtesy of Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluff as uploaded by j_rho at Flickr’s Creative Commons.)