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A vintage postcard with its salutation, "Greetings from the Iowa State Fair," graces the cover of this special issue of Iowa History Journal

A vintage postcard with its salutation, “Greetings from the Iowa State Fair,” graces the cover of this special issue of Iowa History Journal. Cover design by Dug Campbell

Volume 7, Issue No. 4, July/August 2015


Generations of Iowans have grown up attending the Iowa State Fair, which annually attracts about one million visitors with its host of traditions, food and entertainment. But how many Iowans know the history of this Iowa icon? Or the reason for its creation in 1854? Find the answers to those questions and more, while enjoying rare photos of the fair’s past in our cover story. By John Skipper


The first year it involved just 84 participants and almost didn’t happen at all. Forty years later, that little race has become an Eastern Iowa institution and the largest non-marathon road race in the Midwest every year for more than a quarter of a century. Discover how the Bix 7 got its start and how its in for the long run. By Don Doxie


Its emblem is one of the most recognized in the world, protected by federal code in the unique category of other protected emblems such as the U.S. Presidential Seal, Red Cross, Smokey Bear and the Olympic rings. Find out how 4-H has empowered generations of Iowa farm kids and is an emblem that often triggers a meaningful connection from, as it seems, everyone in Iowa and beyond. By John Busbee


Learn about Major League Baseball player Harold “Hal” Manders’ museum that reopened in Waukee just six months after Bob Feller’s museum closed in Van Meter. It marks another intersection of the story lines of two cousins from small central Iowa towns who became professional ballplayers, patriots and hometown heroes. Join Michael Swanger in Publisher’s Perspective.


Explore the Grotto of the Redemption with John Busbee as he takes you through the iconic religious shrine that attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year that’s credited with being “the world’s most complete man-made collection of minerals, fossils, shells and petrifications in one place.”


Included In This Issue


TO READ MORE FASCINATING STORIES ABOUT IOWA HISTORY, subscribe to Iowa History Journal. You can also purchase back issues at the store.